Lauren Michelle Dowler
ADVəKəT PART 3: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
A friend and I cracked up as we verbalized some of our pitfalls in life. “I need a bracelet that says, ‘I need support,’” I laughed, “And I need one that says, ‘I need help,’” she responded on the brink of happy tears. #thestruggleisreal
We all have needs, don’t we? I need to know that I’m supported in my dreams and the calling that God has for my life- no matter how unique its course. Periodically, I’ve found myself feeling alone as I’ve set sail across the seven seas, scouting out possibilities and taking steps towards my dreams. By alone, I am by no means referring to the absence of a Heavenly Father that never leaves or forsakes us. Rather, I’m referring to the tangible presence of a team to walk alongside that advocate on my behalf, and inversely, that I can rally on behalf of. We all need an advocate, and we are all capable of advocating on behalf of others.
Oh yes, I’ve had amazing seasons of this need being met in a way that far exceeded my expectations and definition of the word community- but was it a forever deal? In a way yes- we’ve just since been scattered across regions and nations. Social media is a beautiful gift when it comes to maintaining relationships, but there’s an entirely different connection that that comes when we’re sitting across a table from one another- it’s Realtime. The tangible support of a human being right in front of us that is intentional and uplifting. The warmth of a hug, the sweetness of sharing a meal, going on a walk with a friend or family member and having an authentic conversation, a high five or pound it in passing. We need it; but when we don’t have access to Realtime relationships my prayer is that there’s a person we all know that is just a Facetime, a phone call, or a message away.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit that we need an advocate and that we can’t do it on our own. It seems easier to hide our needs from one another thus perpetuating the problem. How many times at the point of breakdown have we heard this line?
“I wish you would have told me.”
Often, we assume that people know what we need. What if they don’t? If you’re anything like my friend and me, it sometimes feels like a tooth is being pulled when attempting to spit out the words, “I need support”, or “I need help”. If you need a reminder, set one on your phone- write it on your hand- get a bracelet 🤣, whatever it takes to encourage yourself in that direction.
And if there’s no response, keep trying. There’s absolutely a person that cares about you (if you can’t think of anyone- shoot me a message under “Stay in Touch”).
I'm incredibly thankful for the many people that have rallied on my behalf over the years, despite the distance, difference in time zones and seasons of life. I'm incredibly humbled and grateful for the conference call that takes place once a month where some of these people come together specifically to pray for me and my dreams.
"Who am I?" was my initial reaction as I made the strange adjustment to being on the receiving end. Over the past several months I've been challenged even more so to be vulnerable and ask for support.
There are still times, however, especially when traveling that I tangibly lack the presence of another human being. In these times I bank on the fact that there’s a God who never turns down a cry for help. A God who not only roots for me but resides in me- and He’s not going anywhere.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
“the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6