Cars, children, finances, marriages, friendships; what do all these things have in common? There may be several correct answers, but the one in my mind is that they all take maintenance in order to avert a necessary crisis response.
If you give your car regularly oil changes, put gas in it regularly, give it a tune up every now and then, you can often avoid or at least catch larger problems before they hit crisis mode. If you spend a little time communicating with your children everyday, stay involved in things that they are involved in, and ask questions on a consistent basis, you have a better chance of avoiding huge problems or at least catching them early. Making time for your spouse (such as a regular date night), making them a daily priority, and communicating in an open and honest way daily, can often lead to less crises in a marriage. I hope you get the point I’m trying to make.
So, I want to take this to a different level. In The Journey Training, I learned the benefit of loving and supporting others in my life. This wasn’t totally a new concept for me but it gave me a different perspective on the subject. Previously, I thought it was my responsibility to guess how to love and support others in my life and basically hoped that they would guess right when it came to loving and supporting me.
In The Journey Training, they suggested the idea that it could be better to just ask the person how they would like to be loved and supported. You see, everyone receives love in different ways. What I think may help them or show them love, isn’t necessarily what they need or want. I liked this idea and decided to use it outside the training room to see how it would really work.
I started asking my kids, friends, and even coworkers how I could love or support them. I got so many different answers that I would never have thought of. However, as time went on, I found that I only asked people the question of “how can I love and support you?” during times that I knew they were in crisis. Sure, this showed the person that I would help them if they were on fire. But did it communicate to them that I really cared enough about them to show love and support on a more consistent basis (maintenance versus crisis)?
Matthew 22:39 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I started thinking. I wanted to be known, loved and supported by others on a consistent basis, not just when I was experiencing a crisis in my life. Then I realized, if I asked those I care about regularly how I can love and support them in day to day life, then maybe when they hit crisis mode, I would at least have a base line for what they need even if they didn’t know what to ask for in the moment.
Sometimes a little bit of effort, every day or every week, will pay off in the long run when we, ourselves , or those we love need it. So, don’t be afraid to
ask the question or to answer it if someone asks you; how can I love and support you?