"You're so brave."
The words that are intended to encourage us can come with backfire that no one can anticipate. And no one can undo the damage once its done.
"You're so brave."
"You're so strong."
"You're always so happy."
Words spoken by people who probably meant well, were trying to be kind and loving. All the while, you're stuck on the inside of yourself, white-knuckling your way through the conversation. Your cheeks hurt from forcing smiles and faking laughter. Your nails are broken and bleeding from clawing your way up a mountain of impossible circumstances; abuse, trauma, anxiety, job loss, depression, loss of a loved one, pressure at work, financial stress.
Everything is hard. Everything is overwhelming. And if you could tell those well-meaning people the truth, you would say that you don't feel very brave, or strong, or happy.
Why don't we tell the truth?
I was at a women's conference recently, and the speaker said a phrase that had me chewing on this thought for days.
"Be brave enough to be broken."
I don't know about you, but I am a perfectionist(hellooo, Type 3 on the enneagram). I am constantly concerned with how others perceive me; how my words and actions and outfits and restaurant orders make me look. I want to be in control of things that are entirely impossible to control, and it causes me such fear; such deep-seated anxiety and overwhelming stress. Some days its impossible to even get out of bed, to change clothes, to make the bed and brush my teeth. And forget eating.
We all go through something like this, yet we don't talk about this stuff. When people ask us how we're doing, we don't even think before we say, "I'm good, how are you?" We redirect the conversation off ourselves as easily as breathing. We can't talk about how broken we really are, because if we do... An untold number of horrible things could happen and we are not willing to risk it.
Here is your encouragement: we are all terribly, irrevocably broken people. We all carry the weight of what we have experienced, and we all bear the scars to prove the pain we've endured.
We are not alone.
What is the point of having a Savior if we don't need saving? What is the point of having a Healer if we aren't wounded? Or a Comforter if we never need comfort? A Guide if we never need help?
My pain is a daily, sometimes minute by minute reminder of my overwhelming need of God. I didn't get where I am today by white knuckling my way through my days. I am here, alive and healing and joy-filled, because God has refused to ever let me go. Even when I begged him to.
I hope you find a ray of golden sunlight in the midst of your impossibly dark storm. I hope today, right now or in a little while, you see a part of the Father's heart that beats for you, that cries with you, that holds your hands and embraces you as you fall apart. And I hope you invite him in, right into the middle of that mess, because that's where his best work happens. That's where healing happens. And that's where wholeness begins.
To be real and honest about your experiences is not easy. It's scary and sometimes you do get hurt. But there is such joy on the other side of your fear. And it's worth every single scary step it takes to get there.
all my love,