Could we skip the ‘Hi, how are you’s” and the “Fine, nothing new’s”, and get beneath the surface for a minute?
I know, I know, that’s so awkward, and what’s beneath the surface is “nobody’s business”, and “like, why even bother, because no one really cares” right???
Except I do.
And yeah, I know I’m one of those annoying people that likes to get all deep and personal fast, and if you’re still even reading this, you probably want to run for the hills. However, I’m hoping if I share a piece of my heart, you might feel a little safer to share a piece of yours.
Want to give it a try?
Ok. (Insert deep breath.) Here it goes:
I’ve walked through some pretty muddy brokenness in my life. A lot of it being quite recently. And while my life is certainly no horror film, there have been many, many moments where the pain I was experiencing felt overwhelming to bear. I have felt the hopelessness of seemingly impossible situations, and I have given into the darkness of despair. In times like these, loneliness can quickly overcome me. I know I need people, I know I need support, but suddenly everything takes so much energy. Especially people. And it becomes so much easier to tell myself that no one cares, or that I’m making too big of a deal about things, or that it’s better if I just keep it all in. I hide, because I’m ashamed of my mess, but in my loneliness I pray that someone will come find me. I’ve learned the hard way that nothing good comes from hiding. Nothing good comes from staying in my own bubble of pain. Healing only happens when I let others into my mess.
So here’s the thing….
I know you are suffering too.
I know you have things in your life that you can barely bring yourself to speak of.
I know there are nights you lay awake wondering when things will get better.
I don’t say this to be presumptuous, but because I know that big or small, we all have problems of some kind. There’s no denying that.
I don’t know what specifically you are going through, and I certainly don’t have all the answers to your pain, but I’m guessing that maybe you might need a friend? Someone you can lean on, and will help guide you through whatever you’re going through; someone to listen, and just be on your side. We all desperately need someone like that in our lives! But man on man, how hard it is to find that kind of person; am I right?
And frankly, if we are being honest, it’s flat out scary to let people in! The last thing we need when we feel totally overwhelmed with life is to add on one more potentially uncomfortable situation!
I get it, believe me. I know.
But like I said before, healing only happens when we let people into our mess.
So here’s what I’m thinking.
If you are someone who is lonely, hurting, or in desperate need of some hope, maybe through this crazy internet thing, I could be a small voice of encouragement to you?
While I know that the in the flesh, face to face thing is what you really need, and I’m praying that you still seek that out for yourself, I also know that sometimes it’s hard to find. I also know that, right or wrong, there is a certain safety that comes from hiding behind a screen. It’s easier to let our guard down this way. It’s easier to let people in. And if that’s the place you’re in right now, that’s ok. Sometimes, that’s all I can handle too.
The fact is no matter how deep we are in our mess, or how hopeless our situations may seem, we have to seek healing somehow. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re ready to seek the healing. You’re showing up. And that’s what matters.
Since we can’t meet in person, I was thinking we could settle for letters. Obviously handwritten on pretty vintage stationary would be ideal, (#imoldschoollikethat,) but I suppose this blog will do as well. For 31 days I will write letters just for you to encourage you through your suffering. Think of it like daily espresso shots of hope! I plan on sharing parts of my story, what I’ve learned along the way, and priceless pieces of wisdom and encouragement that I’ve received from others who were there for me when I needed to keep my head above water.
As you read my letters, you may or may not find that we have gone through some of the same things, but that’s not the point. I don’t share parts of my story to be held up as a measuring stick to compare with other people’s suffering. That just starts this terrible competition of whose life is harder, and no one ever wins. You know what I’m talking about! The whole, “Oh, she is so strong because she has been through so much. I could never handle that with so much grace. I’m such a loser, why can’t I be like her?” or the opposite, “Oh she doesn’t even know! Her life is cake compared to mine! If she just had a taste of the hell I’ve been through, then she would understand!” Seriously? Can we just not go there? Trust me, I’ve rolled those thoughts around in my mind all too many times, and it does absolutely NO GOOD. If there’s anything I’ve learned throughout my own journey, it’s that everyone’s pain is meaningful. Not just because everyone’s circumstances are unique to themselves, but because our individual pain is meaningful to God. So, no comparison allowed here.
I share parts of story because I want you to know that whatever you are going through, there is hope. I believe that we don’t have to have the same experiences to learn from and encourage one another. We just to need have love and a listening ear.
So would you join me? I would be honored to have you! I promise you don’t have to write back! You are more than welcome to just read and soak it all in. But if you are so inclined to write back, I’d be delighted to hear from you! Also, if you find one of my letters especially meaningful or helpful, or you know of someone else who would find it encouraging, I would be honored if you would share it! Please use the social media hashtag #lettersofhope to help spread the word.
Let’s discover together how to hold onto hope in the midst of our suffering.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts,” Romans 5:3-5
*This is part 1 of a series entitled 31 Letter of Hope for the Suffering. To read the other posts in this series, click here.