Sometimes I am shamefully unaware of how selfish I am.
I like to think that I am usually pretty conscious of people and do my best to offer what I can to those in need. I try to pay attention to what is going on in people's lives and reach out when they need a friend. I realized this weekend how much I fail in that area. It's not a fun realization to have, but it is so necessary.
On Friday I went to a young adult event. I haven't been there in a long time, but a friend asked me to go with her so I said yes. I know a lot of the people that were there, but was sticking with a few people that I am closest to. Out of nowhere I walked by a girl that I have only met a few times who was sitting alone at a table. There were other people at the table, but each was engrossed in their own separate conversations. I was on my way to check out the food selection when God sort of tapped me on the shoulder and told me to sit down next to her.
I'm a friendly person, so this isn't uncommon for me to do, but I really wanted to get something to eat, and I had been following a friend over to the food table. I didn't really want to abandon her and sit down and strike up a conversation with someone I barely knew. But I did it anyway. And I am so glad I did!
She expressed to me how out of place and unwanted she felt. I could see her frustration and anxiety over the whole situation and I was immediately so grateful I had listened when God told me she needed a friend. She was telling me things that I, myself feel on a regular basis, and I wish someone would sit down next to me and just listen and encourage me.
I didn't want to put my desires on the back burner. I wanted to get a plate of food and sit down with a group of my close friends and not have to try. Not have to struggle to come up with something to say when I feel uncomfortable. Not have to step out of my comfort zone. Not have to feel burdened for someone else. Not have to feel the weight of her anxiety. Listening to God's gentle nudgings doesn't always sound appealing, but they are always used by God to do great things.
The girl I had sat down with later came and sat with me during worship and the service. I know that I didn't do anything extraordinary, I just listened when God said someone needed someone to care about them right then. But what about the times that I don't listen? Who have I refused to care about because my desires or needs were more important than theirs? What could have been accomplished if I had simply sat down next to someone who needed a friend for a few minutes?