It is easier to smile, easier to answer with the classic “I’m tired” when someone asks how I am, easier to busy myself, easier to be involved in way too many things, easier to do all these things than to be vulnerable with not only other people and myself, but also with God.
I get caught up in guilt over my emotions if they do not line up with the person that I have created. I am Bri – always happy, always energetic, always smiling.
But what if I am not okay? What if I keep that to myself because I feel as though sharing my struggles is burdening to others? What if I hide that from God because I feel guilty that I feel anything other than gratitude?
I shamed myself into thinking that God did not want to help with my struggles, that they were trivial. To bring that to Him would be a disgrace. So instead of reaching out for help, I ran away out of shame.
Bri, it is okay not to be okay.
Those words, so simple, were whispered to me in times of silence. When I felt as if the world was crushing me with obligations and worries about the future and stress over not being good enough and more questions than answers, He spoke.
It is okay not to be okay.
The first time I said those words, admitted I was struggling with emotions I did not quite understand, in a group of women composed of close friends as well as simple acquaintances, I felt free. A burden had been lifted off my shoulders and I could stand again. These women lifted me up and encouraged me to pray honestly, transparently to God.
You mean I could admit to God that I am discontent? That I am angry? That I am anxious? That I do not understand why I feel this way?
It feels kind of silly after the fact that I worked so hard to hide this all from God, to pray prayers of happiness and thankfulness when I felt quite the opposite. He knew how I felt the whole time. He knows our hearts – hiding from Him is impossible.
By keeping this to myself, I was drowning. The moment I shared with a faith community is the moment that Jesus helped me walk on water with Him. Vulnerability is not being weak – it is being strong. And it is His strength that sustains me.
He sees all these struggles of mine and does not turn away from me. He was, and still is, telling me that Daughter, it is okay not to be okay. Lean on Me, come to Me, rest in Me., find truth in Me.
After I make it through this time of drought — and I will make it through this by His grace and power — I already know it will be a testimony of His strength I can share with others. I can remind others how Christ carries us through the weak points.
So take heart. We are not alone in struggles and wrestling with emotions and doubt is natural. Bringing struggles to God can become natural, to pray until He answers and changes our hearts. Praying honestly is a learning process but in it is great freedom.
While searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, I am learning to be fully reliant on God and God alone.
Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you because You answer me.
Hear our prayers, Lord. Hear our cries for help and respond. In the struggles, you remain faithful. In it, we turn to You. Lord, we struggle and You know that. So, let us be honest and not hide from You.
Lord, let Your strength shine in our weakness.
-Bri Emerzian // @bricheese19