friendship

Are You The Glue?

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Have you heard the expression before? You’re the glue in this family.

You’re the glue in this organization?

You’re the glue that held us together with this project?

Glue is that sticky substance that through some scientific means bonds things together. Keeps them close. Holds things in place.

Are you the glue?

Being the glue isn’t something that one gets assigned, rather it’s something that just happens. Certain personalities tend to be the glue.  This is not something they try to be, they are created with this ability to bond.  For unknown reasons they seem to be the one that others look to for direction or information; to feel connected with and welcomed.  Glue people somehow have a way of understanding what’s going on, even when they don’t know all the details.  Their welcome mat is out and they live with availability. They are the glue that hold people together.

I’ll ask again. Are you the glue?

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Maybe a better question would be, are you sticky? 

Sticky substances have a way of holding onto all kinds of things, good and bad. Now we can all relate to that, right? Each of us has a tendency to hold onto good and bad. But if you’re a glue person, like me, it’s important to recognize a few things:

  1. Not everyone acts like a glue person. Don’t be angry when others don’t care the way you do.
  2. The gift of bonding and holding others close is a matter of the heart.  Caring always costs you and enriches you at the same time.
  3. When you find that you aren’t able to “glue” like usual, it may be because too many prohibiting things have stuck to you. Examine your life. What is stuck to you that doesn’t belong? That empty’s your body and soul? That makes you sad?

I’ve been reading the gospel of Mark.  I’m only 3 chapters in but have identified somethings that have made me think about my ability to care for others. Even if we are not a glue person by nature, each of us takes on the role of a glue person in various seasons of life. We all can relate to the responsibility of caring for others whether it’s a child, disabled loved one, an elderly neighbor, foster child, sick or injured co-worker who doesn’t have family support, a family you know of who has great financial, emotional, relational or physical need, etc. There are a thousand different scenarios where we are asked to care for others.

Jesus is just beginning His journey in ministry.  People are getting to know Him.  He is speaking publicly and healing all kinds of people. People are drawn to Him. Jesus welcomes them.  He entertains their problems and questions.  He walks for miles and miles with them (as that is how people got around). Jesus was a glue person.

There were moments along the way where Jesus went away from the crowds.  He needed to sleep, to pray, to rest.  His closest friends were frantic when He wasn’t being the “glue” all the time. When you develop a reputation for being the glue, others will come to depend on you to hold things together. But Jesus did not let the lure of being needed dictate His schedule or His own need.

Jesus gives clear perspective:

  1. You will burn out if you don’t find a rhythm that allows you to step away from the needs of others. It’s simple, you cannot be a glue person if your stickiness wears off.
  2. You have to let go from time to time.  Stop dwelling on how you can help or assist.  This sounds very un-Jesus-y. But glue people tend to get a little obsessed with how they can carry others.  Jesus teaches us there is a time to rest from this never ending work.  There is a time to lay it down and fill our minds and hearts with other things.
  3. Remind yourself that your identity doesn’t come from being a glue person. Holding people together is what you do not who you are. When we confuse this we tend to become people pleasers and that is a burden glue people cannot afford to carry. We have to maintain the ability to say no at the right time so we are able to say yes at the precise time.

Are you a glue person? Are you in a season of life where you have to be a glue person?

If you are, your work is too important to ignore.  Through you others feel welcomed and invited.  Through you others find a listening ear or a new perspective. Through you others belong. Through you others become grounded and learn they matter.

We would do well my fellow glue persons to learn from Jesus, the Ultimate Glue Person.  You never know when you’ll be asked to be a glue person.

 

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  – Ephesians 2:10

 

Are you feeling stuck lately?

I know how you feel. 

Often we get stuck with consistent problems at work or with friends, our families or marriages battle the same issues over and over again or our own unhealthy behavior seems to rule over us.  Feeling stuck is a universal experience often with no quick solutions.

Recently I was thinking about feeling stuck. Processing my own “stuck-ness” I began to realize surprising signs of help and hope. I am simply inattentive to the small graces around me. Suddenly a story began to form.  I’d like to share it with you today to let you know that you are not alone. If you feel stuck, keep looking for signs of help and hope in the unexpected places. That’s where the small graces rest.

 

Original art work by Randi Perez Helm

Original art work by Randi Perez Helm

Lionel

The jungle was hot and sticky. Lionel’s fur was matted and icky.

It was time to get out of the heat and find a shade tree or a pond for his feet.

Across the way he saw a large tree. Slowly he made his way through the jungle heat.

Coming up close he noticed a pool. No, not with water, but mud. It was cool.

He tipped toed in and it felt sweet. With a belly flop splat, he was off of his feet.

He rolled over and over, one messy cat. Making mud angels with his legs and his back.

But after a little while the mud wasn’t new. It didn’t feel cold. It felt more like glue.

Flat on his belly he couldn’t flip back. He felt like the jelly to a peanut butter snack.

I’ve rolled and rolled in this cool muddy muck. And now I’m afraid that I’m completely stuck.

 He looked to the left and then to the right, but none could be seen. There was no one in sight.

He started to think he’d be there for good. He started to worry like anyone would.

Oh no, what do I do? Lionel thought and thought it through.

Tired from thinking and feeling kind of stiff Lionel noticed a monkey carrying a stick.

Hello furry friend, I see you are stuck. Grab hold of this stick and I’ll pull you unstuck.

Oh thank you, thank you. You’re a friend indeed. Lionel grabbed hold of the stick, wishing to be free.

The monkey pulled and pulled and pulled with all his might. But it was no use. Lionel was stuck tight.

Just then a large hawk swooped down from the sky.

Can I help you Lionel? He cawed. I’ll give it a try.

 The hawk clutched Lionel’s tail and flapped up and down.   But Lionel’s muddy fur, still stuck to the ground.

And after a while it became clear that Lionel the lion wasn’t going anywhere.

Why did I slip into this muddy old place? He frumped and he grumped with no smile on his face.

Don’t worry old Lionel I won’t fly away. I’ll stay here with you until you find a way.

The hawk was sincere and the monkey agreed. Both now would and wait until Lionel was freed.

Tick, tock, the time traveled by, he was still, stuck and Lionel wanted to cry.

Hawk and monkey soon became sleepy but this was no time for Lionel to be dreamy.

How long was he stuck? Lionel didn’t even know. Ker-plunk, ker-plunk, something fell on his nose.

 Splat, splat, it started out small, but soon it was heavy, a real rainsquall.

Hawk and monkey now up in the tree called down to Lionel to see how he’d be.

Lionel oh Lionel, we’re sorry you’re wet.

But something soon happened he’d never forget.

With a slurp and a slosh he moved in the muck. With a squirm and a squish he finally got unstuck.

The rain that poured down was a good thing you see. It loosened the mud and now he was free!

With a jump and a roar Lionel hopped to his feet. His friends danced beside him all happy these three.

The rain washed the mud clear off Lionel’s fur. He felt so much better, that was for sure.

With his friends right beside him all squeaky and clean, Lionel realized one thing, then two, then three.

It’s never a good idea to roll in mud puddles. It might look like fun but you’re asking for trouble.

Real friends stay with you even when you are in a rut. They might not have answers but they stay ‘till until you’re unstuck.

And just like the sunrise the rain knows when to fall. You might need to get a little wet to be free after all.

Copyright 2015 Randi Perez Helm