Being Ok With Where You Are {Chapter 6}

two friends enjoying the open air

From Chapter 6 {You May Need a Cheerleader}

Encouragement.
Say it again.
Encouragement.

You need it now more than you know. 

You have walked toward being OK with where you are for the past few weeks bravely. I’m so proud of you.  But, you still have days when you would like to toss this book across the room and quit.  What you need is a friend who will cheer you on and keep you close when you are not OK with where you are.

Yet, it seems like when we need them most, we send our friends away. We think we are better off alone. God, often, breaks through and has other ideas, even when we are something like a Bitter Betty.

The Woman Whose Name was Bitter

If I didn’t know any better, I would think this was a verse lifted straight from a country song:

But she said, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t. The Strong One ruined me’.” Ruth 1:20-21, The Message

Call me Bitter. I have come home with only the clothes on my back. My life is ruined. 

It is safe to say, Naomi was not all together OK with where she was, where she had been, and the prospects for her future. She even went so far to change her name to the sound of bitterness. Yeah, every time you call my name, be reminded “I’m bitter.”  She wanted everyone to know what you hear is what you get.

But was Naomi alone? Did she only come home with the clothes on her back? Well, not according to this part of the story:

“At this Orpah and Ruth wailed and wept again. Then Orpah kissed Naomi, said goodbye, and returned the way she had come. Yet Ruth refused to let go of Naomi.” Ruth 1:14, The Voice Translation

Bitter came home with a daughter-in-law named Ruth who refused to let her go. She stayed with a shell of woman who was not much fun to be around. Though pushed away time and again, Ruth stood firm:

“Stop pushing me away, insisting that I stop following you! Wherever you go, I will go.
Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God.” Ruth 1:16, The Voice Translation

This is beautiful, right? Guess what Bitter said? She said nothing more. She walked on home with a treasure of a friend beside her and when she arrived home told them she had nothing.

When your name is Bitter, you tend to see only what you don’t have. She saw heartache, loss, and a long road home. Ruth stayed with Naomi when she was not invited or encouraged to do so. Ironically, the name Ruth means beloved. Bitter walked with Beloved and actually could not see her as a gift.

Judgements aside, I am more like Naomi than I care to admit. When I am hurting and overwhelmed, I withdraw. I hide. (Remember Chapter 3 and The Veil of Fine?) My stress behavior, if you care to know, is to act fine and simultaneously cave far inside my own heart. During these times, it is hard for me to want people around, let alone be overjoyed when they declare their commitment to me. So, I get Ms. Bitter and her ways.

The story goes on to include a dashing kinsman redeemer (aka Biblical version of the Bachelor) who eventually marries Ruth. Naomi is blessed with a son through the new couple. Insert, happily ever after here:

“May this child give you new life. May he strengthen you and provide for you in your old age. Look at your daughter-in-law, Ruth. She loves you. This one devoted daughter is better to you than seven sons would be. She is the one who gave you this child. Then Naomi held the child tightly in her arms and cared for him.” Ruth 4:15,16 The Voice Translation.

Here in the middle of Bitter’s story is Blessing. The real blessing comes through a relationship she tried to send away. How grateful she must have been when she held the baby in her arms and saw God’s plan was to bless, and not to curse. He used a Beloved girl named Ruth to bring blessing to one whose heart was almost dried up.

I love how when we are not OK, He pushes us one step further with grace stories like the one of Naomi and Ruth. Better yet, He sends a Ruth to us in our own moment of crisis to walk with us when we think we would be better off alone.”

***

Girlfriend, you are going to needs a few cheerleaders to get you through the hard days. It would be awesome if she was a solid modern day Ruth. Do you know any? Go ahead and brag on a sweet sister who stayed by your side when you might have been a little bit bitter. I love a good gush session in the comments!

xo,

Stacey

OK-Where-You-Are-Book-Proof-promo

Stay tuned for Chapter 7, later this week. 

To read this chapter in its entirety, you can find the book right here.

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Comments

  1. I certain girl from Florida shared her wisdom and walked with me through a hard friendship loss about a year ago. She was a voice of reason and truth when my emotions were getting carried away and I was finding it hard to see through the bitterness.

    I’m ever so thankful for her :)

  2. Erika Dawson says:

    I don’t think I have ever thought of this story the way you told it here. I know about the bitterness, the faithfulness, the redemption … but the way you tied it with the withdrawal. Wow. Powerful for me b/c THAT is what I do. When I’m stressed or lonely or overwhelmed or afraid, I withdraw. I don’t always want to. I want to reach out, but I don’t know how or fear rears its ugly head beseeching me to hide. I so want to be that friend – be a Ruth – to others, and I think often I am … but letting new someones be MY Ruth? I become SO. very. afraid. Lord, help me!

    This has given me much to think on, Stacey. *grateful*
    Erika Dawson recently posted..The In-Between

    • stacey says:

      I think I see this in the story because I do the same thing! I think it is hard for a Ruth to find a Ruth – you know? :) I think that makes sense.
      Praying for you Erika!

  3. Crystal says:

    Have I ever told you that you have taught me to be a better friend? You see the silver lining in all people and circumstances and its changed how I interact with others :) so, there’s some bragging on YOU! Sadly, my name WAS “bitter” for many many years and it wasn’t until the last few years that God brought me to community with women who choose to stay with me even when I slide back to that place. You & Kris Camealy are two women who may not realize that your friendship silences the enemy whispering “it’ll end just like last time, they don’t really want to be your friend.”
    Crystal recently posted..Five Minute Friday: In Between

    • stacey says:

      Aww, you say the sweetest things to me girl! You know, I just love that we have found each other in this big space called the Internet. I miss you since we are not talking 4 times a day! Let’s fix that.

      xo2u

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  1. [...] Chapter 6: You May Need a Cheerleader [...]

  2. [...] your name is Bitter, you tend to see only what you don’t have”. She’s talking about Ruth and Naomi but that statement applies to me sometimes. Sometimes I see what I don’t have instead of what I [...]