Confession: I hate crying. Maybe, more correctly I should say, I hate other people seeing me cry. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if the waterworks weren’t activated by something as simple as a sappy commercial for cotton on tv!
I didn’t used to be this way but at some point along this adventure I became an excessively sentimental, emotional (alright, I will just say it) wreck. Not everyday, but I have my moments.
Me: Watching a YouTube video that has tripped the tear trigger, one of my family members walks in and I am furiously wiping at my face. Nothing to see here, keep moving, mom is totally fine…
Me: Worshiping in church and so overcome that my eyes are welling up. Are you kidding me?! Get a grip woman, not here, not now…
Me: Speaking to a group of women at the end of May, the one thing I asked my husband to pray for as I walked out the door that morning was – no tears! Pray that I can get through this without crying. (Now, truth be told part of what I was sharing was an extremely moving reading about the burden of the blessing that motherhood is and I had about 99% of the women there in tears.) By the way – I failed…I was “misting” before I ever got up to speak as a group of young ladies got up to sing a song about moms. (Taylor Swift’s, The Best Day – I dare you to try to get through it without tears!)
So why does this trait, as I see it in myself, bother me so much? That is like opening Pandora’s box. I don’t think anything less of others who cry in public. (Even in the public of your own living room.) Most likely if I see you crying I will be fighting joining in. If I were to make an educated guess I would say this has something to do with control. It doesn’t take a huge leap of faith arrive at this conclusion when the starting point is control-freak. Alright, I think that is enough couch time for today. The point I wanted to make in this is something that I struggle with and I really need you to hear…
It’s ok not to be ok.
Joyce Meyer said, “We desperately want people to believe we are okay…to think we’ve got it together. But it’s okay to not be okay.”
Everybody loves a story of someone who has overcome obstacles, trials, tragedy. But too often we hit the highlights, skip the dark spots because nobody wants to tell that story. We often hear stories like this one…Once upon a time something bad happened but our hero wasn’t fazed. Our superhero, with their cape flapping in the wind, squashed the enemy without any problem and they lived happily ever after without suffering any sleepless nights or ever having shed a tear.
Not me, I want an authentic story. I want to know that someone else struggles with the same things that I do. Or if not the same things, at least I want to know that you struggle too. But we are all so good at pretending! We have been spoon fed the line that if we are true followers of Christ, and we struggle, we cannot actually admit it. (Gasp!) Please don’t buy into this!
Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church, recently said this.
…an issue that continues to persist among us who confess Christ as Lord are seasons in which we walk in the desert, seasons in which we struggle with doubt, seasons in which we are barely hanging in there. If we are not careful, we will pretend that’s not where we are and, instead, play the part of “Here’s where I raise my hands, and here’s where I take notes…”
In essence, we begin to pretend we’re not where we are. Hear me: that’s dumb. Why? Your conversation with other believers, your conversations in your groups, your conversations with those who are in your life pursuing Jesus Christ with you should be right around this subject: “It’s dry. I’m tired. I’m struggling with doubt. I don’t get this. I’m losing faith.” Why would you pretend that’s not where you are? I love you, but that’s idiotic.
So we confess, “I’m in the desert, and I don’t know how much longer I can survive out here,” and the people of God encourage and pray and they check in and they walk alongside. This is a practice we never get out of.
Also, I don’t know that you’ll ever outgrow seasons of being in the desert. God accomplishes profound things in the dry times. What we must learn to exercise week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out, whether obedience feels like breathing air or obedience feels like a full-out assault on our hopes and dreams, is an openness and authenticity to say, “I’m in trouble. I’m jammed up. I’m frustrated. I’m angry. I’m lonely. I’ve been reading my Bible. I can’t remember the last time the Lord spoke to me through his Word. I’m praying. I don’t feel like anybody is listening to me but the cat,and I need to repent for owning a cat.” (I personally apologize to any cat owners…)
If the Lord has put you in that season, you will be in that season as long as he wants you in the season. My own experience is there have been multiple times I’ve walked through that season where I’m like, “Okay, I get it,” and the Lord has gone, ‘You ain’t got half of it yet, brother.’ We need to learn to trust the Lord in that while simultaneously being honest that that’s where we are. God hasn’t asked you to be Superman or Wonder Woman.
So, it’s ok not to be ok. It’s not okay to stay there. If you are struggling, be honest, tell someone.
So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do so we think that you’re good
And you can’t believe it’s not enough
All the walls you built up are just glass on the outside
This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark,
It’s ok…If you’re all busted up, welcome to the family. Oh, you’re dysfunctional? Us too! Come on in. You’re one of the crowd.