When the Struggle isn't Obvious

We all struggle. Obviously all differently but sometimes the same. We share struggles but we also have our unique struggles.

I know our struggles compared to that of a starving child's in a third world country do not seem to be a struggle at all. Let's just go ahead and get that out of the way. This is true; however, we are human and struggles hurt our hearts all the same.

Struggles seem to have earned some type of taboo. I believe there is a gigantic difference between complaining about our struggles and working through our struggles. For this reason, many people choose to struggle in silence. Not opening up. Not sharing with anyone.

It's hard. I know. People won't understand. It will make us vulnerable. There must be something wrong with our relationship with the Lord if we're struggling.

I don't agree. People may not understand, but they can listen to us, pray for us, love on us. Vulnerability is tough. But there is so much freedom in it. Not having to hide anything. Being free to share our hearts and the deepest hurts we have. Even Jesus told us that we would struggle in this world. He knows our hearts. No matter how strong our relationship with the Lord, struggles can still exist.

I know this from experience. Over the last month or so, I have been struggling through a dark funk. Maybe it started after I stopped my 31 day blogging challenge. As hard as that was, it was totally worth it. I've missed it this month. But I have been struggling on the inside. For a while, I hid it away. I didn't want anyone to know I was struggling. I had just come off this super high of a blogging challenge where my faith and relationship with God had grown leaps and bounds, yet I was gonna sit here and say I'm struggling. What kind of Christian does that make me? But what I've come to see is that makes me human. That makes me real.

Once I was tired of hiding the struggle, I started reaching out. One by one, I sought out people I trust, people who love me, people who I knew would pray for me. I was so weary from begging/pleading with God to take this struggle away that I no longer had the words to pray. I knew I needed some backup.

The hardest moments were at night. Taking Melatonin was my only out. If I didn't take something to sleep, I would lie awake for hours. tossing and turning. praying and crying. begging and pleading. Just desperate for God to heal my heart from the confusion. the hurt. the longing. the loss. all of it. It was torment. It left me feeling spiritually weak and weary. I was scared to sleep without taking something to stop my brain and help me sleep. {anybody else pray for an off switch for their brain?}
Side note: But when it came time to step out from behind my door, I put my smile on. I have a job to do. I have friends who don't want to hang out with negative nellie. I know people who are suffering/struggling through far worse things.

It all goes to show that we never know what people are going through. We, as Christians, are called to love, care for, and nurture the hurting. Are we asking the right questions? Are we being intentional in our relationships that they would even trust us with their struggles? Are we praying for our friends/neighbors/acquaintances? Are we putting ourselves out there to be used by God to mend others' hearts?
Back to the story. Last night I did something I don't normally allow myself to do, I reread a conversation that has been primary source of my struggle. I love words. Writing words in a way that speaks love, truth, laughter into hearts is a joy for me. But the other side of that is words hurt me. Words slice straight through my heart and stick with me. I replay words over and over again in my brain. From rereading this conversation, I read it in a totally different light. I saw the truth of their words and not some emotional interpretation from several months ago.

In that moment God freed me from those words. He freed me from that struggle. My first reaction was to text my friend to tell her that I felt the struggle lift from my heart right then. Her response was this: I've been praying for you.

God sees our hearts. He sees our struggles. Let's shed some light {God's light} onto our struggles. Let's bring them out from behind closed doors and allow the Son shine to do its healing work. Let's invite our people in to help us. Let's experience that freedom.