We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to. Brené Brown.
Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need… Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me. The Apostle Paul (Philippians 2:25-30)
Paul ends Philippians 2 with some storytelling around his needs and the people who care for him. Apparently his support system is largely the Philippian church and two men named Timothy and Epaphroditus. It’s easy to bounce over these types passages when we read Paul’s writings. After all, they seem like personal details that would only be important to Paul and his people. His words here don’t sound like something to build your life on. Certainly not the significance of “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength” or “Make my joy complete by being of one mind.”
I could go on typing famous sound bites from Philippians until sundown. But here’s the point. These other little paragraphs are a big deal too. They give us a window into Paul’s heart. If all Paul’s writings were dense, abstract theological statements and moral instruction, we would have never known him as a human being.
Chapter 8 of Rising Strong is all about being human and ‘rumbling’ with human need. For some reason human beings tend to look away from need. When someone is grieving, dying, homeless, addicted, psychotic… we may want to look away. We also look away from our own deep need. We also find it hard to accept help from others.
In her research, Brené Brown discovered the people who rise strong are more willing to make eye contact with human need—in themselves as well as others. And she found that the two are correlated: The willingness to accept help is abundant in people who are themselves truly helpful.
How are you at making eye contact with your own needs? The storytelling in Chapter 8 is eye opening.
LORD God, help me take a long, loving look at my own need.
Reading Focus for Rising Strong, by Brené Brown
We are in week three, of this 6-week study. The focus is Chapters 5-6 of Rising Strong. The topics are: The Rumble, and Living BIG (Boundaries, Integrity and Generosity). If your discussion group has completed session three, begin reading Chapters 7-8.