Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.Romans 12:12-15
When your hot mess looks like a walk in the park compared to your neighbor’s, how do still grieve and walk through the pain of your own life. There is pain all around me. I see a range from stress that’s on the verge of burn out to physical sickness that has completely flipped the lives of families. I see hurt that is throbbing way more than my own, but I still feel my own aches.
There is a shame that comes over me when I want to talk about my own struggles when I see bigger issues around me. Maybe you feel the same way too. There is a push and pull struggle between coming to the table of life in honesty and slapping a smile on pain because there are bigger things going on. Then there is the guilt that if you speak up about your mess, you are complaining when you should be grateful for what you have been given.
Is there not room for every pain experienced and space for every struggle to be seen as valuable and in need of support?
I think there is room and there is also a deep need for understanding. Understanding that just because painful seasons look different from one person to another, it does not mean they should be measured differently. Pain is pain and it needs to be acknowledged and supported in prayer and any other appropriate means possible.
The past few years I have faced the death of loved ones, health issues, letting go of dreams, surgeries, and a lesser health issue. All these painful moments held different levels of pain and anxiety for me. When my grandmother died I was shattered emotionally and mentally, that led me to move home from college and face letting go of my ideas for my “college experience”. When I was diagnosed with a chest wall deformity and surgery was going to be the only option for help, I was fearful of all that would change in my life and the physical pain I would be facing.
Every experience, no matter how like your own, is different for the person currently walking through it. The individual experience is tender, our journeys are uniquely beautiful and messy while living in this world fighting against the spiritual darkness that wants to keep us in the valley isolated during our pain.
I believe there is room for all of the pain and stresses we are walking through, we are not alone in them and we are not the only ones who have faced the particular mess before us. God made a way for us, through Jesus, to experience freedom that gives us the opportunity to pat the seat next to us to comfort those who are weary. Our freedom gives us the same permission to sit down and accept comfort and help from those who are wanting to encourage us.
We make room for pain to take a seat when we are willing to offer up our own struggles no matter how small they seem. Honesty is needed where the spiritual forces want to keep us silent about our own struggles for the sake of unattainable perfection.
Jesus did not die for us, so that we could sit at Starbucks and talk about His love without actually having to walk it out. We are called to love the messy, because loving the beautiful is natural for us.
Our road is filled with messes that cause us stress and doubles us over in pain. May we make room for others to share their pain and speak up in our own struggles. It is welcome here. All of you is welcome to rest in the arms of Jesus.