I was torn up online. I was hurt by people I didn’t know. My attackers called themselves Christians, and were chastising my lack of faith.
But it wasn’t a lack of faith at all. It was an honest statement. Probably one all too many of us could have related to if we were honest.
That’s the key though.
We live in a culture that doesn’t promote honesty. If you have a problem, it should be kept secret. You should quietly overcome it and then shout your awesomeness. While you’re in the midst of a struggle though? Well, we don’t talk about that.
Why don’t we?
Why don’t we open our arms wide and love each other?
Jesus never once said, “let the perfect come to me.”
He said, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Luke 5:31 NIV)
He came to save sinners, so why should ashamed to admit that’s us?
Why do we shame others when they acknowledge that they are who God says we all are?
Imperfect, sinful, failures, in need of a Savior.
We all struggle with doubts some times. We all believe things that we know are not true. About ourselves. About God. About others.
So why do we attack others when they share theirs?
I think part of it is unintentional (and I’m guilty of this too). Because we all have different doubts and struggles, we don’t take the time to empathize with them. Instead, we jump right in and let them know why their doubts or struggles are wrong or unnecessary. We don’t have them, why should they? Or we go in guns blazing to rescue them by telling them their doubts and struggles aren’t valid.
Think about that for a moment.
When we rush in to tell someone what God’s Word says, and why what they are struggling with isn’t true, what we are really doing is disregarding something that is very real to them. Real enough that they opened up to us about it. Whether that was online or off, our response matters.
When someone opens up, they don’t need an education, chances are they know the truth, what they need is someone to love them where they are. To acknowledge that they are going through a real struggle, whether that’s spiritually, physically, or emotionally. Life happens and life is hard. It’s real.
Our struggles are real, even when we know our Bibles inside and out. Even when we know God is good, and trustworthy, and in control. And sometimes we just need to talk out our fears, our struggles, or our doubts. We need to voice them to overcome them. Instead of ignoring them or dismissing them, we need to attack them head on, and sometimes we need help with that. We can’t defeat all of our demons on our own, we need God fighting on our side, and sometimes, we need God’s people fighting with us.
Sometimes we just need to talk out our fears, our struggles, or our doubts. We need to voice them to overcome them.
It’s Okay To Be Real
James 5:16 says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV). We need to come together and unite against our struggles, not shame them into a silent internal torment.
When Paul was writing about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, he asked that the believers would pray for him to be able to declare God’s Word boldly; fearlessly. Why would he ask that if he didn’t struggle with fear? He was not afraid to ask for prayers from the people he was shepherding. He didn’t try to build up the picture they held of him, but honestly asked for prayers.
That’s where I want to be. I want to be someone that other women know they can trust. Someone who doesn’t dismiss fears or struggles. Someone who will pray for God to give others strength no matter what they are going through. And I want to be someone who isn’t afraid to admit that I need help, too. Because I do.
I do struggle with so many things. From anxiety to depression. From body image to housekeeping. Insecurity to pride. My struggles run the gauntlet and I struggle every single day in probably a million different ways.
So today, I challenge you, the next time someone confesses a struggle to you, instead of dismissing them or attacking them, embrace them. Let them know that you struggle, too. That it’s okay to be real. Because only when we are honest about what we are going through, can we help one another get through it. Don’t make them journey alone.
Let’s live out the gospel of Jesus and apply it to real life.
Let’s Be Real
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever been attacked for sharing a struggle, or afraid to reach out for help because you were afraid of being judged? If you feel comfortable, share something you struggle with with us.
The struggle I was attacked for? Truth be told, it’s happened more than once. This time, I admitted that I think other people’s prayers are more effective than my own. I know it’s not true, but it’s still something a struggle with. Another time I shared something with a close friend and her rejection still stings. So now that I’m facing a new struggle, it’s hard to reach out and bridge the gap. So I guess that’s a struggle in and of itself.
If you liked this blog post, you’ll love Heather’s new book, Candid Conversations. While each story shares a unique perspective, the prevailing theme is that we all struggle, but there is hope to be found in Jesus. Get your copy from Amazon or click here to learn more.