Let’s Be Real (we all struggle with something)

| May 4, 2017

Let's Be Real

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.

Honesty.

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?

W.W.J.D.?

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?

Be RealImperfect, 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?

Unintentional

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.

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.

Let's Be RealThat’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.

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45 Comments

  • Reply Jessica Schneider May 4, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Thank you for always being honest. A lot of times when I read what you write, I think “me too”. And that gives me comfort, that I am not alone, and that I am not weird.

    One struggle for me is, why should I keep writing if there are so many other writers/bloggers out there? Why put my life on display all over the internet? But then some random person will text or email me with how my writing helped them, and I am reminded that it doesn’t matter how many writers or bloggers there are, it is about obedience who where God leads.
    Jessica Schneider recently posted…The People We Meet Along The WayMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart May 4, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Yes! I have often wondered why God calls so many people to do the same thing, but then I’m reminded that we are all unique and have different spheres of influence.

      Thanks for stopping in today, Jessica. And for your encouragement!
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Jaime Hampton May 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

    Heather, I am so glad you have chosen the hard path of taking the mask off and allowing God to use you to encourage women, and point them to Jesus as you share your struggles and your own journey of faith. I think a lot of times we who are blessed to be part of the Candidly Christian community forget that the comments that show up here and the positive environment we are privileged to enjoy comes as a direct result of you being the filter through which the negative is strained out. Thank you, Heather, for doing the dirty work! I know my prayers are echoed by many others here that God would build you up, heal any brokenheartedness and put a guard over your heart to protect you from being injured by the negative comments that will inevitably come through here. God bless your ministry, and your amazing heart to point others to Jesus!
    Jaime Hampton recently posted…Giving Thanks for the ThornMy Profile

  • Reply Sheila Qualls May 4, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    People can be hurtful. We know we should not try to win the favor of man, but it really hurts when others are critical, especially when they are people of faith. There’s nothing wrong with honesty, but I believe it should be spoken in love. I feel the same way Jessica feels. So many bloggers, writer, what’s the use? Hard to stay focused on the mission: obedience.

    • Reply Heather Hart May 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Obedience is so important, Sheila! I was just thinking about that the other day. We always have a choice to obey or disobey. The only thing that keeps us on the right track is our love for Jesus.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Horace Williams Jr May 5, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Well stated Heather. May we come alongside and show a love like Jesus does. Just last year I made it a point to memorize the fruit of the Spirit passage. The reason: I want it to be first in my mind in every circumstance. Being honest is not a bad thing, but I feel it is unexpected in this world of political correctness and fake news. God asks us to be truthful. When we share our truth, may it be in love and not coated in pride or shame. We are God’s children and He wants us to be a light for Him. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post. I appreciate the insights you share here. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and God bless.
    Horace Williams Jr recently posted…Are you seeing who God sees when you look in the mirror?My Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart May 5, 2017 at 10:13 am

      “May we come alongside and show a love like Jesus does.” < <-- Yes and amen! Thanks for stopping by, Horace. Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Nicole Kauffman May 5, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Love this! It can be so hard to go beyond the surface with others because it is so often looked down upon! Thank you for this honest and challenging call!

  • Reply Laura May 5, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Ugh, it really bothers me when Christians judge each other. Slinging mud and hurtful criticisms have nothing to do with following Jesus. We are called to confess to each other, extend forgiveness, and encourage each other on this journey. ❤ I’m all about keeping it real too!

    • Reply Heather Hart May 5, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Thanks, Laura. I think it’s even worse when Christians are hateful because we know the call of Christ. But that’s just another way we fall perfect and we have to extend grace even when the struggle is with judgementalism. Thanks for keeping it real, I appreciate you!
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Debbie Erickson May 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for this, Heather. I think a lot of us guard ourselves because we have no idea how people are going to react to our struggles. I know I tend to keep a lot of things to myself because I think people have so many things going on in their own lives that they really don’t need or want to hear my problems.

    Nice post!
    Debbie Erickson recently posted…Three Tips On Pursuing Your GoalsMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart May 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Debbie! I can so relate to that! I often think people are too busy for me, and I tend to forget that true relationships are built through sharing life.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Marcee May 8, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I read something a pastor wrote last week and it goes a little something like this: Christians fail just like everyone else. We’re not necessarily “good” all the time, but we’re good and covering it up. And it shouldn’t be that way. If you can’t hide from God, why do we feel it’s necessary to hide from people?
    Marcee recently posted…What to do when it gets hard to believe God’s WordMy Profile

  • Reply Andrea May 8, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I think God just wants us to keep it real with Him and with others

  • Reply Nickia May 8, 2017 at 10:32 am

    What a great post.. full of encouragement, grace, and honesty. Life is hard, messy, and brutal… let’s embrace each other in love, prayer, and encouragement.

  • Reply Aleida Lane May 8, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    I”m glad you mentioned James 5:16, that’s the exact verse I was thinking of as reading. Being transparent and honest in church has sadly become so uncommon.
    Aleida Lane recently posted…How to Enjoy & Maximize Every Season in Your LifeMy Profile

  • Reply Susan Evans May 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    If you share with someone that you have agony over someone else’s sin, some people flippantly say that we should always have joy, so we are sinning when we experience grief. But even Jesus experienced grief over other people’s sin, and Job wept about the destruction caused by the enemy. we are allowed to feel.
    Susan Evans recently posted…Government Activity Books for High SchoolMy Profile

  • Reply Tiffany May 8, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    This really reminds me of Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is so important for us all to remember. Thank you once again for your insight and transparency. <3
    Tiffany recently posted…Affirmations…My Profile

  • Reply Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard May 9, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I know that our society places a priority on perfection. We’ve allowed the wrong definition of that word to seep into our lives. We forget that real people have challenges, there is never a finished with sin and human frailty on this side of heaven. I do know the sting of people judging based on words or a single moment though. It really hurts, but I TRY to look at it this way. 1) My real brokenness is a better bridge to Christ than my pretend perfection ever was. 2) My job is to represent running the race set before me, working out my own salvation with fear and trembling, the best I know how to do. If others cannot see value in what I said or did, that may be more their problem than mine. I take a moment to evaluate if I could have been clearer, but mostly just keep doing me. God will draw those who want to be real with me. Fake doesn’t entertain me at all.
    Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard recently posted…Intentional Multitasking for Busy MomsMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart May 18, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Yes! A missionary friend once told me that when she had came back to the states her family was messed up. But God had dealt with them and worked in their hearts, so at that point if someone had a problem with them it was between them and God and really had nothing to do with her. Her heart was right before God. It was so inspiring to see her faith and peace. And it left a lasting impact about God being the only true judge.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Let’s Be Real (we all struggle with something)My Profile

  • Reply Kristi May 9, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Sharing deeply with others is where we often times let God’s light shine through us the most. Yes, there might be those who criticize or reject what were saying as doubting or not having enough faith. But God never does that. In the end, he is often glorified in our honesty.
    Kristi recently posted…Do Not Let Fear Overcome LoveMy Profile

  • Reply Gentle Joy Homemaker May 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    There does seem to be a price for being honest… and we learn to be quiet about struggles… and we all suffer from not learning from one another and helping others. Sad, but it happens. We all need a bit of encouragement at times… and we all need to be ready and willing to give such to others. Thank you for the post.

  • Reply Lindsey Renee May 10, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I have found that the ones I am closest to are the ones I know their real issues. The ones who aren’t perfect and talk about their flaws and struggles. In a society that strives off super mom, perfectionism, and perfect images and bodies that are clearly an illusion, wouldn’t you think it would be healing to be real with one another. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply Heather Hart May 18, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thanks for stopping in Lindsey. You are so right. The more we get to know people, the more we realize that no one is perfect.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Valerie Murray May 18, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Thank you for sharing this. What a great message. I’m just visiting your site from the Salt and Light Link-Up for the first time and I think your blog is beautiful. God bless!

    • Reply Heather Hart May 18, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Valerie! I’m super excited about the new link up. Can’t wait to meet some great new bloggers.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Lisa May 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

    You are so right! We need, to be honest! It is very helpful to have a friend that you can be gut honest with! I am reminded in the book of Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus teaches to take the log out of your own eye before we take the speck out of someone else’s eye. If we are being honest, which we need to be, I struggle with insecurity! It shows itself in so many ways! But praise God He is revealing the lies to me and replacing it with His truth! Thank you for sharing this today! I am visiting from Saly&Light Link up! Blessings, Lisa:)

    • Reply Heather Hart May 18, 2017 at 11:01 am

      I struggle with insecurity, too, Lisa. I know God is trustworthy, I know He is in control, but I still struggle. And you’re right, it’s one of those things that shows itself in so many ways. Thankful for knowing the truth so with God’s help I can overcome when it rears it’s head.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Whitewashed ChristianityMy Profile

  • Reply Ivy May 18, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    This was so worth reading. Something I would love to say to many Christians I know, but first need to say to MYSELF.

  • Reply Shannon Geurin May 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Yes Heather! We all have struggles, but it’s how we deal with them that matters. And it’s important that we’re authentic about them!
    Shannon Geurin recently posted…Why Being Part of a Tribe is Important (S & L linkup #1)My Profile

  • Reply Rosanna@ExtraordinaryEverydayMom May 19, 2017 at 6:37 am

    God has called me to be frightfully honest when I blog. It’s not easy at all. There have been times, that I have gotten comments and emails from people trying to “fix” me. I don’t share my struggles for people to fix me, I share them because I want other women to know that they are not alone. Every story and every honest thought that I share are because I believe God has asked me to share. Anyway, I say all that to say that I really relate to this. It’s so easy to try to “fix” people. I think it’s because women have a tendency to want to make everything better. Thanks for this post! It was a good reminder.

    • Reply Heather Hart May 19, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Exactly, Rosanna! Community is so important and part of that is sharing our struggles. “Fixing” people doesn’t usually help. Most of the time we already know the truth, we just need to acknowledge the struggle and work the truth out with others by our side.
      Heather Hart recently posted…How to Trust in Jesus When Everything is Falling ApartMy Profile

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