I’ve been thinking about it for months now.
How that one Saturday I was headed to work at 11 and stopped at the local convenience store for a breakfast sandwich. I hadn’t eaten breakfast, and wouldn’t get off until 5pm.
Because my bank had just merged and my accounts not properly linked, my card bounced. Like any good millennial, I didn’t have cash.
“Okay. I’m sorry. I’ll put it back.” I put the sandwich back in the Jamaica-like environment it came from and headed towards the door.
“Wait. Come back.” It was a woman in a gray zip-up and jeans. “I want to buy that sandwich for you.”
“Thank you, but I’ll be fine.”
“No. You’re in scrubs going to work on a Saturday.” She pulled the sandwich out and handed it to the cashier.
“Thank you so much. That’s so kind. Are you a nurse?”
“God no. I hate blood. But I respect anyone that works in healthcare.”
It cost $2, but it was still hard for me to accept, though I did with gratitude. And I think about that woman all the time, because she paid a debt I can never repay her for. I was tired and my head ached with a migraine, which are sometimes triggered by skipping meals, and if there was a day for someone to come in clutch, that was it.
I had done the same thing for random strangers in Wal-Mart checkouts and grocery store lines for years. Try to bless them and uphold their dignity. “Let me. I’m happy to. For real. No, I see what it costs. God has blessed me and I’d love to bless you.” I had paid before, and could pay it forward after, but it doesn’t matter who I’ve done it for. I still can’t pay her back and settle that particular bill. That is a grace.
What I’ve realized rather suddenly about myself from that breakfast sandwich and from walking through fear of a relationship is that I have trouble receiving more kindness or goodness than I think I deserve. I am used to being the giver, not the one receiving. I’m used to being “the good one” with any guy I’ve dated or that has admired me, not the one with more to gain and weaker.
I never understood the phrase “need a man.” I recoiled at it until recently. I figured I wanted one, but didn’t need one. The logical gal in me looked at all I had done without one over the course of…I don’t know…my life :smile:. While all (but one) of the other girls posted on Facebook that they didn’t know how they would have gotten through grad school and their doctoral project without their boyfriend/fiancé/husband, I had never doubted that I would. I didn’t doubt that I’d do great things with or without a boyfriend/husband/fiancé, though I did feel that life would be better with. That thought about not needing a man didn’t change once I got saved. It seemed unholy to need a man or to need anyone but Jesus.
The problem was I’ve never met a man who offered what I needed. And I didn’t know that you could need a man, and still need God most, just like we need water, but God most.
God has been so clear…so painfully clear that I need to be open to at least the possibility of receiving something better than I think I deserve. And I’ve been so afraid of even entertaining possibilities. Its been a monumental debate with God, and I’ve told Him no, thinking I was being selfless instead of fearful and vain.
If you ask my co-workers, I’m hilarious and joyful all-day every single day. If you ask my roommate, I think she would say that I’m usually affable and fun and serious on occasion.
But I know that, in addition to the joy, there are deep, unsettled places of me (which God exposes and heals, and I then expose on this blog) that crave security, guidance, gentle strength, laughter and uncommon kindness. Even with the blessing of an imperfect version of that, I know that there will be times God allows me to feel broken, which is why I need a man who knows the value of prayer.
Thankfully an entire worship service was on fear and I finally accepted in my heart the truth that Jesus is enough no matter what happens, good or bad, relationship, no relationship or breakup. He will help me learn from whatever happens, because He has confirmed numerous times it’s in His will and not just my own desire.
I may not be able to pay back every kindness at a 1:1 ratio. I may receive more than I think I deserve. I may just have to settle with being happy, appreciative and blessed when someone hands me a literal or figurative breakfast sandwich.