Have you been going through some type of struggle lately, or maybe for years? Is it a "secret" struggle, one you keep only to yourself or share with a select few people? is it a "little" struggle? One you convince yourself you don't need to trouble anyone else about? Is it a "pervasive" struggle? One that you're convinced will always trouble you and nothing anyone else does will help you overcome it?
Here's why I ask: we all have struggles. Every. single. one. of. us. Whether Christian or not, male or female, young or old, you get the idea, we all have struggles. The difference is, will we gain victory over our struggle or will it gain increasing control over us?
I have become increasingly convinced that when we sit in silence and fail to admit our struggles and reach out to others WE AFFORD THE ENEMY OF OUR SOULS A FOOTHOLD INTO OUR HEARTS THAT CANNOT BE REMOVED UNTIL WE SPEAK ALOUD WHAT TROUBLES US.
Quit struggling in silence. I say this especially to my brothers and sisters in Christ, speak up! Silence allows the enemy to use the treacherous tools of fear, guilt and shame against us in ways that would not be possible if we would turn to others in the Church, the body of Christ, and speak our struggles and allow them to speak the truth of the Word over our lives.
I'll "tell" on myself.
I've been struggling with some loneliness lately. At times the sense of being alone will wash over me in a wave. Sometimes it moves beyond that and my mind begins to think "Do I have any friends? I never see anyone, never go anywhere, no one ever calls..."
If I don't catch the lies that are spinning in my head, it turns into quite a pity party that can grow out of control. But, on my own, in my own little head, its easy to miss the truth.
The truth is: if I'm in the will of God and following Christ's call on my life than He needs to be enough and I need to seek HIM more and ask Him to fill the longings of my heart. But, if something has gotten off track- maybe I'm getting consumed with my job and not taking the time to rest and enjoy relationships like I should- then after seeking wisdom from the Lord I should reach out to friends and spend some time enjoy the relationships in my life.
Unfortunately, the story in my head got left a little too long and started down the pity party route. I could have prevented that in a number of ways. I could have said something to Hubs. "I've really been feeling lonely today. I don't know what's going on but would you ray for me and spend a few extra minutes before you leave for work?" I could have said something to a number of people in my life, but I let it fester. And, in all honesty, in turned into an ugly little meltdown a week or so later. One innocent statement by a person I love set me into a tailspin. But, of course, they had no idea I was hurting because I'd never spoken the words!
STAYING SILENT WON'T MAKE IT GO AWAY OR LESSEN THE PAIN.
I got to thinking tonight about the poor in my community and wondered how many people in my church were suffering, really suffering from the economic downturn or other reasons. The truth is, I have no idea! We have a committee that handles providing help when people have needs. But, truth be told, isn't there a sort of shame associated with having financial needs, of being poor? is that Biblical? [Shame is never from God. He uses 'tactics' like remorse to cause us to see our shortfalls and act differently in the future. The enemy wants to use shame to keep us trapped in the past.]
What would happen in my church, in your church, if we refused to give into the shame and members stood and spoke of their financial needs? What would we look like to the rest of the community when church members compassionately gave to one another in need? How would the opportunities to be a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ increase? I believe it would be revolutionary. After all, isn't that what it means to be a body? To come to the aid of each other?
So, after my mini-meltdown, I contacted a few friends to ask for their prayers. I told them I'd been struggling with some loneliness and would appreciate their prayers for wisdom as to the source of it; was it a spiritual attack or a genuine need to make some lifestyle changes. And you know what? Each one of them told me they'd experienced or were in the midst of experiencing the same struggle. Those who had overcome shared how and what they did. Those in the midst shared words of truth that others had spoken over them. But, each of us were built up and encouraged.
We got to see 1 Corinthians 10:13 in action.
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. "
I could repeat this story over and over. When I shared with a Bible study group that I was being bombarded by guilt as a new mom each woman shared that they had the same experience and it WAS A COMMON TEMPTATION.
When I began to speak about my miscarriage openly, the fear that come with the loss began to melt away, and others were able to share their own stories of loss and find healing.
I urge you today, if you are weighed down under a "secret" struggle, speak. Not to groan and complain, but to speak truth and allow others to speak truth over you!!!