I’m Here for You Day 1: Noticing the Needs of Others
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27, ESV)
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, ESV)
Is there any better feeling than when someone steps in and helps you out without your speaking a word? No matter how major or minor a need may be, we all crave a helping hand in our hour of need. It’s the little things: a friend notices the pile of dishes on the counter and cleans them, or the man in the parking lot notices you’ve dropped your bags and helps you carry them to the car. These moments make us feel seen. What are you doing for the people in your life to make them feel seen? Noticing the needs of others is a two-step process. First, we must ask ourselves what our focus is on, and second, we must simply listen.
To notice the needs of others we should first stop thinking about ourselves. I will be the first to say that far too many of my thoughts are filled with self and my own needs. I can get so focused on my own to-do list that I lose sight of all those around. Is it just me, or do you find that when you’re hyper-focused on your own needs you start thinking you’re the only person who has problems? It’s cliché, but the truth is that someone in the world is having a worse day than you, and while you must address your own needs, you cannot be consumed with self.
So, who should we focus on? Well, first, we must have our eyes on Christ. With our eyes steadfastly on Christ, we begin to grow closer to Him. The closer you are to the Lord, the more your surroundings come into perspective. It becomes easier to think of yourself less and, in humility, count others more significant than yourself. With this fresh, new perspective, I can almost guarantee your eyes will be opened to the needs of those around you.
The key to any relationship is to be a good listener. I don’t mean merely listening to respond, but listening to learn and understand more about the person. Often, noticing the needs of others comes from reading in between the lines. When a friend shares that work has been stressful lately and they haven’t been sleeping well, put yourself in their shoes. What would bring a smile to your face? Maybe it’s a simple text wishing them a better day or maybe you send them a few dollars to cover a midday coffee run. Either way, I guarantee this simple act of kindness will make them feel seen and loved. Small acts can change the course of a person’s day and, in some cases, their life.
So, with our eyesight adjusted and our ears tuned to listen, let’s go love our neighbors. As Mr. Bigweld so wisely said in the Robots movie, “See a need, fill a need.” My challenge to you this week is to meet a need for one person every day. Pay attention to your friends when they speak. Notice the woman struggling to get her kids and groceries into the car at the same time. Offer the delivery man a snack. Send an encouraging text to a friend suffering from illness or loss. Make someone feel seen, known, and loved. You’ll be amazed at the ripple effect a simple act of kindness can have.