The Human Race

People first.

That sounds great… but what does it look like??

I wondered about it since God had told me that that’s what I was supposed to be doin’ and all…

but I really couldn’t figure out what it meant.

I knew immediately what it didn’t look like:

So much of life is a competition where people are trying to win. They’re looking out for number one; trying to be better than everybody else; jostling for their 15 minutes in the spotlight. I used to live like that. Before Bipolar took over my life I was a Type A overachiever. From every indications I was destined to succeed in school and go on to make a name for myself doing whatever it is that Type A overachievers do. Growing up “gifted” I got used to hearing teachers tell me that I was going to do something amazing. I didn’t count on mental illness. I guess you can say that struggling with depression and suicidal ideation for over two decades and coming out on the other side alive and normal is amazing…. but I’m pretty sure that that’s not what they meant. Mental illness is something you pretty much cannot outrun. It takes you outta the race.

For years my life looked a lot like this:

Me standing alone at the starting line. I wasn’t racing against other people trying to win. It was just me running around in circles trying to stay alive.

People first?? Great commercial slogan… but what did it really mean??

I  asked God what that meant, so shouldn’t have been surprised when he started showing me. He had a friend call me yesterday. Even though I hate talking on the phone with an intense passion, this friend and I talked for nearly 2 hours. It was wonderful to reconnect with him and just hear to hear his voice. He needed to talk to me and he needed me to listen and to understand. When I put me first the phone stays off and I return calls when I feel like it. Eventually people stop calling because they know I won’t pick up. God had another friend call today. Again… the fact that my phone was even on was an act of God. She and I haven’t spoken in months and it was good to talk to her. Her life has undergone some major upheavals and because I wasn’t putting people first, I had no idea. I wasn’t there when she really needed me… but I was there today because God wanted me to put people first. Again, we talked for nearly an hour and I’m glad.

Then another friend came over today. She facebooked me and asked could she come over for prayer. We had an awesome time of prayer and then we just talked. Could putting people first be as simple as that??? Being accessible to people when they need an ear or a prayer?? Well damn. That seems so simple. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that??? It didn’t involve me needing to be lobotomized. I didn’t have to sprout warm fuzzies. I just had to be there and listen… and since I have two ears, that’s not so much of a stretch. I had another friend come over for our Friday Night Prayer group. It’s usually anywhere from 2-4 people. Tonight God wanted me to just be there for her. She needed to unburden herself and that kind of stuff usually works better without spectators. It was good. It was intense. It was a lot of things… none of which involved us racing against each other trying to get ahead. There wasn’t anything to be won and being “first” didn’t even apply.

Tonight I feel more alive than I have felt in years. Sure, when you engage with people there is a very real possibility that you might get hurt. People are people and as long as they are people… the potential for getting hurt is always going to exist. For years I had to put me first because I couldn’t handle more hurts from people….but I’m finding that if I engage with people now there is the very real possibility that something wonderful might happen.  Putting people first??

Maybe it looks something like this:

People taking time to help other people get where they’re going…

The last two days have taught me that we’re in this together.

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