Sarah, South Africa
8 years ago, God rocked my word. At the time, I was suffering from terrible burnout, which resulted in awful, debilitating fatigue and depression. The malfunctioning of mind and body took a major toll on me, emotionally. For these reasons, I decided to rent a small cabin in Cape Town, the coastal capital of my country.
I was excited to have some alone time in nature; unfortunately, my anxiety came with me. I was awake one night, battling insomnia, when I started to pray. I’d been praying a lot over the past year, but my prayers had always been about me. That night, I decided to change the narrative: “God, I am so tired of focusing on myself,” I said. “It’s always all about me being able to do what I want, when I want. I’m exhausted. Please help me take the focus off of myself — send me someone who needs Your help.”
The next morning, I woke up to Abel, the cabin’s cleaner, knocking on the door. Abel was a super sweet Malawian man with a remarkably positive energy that stood in stark contrast to my own. He could see that I was miserable and clearly wanted to help, so he always offered his company. He’d been by once a week for the past three weeks and during that time, we’d created our own post-cleaning ritual: he’d make two cups of tea, then we’d sit and drink in silence.
But this particular morning, Abel’s energy was closer to my own. He had no pep in his step and his perpetual smile was long gone. As soon as I asked him what was wrong, his eyes filled with tears. Abel told me that a massive storm had hit his village back in Malawi and that his home had been destroyed, leaving his wife and two small children homeless.
Just that morning, he’d asked his main employer for an advance, so he could send money home. In response, his boss called him an opportunist. I asked him how much he needed. He said 2000 rands (around $110). Little did Abel know, I planned to stay in the cabin for 3 months. I did the math and found that 3 months of cleaning equaled exactly 2000 rands! I already had the money set aside for him, so I was more than willing to give it to him early.
Abel was shocked by my offer; in his mind, I was just a resident who might leave at any moment. It had never even occurred to him to ask me for help. We both cried — him out of relief and me out of gratitude for an answered prayer. From that day forward, I began seeking to give; as a result, things started getting better for me. In the end, I made a full recovery.
I’ve tried my best to hold onto what I learned in that cabin: even in times of despair, God offers us ways to give — and by giving, we ourselves remain grateful.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
Sarah is an L.A. based actress. Be sure to catch her show Agent on Netflix.