Do We Say We’re Fine When We’re Not?

“I say, ‘I’m fine, yeah, I’m fine,
oh, I’m fine, hey, I’m fine’

But I’m not, I’m broken”
(“Truth Be Told” by Matthew West)

When someone asks you how you are, do you say you’re fine when you’re not? I do. It just pops out like an auto response.

Do you ever wonder why we do that?

After hearing a song by Matthew West, I’ve been trying to dig deeper within myself.

As a pastor’s son, Matthew West grew up feeling he needed to put on an outward appearance that he’s fine. Even when he felt broken inside. Even when things felt out of control.

He learned there were two lies in his life:

  1. We’re supposed to have it all together, so we should put on a smile.
  2. Everybody’s life is perfect except ours, so we should keep our messes, wounds, and secrets safe within us behind closed doors.

As I examine my own heart, I know I often hide behind a smile. Even though I’m aching inside. I’m so tired of following what was deeply rooted in me as a child from church and home that I should keep messes, wounds, and secrets buried in my heart.

Probably the biggest reason I often feel silenced is fear of being judged, rejected, and slandered again. When I told the truth about a minister who abused me, I was not believed in the church and many people heaped me with guilt and shame. When I told who I thought would be lifetime friends the truth, they rejected my truth and abandoned me. Bible verses have been taken out of context and flung at me to tell me how sinful I am.

Another big reason is that I feel my truth doesn’t matter, because I don’t matter. In the church we grew up in, children were not valued as Jesus values them. And because of some abuse at home, too, I felt like I didn’t matter and I was never good enough. God has helped me to learn this is a lie, but it still rears up at unexpected moments when I’m feeling vulnerable.

In his song, Matthew voices that some churches are lacking in welcoming and supporting the hurting. There may be signs to come as we are, but if we lived like that was true, the pews would be crowded.

Jesus wants churches to be places of refuge and safety, not places where we hide our messes and wounds out of fear of judgment and rejection. Not places where hurting people’s burdens are made heavier with shame and guilt.

“Stoop down and reach out
to those who are oppressed.
Share their burdens,
and so complete Christ’s law.”
Galatians 6:2 MSG

Not only in churches, but in various social circles, we’re often afraid to let our truth be told. What will people think? Will they judge me? Will I be hurt again?

The reality is not everyone wants to hear our messes or wounds. Not everyone will care or understand. Not everyone will believe or support us. But that doesn’t make our stories any less true or important.

It has often been my comfort over the years that there is One who already knows the deepest secrets, messes, and wounds of our hearts. He is a faithful Friend, a compassionate Savior, and a caring Supporter who will always understand. There is no failure, no fall, no sin, no deep wound that will ever turn Him away or keep Him from loving us.

“But everyone my Father has given to Me,
they will come. And all who come to Me,
I will embrace and will never turn them away.”
John 6:37 TPT

Are you feeling broken, but don’t dare to share your story? When we leave it behind closed doors, it subconsciously festers and harms ourselves and others. It may not be easy, especially when we meet with resistance and rejection, but through Christ and His strength, we can learn to take the risk anyway. And even if our stories aren’t received by all, there just may be someone who needs to hear it and will feel less alone and more understood.

Truth Be Told
by Matthew West

Hope and Strength When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

Negative voices piercing me, backing me into a corner, knocking the wind out of my sails. Satan worked furiously this summer to bring to my remembrance voices and actions from past abuse, slander, and hurts that tell me I’m not enough and I will never be enough.

It’s hard to keep fighting sometimes, isn’t it? To not believe lies that are so rooted in us? To reach for and cling to our identity in Christ Jesus who tells us we will always be enough in Him?

Also this summer, I visited a new pulmonologist, and I was so thrilled that I didn’t get a bronchial infection for two months. Thank You, God! Surely He must be blessing the new treatment…

Bang! Those hopes deflated like a popped balloon. A chronic bronchitis bout hit me extra hard throughout August. Thrown into a tizzy again, I questioned God’s wisdom… Why, God? 

It can be so hard to surrender our plans into His, can’t it?

I began to feel even more useless, and I fell headlong into the comparison trap. I was so envious of other people’s energy and how much God uses them. Defeated and drained of energy, physically and emotionally, it was hard to fight that “poor me” syndrome.

God so often rescues me from my selfishness and despondency. I’m baffled at His endless patience with me.

A blogging friend shared a new book that was exactly what God knew I needed. The first devotion was headed by a verse that God has often used to give me strength to refute those condemning lies. A verse I’ve been forgetting to take to heart lately…

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

As I read on, the second devotion sent a soothing balm to my troubled soul as I read how sickness and exhaustion never diminishes the work of God in our lives. Each of us has an inherent value as an image-bearer of God Himself. (Always Enough, Never Too Much: 100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and Start Living Wild and Free)

You, too, have inherent value, deeply rooted in our Creator who fashioned us after His own image. No matter what you’re going through or what anyone says of you, God never condemns you. If negative thoughts are condemning us, it’s not coming from our Savior who has borne all condemnation for us so we can be set free.

Rather than condemning us, He opens His arms wide and invites us into His cleansing grace when we mess up or fail, His strength when we are weak and helpless, and His healing love when we are broken and afraid.

No, we will never be enough in ourselves, will we? We so desperately need Jesus to fill our emptiness. We need Him to breathe strength, hope, and life into our souls each and every moment.

“For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

The Lord willing, I will continue to post every Tuesday. However, I am still wrestling with balance. I need to put less pressure on myself here. If there are other needs pressing me or overwhelming me, whether in my family, around me, or otherwise, I need to let go and tell myself it’s ok if I post something shorter or don’t post at all.

But please know that whether or not I post, you’re always welcome to share your heart in the comments of any blog post or through my email. I would love to pray for you and with you. Above all, remember God is available 24/7. There is no better place for us to go with our hurts than to Him and His loving and compassionate heart. May He fill you with His love and hope!

How was your summer?
Did deep hurts sometimes feel like they would consume you?
Is there a Bible verse/promise that fills you with hope?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!

“YOU SAY”
by Lauren Daigle

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe…”

Our Intercessor, Our Friend

Intercessor

Have you ever been wrongfully accused? Slandered? Betrayed by your friends?

I really hope you haven’t experienced this. But if you have… It hurts more deeply than words can express, doesn’t it?

My heart still cringes when I think of the lies some people have believed and spread about me, even though it was years ago. Even years later, many refuse to believe the truth. What hurts even deeper is that friends believed the lies. Friends who should have supported me left me. My heart still aches. I thought they were forever friends. Why wouldn’t they believe me?

Job knew this heartache. Imagine how ripped out his heart must have felt as his friends said the afflictions that were being heaped on him were because of certain sins he must have committed. Being judged like that had to be more devastating than the painful sores on his body. But God knew the truth.

Job appealed to the One who knew. He had an Intercessor, a Friend who went to bat for him. A Friend who would never condemn him. A Friend and Savior who not only died for him, but was raised to life for him. An Advocate who was sitting at God’s right hand, pleading for him.

“There must be Someone in heaven who knows the truth about me,
in highest heaven, some Attorney who can clear my name—
My Champion, my Friend,
while I’m weeping my eyes out before God.
I appeal to the One who represents mortals before God
as a neighbor stands up for a neighbor.”
Job 16:19-21 The Message

“Who then will condemn us? No one—
for Christ Jesus died for us
and was raised to life for us,
and He is sitting in the place of honor
at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Romans 8:34 NLT

We have such a Friend, too. Sitting at the right hand of God, ruling there with power. Always ready 24/7 to hear our cries and our pleas. He died for us, He lives for us, and now He pleads on our behalf. He is a faithful Intercessor, always concerned about us, never forgetful of us.

And while Jesus Christ intercedes for us in heaven, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in our hearts. We are so weak in ourselves, not knowing what prayer to offer or how to offer it. And sometimes we can’t pray or don’t know how to word what pains us inside. But the Spirit within us knows what we need much more than we do ourselves. He knows, feels, and cares about those deepest pains in our hearts that maybe nobody else knows. He understands all the feelings we can’t even put in words. He sends up our needs with groaning too deep for words. He pleads for us and desires to comfort us through whatever we must go through. He hushes our fears and soothes our anxieties. He regenerates, renews, and restores us. He frees us and empowers us to move forward. And He works in us to melt our wills into the will of God.

“In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should,
but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time]
intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.”
Romans 8:26 AMP

Job had a Friend and Intercessor and so do we. One who knows better than anyone what betrayal and slander feel like. No, we will not always get what we want. Betrayals will not always be resolved and healed. Slander seeds may still drift around and sprout. The lies about us may not get erased. But this one thing we know. We have a Friend that will never, ever betray us, One who always knows the truth and who will always go to bat for us.

“Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place”
by Cece Winans

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Our Three-in-One God,
Please come and fill our hearts.

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers