be a light for others

I tried to write this as a tweet today but I had way too many words and way too few characters.

If today you lose your hope and you feel all alone, don’t isolate yourself.  Talk to someone.  Whether it is a friend, a leader, or a professional–anyone.  You’d be surprised how many people have been through the same things.  Even in your darkest place, having someone who will hear you, listen, and love is irreplaceable.  Embrace what you are going through and allow it to mold you.  Even on the worst days, when you want to run from your pain, there is purpose, and you will feel it eventually.

I will never stop preaching that everything happens for a reason.  It becomes more evident and more true for me every single day.  In my worst moments, I don’t feel good for anyone, and that’s okay.  I probably shouldn’t help people when my cup is empty and when my brokenness is all-consuming.

But friends, one day you will meet someone, or someone from your past will reach out to you, or a friend will say “my friend is going through such-and-such and I know that you did too, can you talk to them?”  It will just happen.  I say this so often–if you make yourself vulnerable, you might change someone’s life.  By putting yourself and your story out there, you have opened the door and given people permission to talk to you.  And I promise you that there is so much purpose in your journey and in your story, because helping just one person walk a similar path is worth it.

Our world is broken.  People are people and they make mistakes or they do terrible things.  Sometimes we’re the ones who have made those very mistakes or done those terrible things that have torn our own lives down.  Sometimes it’s someone who has done them to us.  And sometimes it’s illness, or death, or financial problems.  The list goes on.  Life is hard–for everyone.

If you are in the middle of your storm, talk to people.  If you know someone who has been through something similar, don’t be afraid to reach out to them.  It is okay to let people see you struggle.  We are not meant to do life alone.  Let other people help you carry your burden.

If you have weathered your storm, and if your story could help change people’s lives, what keeps you from sharing it?  No one is perfect, but none of us like to publicly admit that.  Whether it’s your mistake or someone else’s, we don’t like to admit to the flaws in our lives.  What would happen if you put your pride on the shelf and shared some of the struggles of your life?

Personally, I don’t like sharing what I have been through.  It gives me anxiety, it makes me relive past hurts, and sometimes I cry in front of people, which is one of my least favorite things to do.  It hurts my pride to say I’m divorced.  All of a sudden people look at me differently and judge whether or not I’m good enough.  It hurts my pride to tell people I have anxiety.  It’s a weird mental thing that people don’t really understand and I don’t want them to think I’m weak.

It is never easy for me to be vulnerable, or to share my story, because it is full of things I am not proud of.  But you know what makes that kind of beautiful?  That I have the courage to do it anyways.  I understand that I am NOT alone, but I also understand the devastating, isolating feeling of walking through a road of brokenness.  This is your journey, and your bad season, and your pain.  Even in a room full of people you can feel all alone.  If that is you, please understand that this season will pass.  The only promise in this life is that things will change.  Now is not forever.  Now will always change.

If you can’t see the end of the tunnel, reach out to someone to talk to.  And if you’ve already been through your tunnel, shine a light behind you to help someone else find their way out.  The feeling of freedom that comes at the end is breathtaking and we shouldn’t keep that to ourselves.

Until next time,

Jamie

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2 thoughts on “be a light for others

  1. I know exactly what you mean about the looks you do not want to get from people. We all have something on our personal resume we wish was not there, but the truth is it happened whether we wanted it to or not. It took me years to stop telling people that my mother died when I was a child because then I would get treated differently, or thought of differently or pitied when all I wanted was to be like everyone else. The worst was when some overtly ignorant person would imply I must have done something terrible to deserve such a fate, to not be like everyone else who still had their mother. I even remember when a priest (I was raised Catholic) told me that God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. I know he was trying to help, but at 12 years old all I thought was, if I been a weaker person my mother still be alive. And the idea that I had been punished somehow for my strength haunted me for decades. I could not rationalize it even when I became an adult. I carried the shame of that loss until a few years ago, when my anxiety turned into a depression so deep I was spending days and weeks in bed. I am a lot older than you, but it is only now that I am understanding that this is who I am, and if people choose to judge me for what has happened to me, I need to run fast and hard. I moved away a year ago and restarted my life just like you did, and as scary and alone as I sometimes feel, I know I have the choice to go to a book club, join a church, or reach out in some other way that does not isolate me as that has always been my go to place. That comfort zone has not served me well & never will. You are so much smarter and way ahead of where I was, and recognize that reaching out helps tremendously. The year you spent with your sister & brother gave you forbearance in a storm, and you are at the other side finding your way, living on your own and making a life for yourself. This is why I enjoy reading your blogs so much because you give me strength to keep going on many days when I do not want to and I thank you for that and for putting your life out there for all of us to see. Keep moving forward. You are doing great!!! And I know we only know each other though the blogging, but you can reach out to me whenever you want. 🙂

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    • I’m so sorry you’ve been through that! It is so hard, when past struggles and hurts still challenge us in the now, but God is in everything. I try to remind myself that most people’s words are from a good place. If they’re significant in my life, it’s okay to tell them when they hurt me. Otherwise I try to show everyone some grace, because they usually haven’t walked where I have and they just don’t know. And many times people are speaking from their own experiences.
      Thank you so much for your kind words! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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