If we can’t talk about it with other believers then who can we talk to? If we can’t discuss it at church then where can we discuss it?
What is it? Oh, you know … the REAL problems in life. The ugly, messy, filthy, dirty stuff that we dare not share with the people we worship next to every Sunday.
Oh! Come on!!!
I remember a few years ago right before I entered the anxiety and depression chamber, I was struggling with my faith. It’s like I woke up one morning and I didn’t know if I believed anymore. I went from burning hot to lukewarm to frigid. I was going through the motions of being a believer and I could speak the language around other believers but my heart was locked.
I sat in a small group and broke down. I mean – I ugly, snot cried (you know where you don’t know if you’re wiping tears or snot at this point) at the end when we were closing in prayer. I shared with the group what was going on and do you know that they just hugged me and then gathered in the kitchen for snacks and conversation.
Say what?!?! It’s like my REAL, UGLY problem was such an inconvenience and no fun that they didn’t even pray with me. I’m not going to lie. I was a hot mess back then … but still! It’s one thing to set appropriate boundaries with a person who is emotionally dangerous but this wasn’t me playing the victim or looking for an oppressor to blame for the problems in my life. This was a broken Jesus follower questioning the whole “Jesus” thing.
We say we “do life together” but we don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever really done life with anyone except my husband. If by “do life together” we mean meet up for a coffee date every once in a while and talk about our kid’s cute quirks or how our husbands can’t load the dishwasher correctly (it’s like tetris!!!! Come on! You’re good a tetris! Ugh. But that is for another blog post), or how laundry never seems to end. Oh… and sometimes we may go as deep as sharing that we’re going to start eating better and living a healthier lifestyle. That’s cool ‘get to know you’ conversation but that is not doing life together.
Now of course you don’t hit someone with the deep rooted nasty of your heart over your first coffee date either. Nothing screams “RUN” like meeting someone for a “let’s get to know each other” date and they hammer you with the heaviness of all their burdens when you don’t even have a relationship yet. Y’all get what I’m saying though. We’re not doing life together if we’re not ever going past the surface.
I had someone reach out to me recently to share with me some ugly details in her life. This girl has her own Christian friends and attends her own spirit filled church – but she turned to me to share the ugly because she felt she couldn’t discuss it with her people. What?!!
I had another chick reach out to me to share a struggle that she has with wanting attention from other men. She’s married and loves her husband but is easily tempted by attention from other men. We dug deep into the ugliness of the situation and just got real about it. This chick has her own friends and own Christian circles but didn’t feel she could talk to them about this. I told her the funny thing (not really funny) is that they are probably dealing with something similar and feel like they can’t share.
What would happen if we got real? I’ve learned that whenever I’m being real and transparent it gives others permission to be real and transparent. All of a sudden you don’t feel alone. All of a sudden you don’t feel guilty and shameful anymore. The enemy loves for you to feel isolated and alone in your situation. If he can shut you down and isolate you, he can fill your head with ridiculous thoughts and there is no one around to expose those lies.
This is by no means throwing a punch at the church. I love the church. I actually get really annoyed when people are so shocked that the church makes mistakes. Wherever there are people – there will be mistakes. This is why we need Jesus. Duh. Moving on.
What was I saying? Oh yeah – not a knock at the church. This is for you. This is for me. Let’s be real. Let’s spend time with Jesus and pray that he guides us to opportunities that allow us to share our own experiences. Let’s pray he sends people into our lives where we can be transparent and not judged. Let’s take the risk of being judged and not liked! How about that!? Let’s be people who are not casting stones at our brothers and sisters when they are sharing the ugly. Let’s allow inconveniences to show up in our lives and not rush to the snack table for light conversation and opportunities to make new surface level BFF’s.
All I’m saying is – let’s be with Jesus and be authentic. You have no idea how that realness can release others from their prisons.
Love to you!