So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. John 15:4 TPT
Brene Brown, a researcher on shame and vulnerability, talks a lot about hard subjects. If you’ve been reading my work for any time, you may see that I do too. I spent many years in a family system that taught me to act like all was ok, so when I finally figured out that you’re as sick as your secrets, I really felt freed. Add in that for a few decades I spent time with people listening to their deepest, darkest secrets and I have found sometimes the questions I ask people feel intrusive to others who don’t normally deal with this kind of thing.
When a person in my life shares a hard truth with me, I often do some follow up because I know that there is likely more to it. This can take people by surprise and cause some discomfort. Since I’ve realized this, I’ve gotten better at not “going there” with people and following up on a limited basis. It never feels natural to me, though. It always feels like I’m reverting back to the ‘pretend all is well’ life I grew up with and that really feels inauthentic and kind of makes me sick to my stomach. I’m getting better at not delving into the depths with people who are uncomfortable with this, but please know….I am someone who can delve into those things if you want to. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions and not shocked by much, so it is a safe place to land. As I was thinking about this, I thought about one of Brene Brown’s quotes that talks about how when we numb ourselves to bad stuff, we also numb ourselves to the beauty and joy in life. That really stuck with me and since I’ve vowed to try to feel it all...even the not so comfortable emotions.
Jesus emulated some of this. We got a glimpse into His emotional life a few times, but the time I’m specifically thinking about is when He was about to face His death. He begged God to remove the potential for this if it were possible. It is recorded that He was so stressed that he sweated drops of blood. He was clearly distressed, but He talked to His heavenly Father about it and faced this terrifying time.
I guess what I’m trying to share is that it’s ok to not be ok…..if you’re not ok, please reach out to someone you trust. If you don’t have someone you trust, reach out to a professional. Pray, of course…..God is always there and He will comfort, but He gave us fellow human beings to help along this path for a reason. Reach out. I am a safe person and I am here, there are others here as well.
When asked “What must one do to please God?”, Abba Anthony, a Desert Father replied in a notable way. The first two pieces of advice were expected: Always be aware of God’s presence, and always obey God’s Word. The third statement was surprising: “Wherever you find yourself—do not easily leave."
The idea is that where you find yourself may be God-ordained! Being with others in a real relationship is hard; vulnerable, real-life friendships are often difficult because we no longer put the mask on in those types of relationships. Leaving will always look more attractive in the short run. What tenacity in relationships produces is worth more than gold. This is not to say that one should always stay in a relationship if it is not edifying, but working in a relationship (family, friend, romance, church) is worth it every time! The end result is a true GEM!
Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there , for he always tenderly cares for you.
One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 10:5: