"I'm not Jesus. I'm not Jesus. I'm not Jesus."
I have to continuously mutter under my breath. On several occasions, I've had to remind myself of this fact. In some seasons, I've had to remind myself more frequently than other seasons. In the desire to follow in the way of Jesus, love others, empathize and extend compassion, every now and again, I would find myself weary and my heart would get heavy. Part of the call for us to mourn with those who mourn is exactly that....mourn. I'm a cryer. Doesn't take much to get the water works going. Nothing helps me work through the complexity of my emotional processing like a cry session. I love to meet people where they are at and help them process, untangle their thoughts and unpack deep pain. Sometimes, that involves a lot of tears, hugs, prayer and gentle mental reminders to myself in those moments of the power of Jesus, even when i feel helpless and not enough for people.
As followers of Christ, we are called to walk in his path and live according to his words. When we make ourselves available, being sensitive to the Spirit of God, we pray, "Okay God, who is hurting today? Who can I be there for? Who can I listen to and encourage?"
Often that looks like a life of interruption, intentional conversations and intercession.
As we deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow him, the path of following him will lead us to people who need him the most. As we pay attention to the world around us in our daily lives, in office spaces, classrooms, stores and even social media, we find ourselves on the listening end of sometimes deeply painful stories of the pain people are walking through. Following in the way of Jesus, we create safe spaces for people to be heard and people end up opening up about incredible loss, doubts, fears, failures, negative doctors reports, childhood trauma, broken dreams and different relational dynamics.
We get to be the feet that stop and the hands that hold, comfort, support and sometimes carry to Jesus. Even as we mourn with those who mourn and as we practice empathy and extend compassion, we recognize that there is nothing lasting that we can offer a broken and hurting world without Jesus. We are reminded that our words and actions however well meaning just aren't enough.
Elevation Worship has a beautiful song whose lyrics ring so true even as we walk out compassion:
I'm not enough
Unless you come
Will you meet me here again
Meet me here again Lord. In my secret place, in hidden devotion and private prayer because I know I don't have the right words for people. Make me sensitive to Your Spirit, even as I partner with You to represent You and reflect You. I recognize I am not what these people need. Holy Spirit, come, come into the situations they are walking through that need breakthrough, provision, healing, deliverance and transformation. Bring salvation, encouragement and comfort.
My marketing professor talked a lot about touchpoints through grad school as we explored the number of touchpoints different brands develop that consumers are exposed to everyday. Touchpoints have been defined as:
1.A point of contact or interaction, especially between a business and its customers or consumers.
2.A point of reference.
Touchpoints include digital ads, pamphlets (do people still do that?), billboards and tv and radio ads. Even as we desire to grow in compassion, empathy and intercession, we recognize we'll never be enough. we'll never be the be all end all. we'll never be able to fully satisfy human need and heal pain. But we are a touchpoint to heaven.
As followers of Christ, we get to be a point of contact between a lost, hurting and broken world and a loving, forgiving, steadfast and available Father. We get to be a point of reference. A reference of how much God loves, cares and notices people. Even though we have the opportunity to partner with heaven and be a touchpoint, we are not the main attraction, we're just the billboard pointing to the Savior and to heaven. Easy to say, but sometimes hard to remember the more we interact with hurting and broken people and feel helpless in some of the situations they are facing.
"His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus. His name is Jesus."
I have to continuously remind myself to point people back to the One I know is more than enough and who they need. As followers of Christ we study the scriptures and intentionally devote our lives to drawing near to God and are presented with the opportunity to be his hands and feet. We get to be there for people and listen to them without judgement. We get to remind them of what God says in his Word about them, remind them of their worth of God's steadfastness and presence in their every situation. We get to pray with them and pray for them, we point them back to Truth and practically and sacrificially love them with what we have. And that's more than enough.
We get to reflect Jesus, and be the touchpoint that our hands may touch, hold and comfort those around us that deeply hurt, wash their feet and remember that our hands were not designed to carry the weight of their pain.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
His yoke is easy and his burden is light. So why do I feel does it sometimes feel so heavy? Often, along the path of compassion, as we mourn with those who mourn, we find ourselves weary and worn out when we yoke ourselves to people's pain and not Jesus' presence. We try to carry burdens we were never designed to carry. Though we exercise compassion, we are not God. We just partner with him on the earth that the world may know his healing, saving and delivering power. So when it starts to feel heavy again, I put off that weight. Though I so desperately want things to get better for them and I want them to experience that healing, deliverance and breakthrough, I am reminded how much God loves them and wants that for them so much more than I do.
"You are Jesus. You are Jesus. You are Jesus."
I have to continuously kneel before the Father, and hand him every person's burden, pain and hurt. In his presence, even as I stand in the gap, intercede and give of my time and resources to partner with him for his people, I am reminded of the man from Nazareth, pierced for all our transgressions, whose wounds bring healing and death brought eternal living hope. Who sits on the right hand of the Father in heaven, who lives to make intercession for us and loves these people waaay more than I ever will be able to. And once more, I take his yoke upon me and I find rest for my soul.