Woody Allen once said that, “90% of life is just showing up.” I think this could not be truer in so many aspects of life.
One of the truths I am finding more and more as we walk with people in the ups and downs of life is the power of being with someone. Not fixing them. Not telling them what to do or giving advice. Just being with them. What people really need is someone to show up. They need someone who will show up at 2am to the hospital room. They need someone who will cry with them in the hard, gritty times. They need someone who will laugh and celebrate in the good times. They need someone who will sit beside them and just BE.
We are generally uncomfortable with this because our fast-paced society has a hard time slowing down to be still. Many of us can’t stand silence when we are by ourselves, let alone with another person. But, what I have found is that there are moments in life when words fail us, but PRESENCE does not.
Showing up is what matters in these moments.
Showing up in our relationships means standing beside people in the hard times, when things fall apart. Often times when people are faced with decisions to make and trials before them, they already know what they need to do, but what they really need is someone to stand beside them. Your presence is a way of cheering people on when they need it or can be the push that helps keep going. People need to know that they are not isolated. Sometimes your presence alone is the very help someone needs. You showing up is love.
Showing up in our relationships means celebrating together. We all need someone to be there with us in the good times- to laugh and celebrate together. Showing up for significant life moments like baby showers, birthday parties, funerals, weddings, and engagements are ways of showing people that we are with them and we care about them. You know this to be true when it’s your significant moment. I can clearly remember the faces at all my baby showers. It means something. These things matter.
Showing up in marriage or our serious relationships sounds like the most obvious thing to do, but somehow after years of being together with three kids and a full life, I’ve realized it actually takes a tremendous amount of intention. When we were first married with no kids I remember an older mentor couple telling us the importance of date nights to regularly connect and thinking how unromantic that was. But now that things have become more complicated, we have to be incredibly intentional about setting aside time to show up to each other in order to talk and connect without being interrupted.
Showing up in the lives of our kids is the difference between a connected relationship with them and just being the disciplinarian. When we sit down on the floor with our kids, look them in the eye, when we take some time to step away from the laundry and endless to-do- lists, we create a rapport with our kids. We create a trust and a bond that matters when we have to do the other part of parenting- the disciplining and training up. Showing up in our kids’ lives is the difference between being constantly frustrated with our kids versus enjoying them.
Showing up in our relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a spouse or loved one. The most important thing is that we show up. We don’t have to have it all together or say or do the right thing. We can simply open ourselves up before God and be honest with our doubts, feelings, thoughts, wrestles, successes, and even with our failures. Many of us have been given a view of God that makes us feel like we have to be perfect or have it all together before we are in relationship with God, but that is the farthest thing from true. It starts with being available, with showing up.
Showing up in the way we care for ourselves is vitally important. This is the only body we’ve been given and it’s a gift- flaws and all. We can’t separate our minds and our souls from our bodies. It’s all connected. When we neglect our bodies, we neglect our minds and souls as well. We show up to caring for ourselves when we regularly fuel our bodies with healthy food and exercise. This also means listening to our bodies- getting rest when we are tired, instead of drinking that extra cup of coffee and powering through. For me, it means going to bed earlier and taking power naps on days I am under slept. When we show up to the way we care for ourselves, we gain the fuel we need to show up to others.
Showing up even when you don’t want to matters because it means that you are showing up for something that transcends even your own self.
Showing up even when you only have one shoe on and it’s not even tied matters because it means you are bringing the best of what you’ve got. It’s not about perfection or pleasing everyone, it’s about being awake. We can glide through life and get by or we can show up. We can live disconnected lives allowing distraction to take over or we can intentionally show up and offer ourselves available and present to God and those around us. What will we choose?