Do you have a support system in your life? One of the changes that has occurred seemingly from the fast pace of our lives in today’s society is the lack of personal support. A hundred years ago multiple generations of a family would live on the same land or next to each other. Women would sit in the kitchen with Grandma seeking and soaking up the wisdom that comes from age and experience. Sons would look to their father’s as an example and a mentor. We see movies and tv shows about strong close knit groups of friends. Yet if I ask a counseling client who can support them outside of counseling, many times the person can’t think of anyone that they could truly be honest and open with. I hear things like:
“I don’t want to be a burden.”
“I have trust issues.”
“They will just get mad if I don’t do what they tell me I should do.”
“I just don’t think others care about my issues.”
We have become a society of people who are secretive about what is most important to us, or we mention the safe parts in passing. Yet, Jesus showed us that a support group is necessary even for Him. He had His disciples whom He called friends. He shared His heart with them. He shared His fears. He shared His purpose.
Why do we need a support system?
It isn’t just in crisis that we need a support system. Even for our dreams and goals we need people to help us stay focused and to keep us from sabotaging ourselves from fear and self-doubt.
- I just feel overwhelmed all of the time. How do I deal with the stress in my life?
- Should we buy the bigger house when we only have one child?
- I am unhappy in my marriage. God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy would he?
- I have dreamed of owning a business since I was 12. Now I am 50. Is it too late?
- How will I keep my children’s spirit up when I am so heartbroken that their Mom left us all?
- I have always wanted to write. Do you think I would be good at it?
Do you have a support system of people in your life that provide encouragement, love, and stability? Are their people in your life with a strong faith that you can trust that they are aligned with God? Can you turn to them for prayer and/or advice? Who should be a part of your support system?
I think this last question is worthy of serious thought and prayer.
Who should be a part of your support system?
Here are some considerations when looking to build a support system:
- There are different roles to fill in a support system. Some people you just want love and encouragement. Others you may need wisdom or specific advice.
- Does the person share your faith? Are they supporting you with God’s truth as their foundation?
- It is important to have one or two people in your life that will tell you the truth even if it hurts.
- Will they keep important issues confidential? Do they have a trustworthy character? (You cannot necessarily judge this based upon if you trust them, because many of us do have “trust issues”. But you can look at their history and the integrity they show in other relationships.)
You may have a natural support system around you that you just may not have recognized in the past. You may think your current relationships are lacking in people who can support you in the areas you may need. This is not necessarily an overnight process. Sometimes we need to look for guides and encouragers to bring closer in our lives.
How do we get a person to support us?
We may see people who would be ideal supporters in our life but they have never had that role or we don’t have that close of a relationship with them. You can’t just go tell someone that you have chosen them to be a part of your support system, can you? It really depends. Support is about relationship and in many cases supporters are relationships built over time. Here are some suggestions:
- Build your relationship with the person with your time and attention.
- Offer support to them in a way that you are comfortable. For example, they may be a great encourager, but you feel more comfortable supporting someone with prayer. Ask them how you can be praying for them.
- Ask them for support! Ask for advice, or prayer, or guidance. Most people these days don’t want to invade our privacy or give unwanted advice. They need to know what you need from them and that you DO NEED THEM!
- If trust is an issue for you, go slow. Trust with small things and open up over time. Opening up too quickly will leave you feeling exposed and vulnerable. Trust takes time and intention.
You may not feel that you have the strongest support system in place today, but hopefully you can see where it is important to start now as true support is developed over time. In order to have it in place when we do need it we need to be intentional about seeking it. If you still are not sure where to start, begin with being a supporter to those you are close to. I am a firm believer that we do reap what we sow and that if we become a strong support to someone else we will be better equipped to understand our own support needs.
If you have strong support in your life, please share your experience in the comment section. We would love to hear your story.