This past summer, I went through a pretty tough season in my life. I was betrayed by someone I trusted completely. Not very many people knew about it, though, and I wasn’t about to go and tell everyone about how hurt and messed up I was feeling! So many times over the summer, someone would ask me “Hey, how are you doing these days?” and my immediate, automated, overly cheerful response was “I’m doing great! What about you?”
Thing is, I wasn’t really great. I wasn’t good. I wasn’t even really fine. I was stressed out and tired.
When someone asks us how we are, no matter how we actually are, we almost always say we’re fine, or good. At least, that’s the case for me. My life can be going upside down, all around and jumping through a hoop all at the same time, but if someone asks me how I am, my automated response is “I’m good! How about you?!” Doesn’t matter if I’ve had a dreadful day, week, month or even year. I don’t want to give the impression that anything ever goes wrong in my life. You guys really don’t need to know that I struggle with stuff, so I’ll just pretend I don’t! Smart, right?
Do we honestly believe that we’re the only ones hurting? I mean, are we actually selfish enough to think “I’m the only one who has problems—no one understands”? Well, for me, the answer is definitely yes.
I can get so caught up in my own issues that I start thinking I’m the only one who has problems. I am the only one who has problems getting along with my siblings. I am the only one who has problems getting along with my parents. I am the only one who has problems with some of my closest friends. I am the only one who was super close to one of my siblings, and then somehow I’m not anymore (they got a boyfriend/girlfriend, they moved away, etc.). I am the only one who has lost a best friend over a stupid rumor. I am the only one who has been betrayed by a best friend. I am the only one who has had mean things said about me. I am the only one who gets misunderstood. I am the only one who has problems with self-worth. I am the only one who doesn’t always do well in school. My parents are the only ones who fight. My family is the only one with financial struggles. My family is the only one who’s had to make major adjustments in the last couple of years.
Wait…seriously? I get so caught up in feeling sorry for myself, I forget that I’m not the only one who’s hurting. I think part of the reason we start thinking we are the only ones with problems is that we tend to try to hide our problems from each other. It looks like we are the only ones hurting because everyone else thinks the same thing and tries to hide their own pain from everyone else! We seem to be ashamed of the fact that we have problems! We all struggle with things, big and small. Everyone has some kind of disturbance, a ripple, on their pool of life. It just depends on how big the rock was that was thrown in! And honestly, we shouldn’t even be feeling sorry for ourselves, even though that seems like the thing to do.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” —James 1:2-4
“And he said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” —Romans 5:3-5
These verses tell us to rejoice, to glory, to have joy in our tribulations, infirmities, weaknesses and temptations. To me, that doesn’t sound like we’re supposed to be ashamed of them, to try and hide them. Instead of hiding the things we struggle with, we should be open about them. Knowing that others have gone through exactly what you’re going through, or just even knowing that other Christians do struggle, can be such a comfort. Not only can it be a comfort to someone else when you share, but as a general rule, it really isn’t that healthy to hold all the sadness, heartache and pain inside of you. Talking to someone does help. And even when we’re being bogged down by things, it doesn’t mean we can’t also be thankful that we’re going through a tough time because it will bring us closer to God!
What’s even worse than trying to hide the fact we’re hurting from other people is trying to hide it from God. Not that we can, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes we won’t try. It’s almost as if we feel guilty about having struggles. God allows these struggles to make us stronger! Of course He knows all about them, and He doesn’t think any less of us for having them!
Do we actually allow ourselves to believe that God will think less of us for struggling? Uh, God has already seen us in our most vile and weak state of sin, and He still loved us! He died for us! And now we’re thinking that He will look down upon us because we’re going through something that is hard for us? He has already forgiven all our sins. God has never looked down on you. He has loved you, and always will continue to love you! The trials we have are meant to bring us closer to God. If we try to hide what we’re going through from Him, that won’t bring us closer to Him at all! He wants us to fully depend on Him for strength. God gives us struggles so that we can learn to rely on Him instead of only ourselves.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13
I guess what I’m trying to say is: Know that someone always will understand. Even if no one on this whole planet understands you, the one who lives in Heaven DOES. He understands exactly what it’s like, and He cares tremendously. God does give us more than we can handle by ourselves, but that’s the beauty of being a child of the Living God—we don’t have to handle it ourselves. He can handle it for us!
He knows all about your scars from the past, and your gaping wounds in the present. He knows everything about you, and He knows that you can’t make it through your life without His help. And sometimes His help is going to come from the poeple around you and the people you will meet. Which is why you can’t just shut everyone out and pretend like your life is all rainbows and sunshine. I tried that for way too long, and though I was happy in a way, deep down I was in a tortured state. I wasn’t healing because I wasn’t facing the problem and letting God get to work on fixing it for me!
I’m telling you right now that it’s okay that you’re not fine. It’s okay that you struggle with temptations. It’s okay that you’re hurting. It’s okay to go and tell someone about what’s in your heart. If you don’t feel you can trust someone in your life, then go and find someone you can trust. Tell God about your problem and ask Him to bring you to someone you can talk to, and the amazing thing is…He will! God wants to help you, but He can’t do that unless you are open to Him. Maybe you’re not ready to talk to another broken human about what pebbles have been thrown into your pool of life (or maybe they’re boulders?), but you can always talk to the one who already knows it all: God.
Remember, everyone struggles with something, even if they’re not willing to admit it. No one has a perfect life, absolutely no one. You don’t need to be ashamed of what you’re going through, because a true friend can be found, and He isn’t going to judge you for it.
Love in Christ,
PS: I love this YouTube video from Blimey Cow, and it perfectly relates to what I’m trying to convey in this post! Watch it here!
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