A sampling of hope

In a recent conversation with a friend, I shared my decision to walk away from some experiences that I felt obligated previously to be a part of. I explained to my friend that although I cared deeply about these people and our shared experiences, I knew that I must choose my overall health over helping from time to time. That's what establishing and practicing healthy boundaries is all about.

As the child of dysfunction, the larger part of me wants to stay and help at any cost to myself or others. I want to make a difference, to make others happy. People pleasing is such an easy practice for the child of dysfunction. And I battle this daily.

Basically, I summed the situation up: "You can sell hope, but not everybody's buying."

It's catchy, isn't it? But upon deeper reflection, it's not really selling at all.

It's Saturday afternoon and we're headed for the BIG families' favorite store, Costco. Since it's Saturday, it's crowded throughout the store but no part of the store is as busy as the food section. On almost every single aisle is a rolling cart with a middle-aged housewife standing behind, dressed in a white apron and wearing a net over her graying hair. Before her is some wonderful product, a FREE sample, and the crowds around her would lead one to believe she might be a pop star or supermodel instead of someone's empty nesting grandmother.

My husband and kids are drawn to each and every sample, gobbling a bite of whatever this week's buffet holds. "This is really good, Mom. Can we get some?" The ploy has worked! Give them just enough to create a need, and the free sample becomes something the consumer (in this case, my husband and kids) has to have. The cost? Nobody's discussing the cost. It's too good to care! And sometimes to sweeten the deal there's an additional coupon discount.

But I am different. Having struggled with my weight for more years than not, this is one pitfall I've trained myself not to fall into. Those seemingly small bites hold calories that I can't guess and will likely not count into what I need. I smile pleasantly as I decline, "No, thank you," and watch my children partake of the treats. Even when the sample is of something healthy, I decline sweetly. It's a slippery slope for me.

I realized that giving hope, sharing a testimony, is like handing out samples at Costco. When you're healthy, you work. When you have a cold, the flu or an itchy scratchy rash, you don't go and hand out food samples! That in its simplest form is setting a healthy boundary. I also realized that the women employed to hand out samples are always pleasant. Even when I respectfully decline, they smile and wish me a good weekend. They aren't offended or stressed out by my refusal. (Of course not...I'm one out of 200 people who actually said no!)

This blog is my sampling of hope. Some days I feel good and I put on my little white apron and hairnet, sit at my computer and share. Other days, I have emotional, mental and spiritual sniffles, so I choose not to come and expose others to my weakness. My job is to share without judgment of those who may or may not receive the sample of hope.

I sometimes forget this. I feel guilty for not participating. I am frustrated because so many people don't accept Hope.

I get so excited sometimes about sharing the blessings, the growth, restoration and renewal I've experienced that I forget that it's not about me; it's about the Creator of Hope. He's a pretty awesome employer. And sometimes, He gently reminds me what it's all about. Like today.

My job is to handout the free sample of Hope; His job is to cultivate it. My job is to know when I'm not healthy; His job is to heal me.

I hope you will come back again soon as I share more about this journey toward healing. That tiny spark...well, it's growing! And I pray that God will use it to warm others in the midst of the winters of their lives.

God bless you today!

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