Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My Favorite Four-Letter Word

In my personal life, I have finally realized I can’t do it all. 

I’ve always been fiercely independent and believed this was a good character trait.

I never liked asking others for help. I thought this was a healthy way to live until I realized it was really my desperate attempt to be in control of my life.

Recently, I had foot surgery. Because the surgery was more extensive than expected, I was cooped up in our little cottage for eight weeks. At first, friends frequently stopped by, brought food and visited. But, as the days turned into weeks visitors dwindled. My husband had to go back to work, and as empty nesters our home is quiet – way too quiet. Sadly, we don’t even have a pet anymore.

My sweet friends would call and ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. Of course, my response was “I’m fine. We’re doing fine, but thanks.” (I’ve heard that FINE stands for freaked out, insecure, emotional and neurotic, and now I know that’s true.)

I wasn’t doing fine. I felt an intense loneliness and a deep longing for community and connection. I think God used this uncomfortable time to help me learn to feel the loneliness and to recognize my independent attitude had led me to isolation. I finally felt deeply in my heart an intense longing to be with others.

And this led me to discover my new favorite four-letter word—WITH—one of the best four-letter words in the English language. 

A word I intend to use constantly and put into practice the rest of my life.

First of all, and most importantly, I’m going to continually remind myself that Jesus is always with me. Matthew 1:23 says, “...and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means God WITH us.” I am truly never alone.

God created us for relationship—relationship with Him and relationship with others. He wants us to be interdependent, not independent. I’m learning to rely on others and ask for help when I need it. How hard would it have been for me, when I was healing from surgery, to honestly answer that friend who asked how I was doing? I could have said, “I’m feeling kind of isolated, want to come over and just hang out?” I could have invited her into my life rather than pushing through on my own.

From now on, when asked how I’m doing, I am not going to respond with a fake "fine." If I'm needing connection with another human I'll take the initiative to make that happen. I’m learning to trust and rely on others and to ask and receive help when I need it. Knowing I can rely on others has brought me such sweet relief.

Doing things together, not just the big things like birthdays, but the everyday things too. The mundane stuff I used to find easier to do alone, I’ve found are a lot more fun to do with others. Like cooking, grocery shopping or going to work out. As Jim Burgen recently said, “We have church once a week. We have each other twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.”

Ladies, let’s link arms with each other and do life together. Invite families into your home, cook and eat together, go to the grocery store together, call friends and sit together at church, join a small group, walk with each other. Take the initiative to be with each other.

Life is full when lived in community and connection with each other.

Jeannie Blackmer is excited about her newest book, Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer, and hopes this book will ignite a desire for a deeper, more intimate prayer life for readers and help others see how relevant the Bible is today. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Zane, and their three sons. For more information visit

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