Embracing the “Inconvenient”

“PEST!”

“You’re such a nuisance!”

“You are getting on my last nerve!”

Those are things I heard a lot when I was younger. And the repetition of them left a remarkable impression on me: If you want to be loved, don’t be an inconvenience. And that particular goal (not to make others feel inconvenienced) became shackles for me.

Ask for help? Heck, no! Asking someone to help me would inconvenience them, make them unhappy, and that is totally unacceptable. By my mid-twenties, I really stopped asking for help at all. And add to that the fact that I have always bowed and scraped to keep everybody around me happy, and I was imprisoned and paralyzed.

It changed me. And not in good ways. As a child, I was quite an extrovert. As an adult, each year, I become more and more introverted, as I have less and less energy to be a people pleaser. And many times, when I have truly needed help – in almost life or death circumstances – I haven’t been willing or able to ask for it. Thank God for the times that He has sent people to save me, because without them, I wouldn’t be here.

Let me change directions a little bit…

I go to a church that I love dearly. We have a leadership team built of people whom I admire so much. And our pastors, a husband and wife team, set such a wonderful example for us as they reach out to the vulnerable and broken around us. Probably the clearest example is their taking in of infant foster children – even though they already have two biological children of their own. Each time I’m around this blended little family (which currently includes TWO infants – two months old and four months old), I’m encouraged and challenged to look at areas and people in my life where I can stand in the gap for the vulnerable. Where I can unconditionally love and take care of those who can’t necessarily take care of themselves. In other words, people whom some folks might categorize as “inconvenient.”

(But may I also mention that NONE of us can really fully take care of ourselves BY OURSELVES? We were never meant to.)

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon and evening with my pastors’ little blended family. Both husband and wife needed to be away for a bit, and so another one of the church leaders and I came over to babysit. Now, I love babies. I’m not complaining. And I loved every minute of the time I spent there – even when my arms were aching and babies were sweating, wetting, and spitting up on me. I held those little ones. I kissed them over and over. I rocked them, swayed with them, danced with them, cuddled with them, prayed over them, and sang songs to them. But I’m here to tell you that while every moment was a blessing, NOT every moment was convenient. Who has time to eat or drink or go to the bathroom when a sleeping two-month-old is tucked into the left side of your neck and you’re changing the diaper of a four-month-old with your right hand? (And right now, to all foster parents, I just say, MAY GOD BLESS YOU! You have such a difficult but needful calling and task!) And this week, as I thought about this seeming contradiction between convenience and need, I had a quiet, but revolutionary revelation inside myself that it’s time for all of us to stop worrying about convenience and start unconditionally loving and taking care of folks around us.

And it’s not just kiddos that need loving and taking-care-of…

Right off the top of my head, I can think of four women (three of them widows) in danger of having nowhere to live…

Right now, I can think of several people who are not just unemployed, but DESPERATELY unemployed…

And I know of a handful of women in relationships that are at least borderline abusive…

In Chapter 7 of The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom tells the story of an inconvenient situation that her family faced when a Jewish mother with a newborn showed up at their home needing shelter. A crying newborn carried so much risk of detection from the Nazi authorities that the Ten Booms knew that they needed to find other shelter for the mother and child. But when Corrie reached out to a pastor-friend, he rebuked her, telling her that she was risking her family’s safety for this Jewish stranger-woman and her child. And he refused to inconvenience himself with the burden. But Corrie’s father… well, he shows the love of Jesus:

“Father held the baby close, his white beard brushed its cheek, looking into the little face with eyes as blue and innocent as the baby’s own. At last he looked up at the pastor. ‘You say we could lose our lives for this child. I would consider that the greatest honor that could come to my family.’” (ebook location 1905)

Lord, may I be willing to face inconvenience, and if needed, even danger, to love, heal, and shelter the people that You put into my path.

This post is part of a weekly book discussion on Corrie ten Boom’s classic, “The Hiding Place.” You don’t have to read the book to comment on the posts. But if you have written a response, you can go link it up at my co-facilitator’s place.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. Most definitely that part spoke to me. God’s so touched my heart (and my family) for the forgotten, the orphan, and the broken. Someone has to stand in the gap. Someone has to love. So thankful for everyone who is willing and ready to embrace the inconvenience. Thanks Sarah. Good thoughts. :)

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