It’s hard to hurt alone. If you have ever struggled in silence, you know what I mean. It sort of feels like drowning. You are buried beneath the weight of the struggle with seemingly no escape and the worst part of it is that no one sees how much you are truly hurting. You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulder with no one to help ease the burden. Maybe you have tried to reach out for help, but no one understands what you’re experiencing. Maybe you’re so ashamed of your struggle that you sit in the bondage of fear without saying a word to anyone. I have been there.
For those of you who don’t know my story, my struggles’ names were anorexia nervosa, anxiety, and OCD. No one knew about these things for the longest time, or if they did notice them I was unaware. When I was at my worst, I would lay in my bed for hours because I felt like that was the only safe place I had. The television show Friends was my lifeline as it was the only thing that brought me joy. I would sleep all day because at least my brain would shut off for a while. I felt like my mind was attacking me and I had no idea how to fight myself. It sounds so ridiculous, right? What does fighting yourself even look like? I didn’t have an answer. I cried out to God every single day to take away my pain and it felt as if my prayers were just bouncing off the walls. I could be in a room full of people and still feel so alone. I would find myself waking up in a panic attack often. I lost sight of who I was and whose I was.
Friends, one of the greatest lies that Satan tells us is that we are alone in our battles. He wants us to hide in our brokenness and shame. What does the Lord tell us about this? Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” We are called to community with one another. The darkness cannot be dissipated if it is never brought into the light. Find someone or a few people that you trust and allow them to help bear your burdens. In my situation, this took place in the form of counseling and asking some dear friends of mine to join me in being my prayer partners. Allowing others to know that I was hurting was one of the best things I ever could have done. It’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to be ashamed of your brokenness. I found that the more I talked about it, the more I realized that other people were battling the same things I was and that they needed to talk to someone about it too.
Some of you may be sitting here thinking “Ad, you don’t understand just how bad it is” or “that’s great, but I have literally no one to talk to.” Let me point you to scripture again. Guys, the most beautiful thing about our Savior is that He has already been there and that none of our pain or struggles come as a surprise to Him. Two of my favorite verses that highlight this are Hebrews 2:18 and James 4:6-7. Hebrews 2:18 says, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” He has been there, He understands when it seems that no one else does. James 4:6-7 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore, it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” How cool is the first part of that verse? He gives us more grace, he never stops. Resist Satan and he will flee from you. Go before the Lord on bended knee, like actually get on your knees, and ask him to shield you and be near to you. There is something so incredibly powerful in assuming a posture of submission before the Lord.
I know sometimes verses aren’t the only thing someone needs to hear when they are struggling. I want to speak to the person that feels broken right now, completely shattered: it will be okay. It will get better. You have a God who loves you so much that He sent His Son to die in your place. It’s bad, I’m sure it is, and I know what it feels like to be completely disgusted with yourself. I know what it is like to not be able to tell anyone what is going on. I won’t pretend to know everything about your situation, as I would hope you wouldn’t do that to me, but I know what it’s like to feel utterly broken. None of this comes as a surprise to God and He will see you through this just like He has every single other time, He will never fail you. God may not deliver you from this as quickly as you would like Him to, but know that there is always a purpose to your pain. He does not let His people suffer in vain. Let’s get practical here. Cling to the cross and never let it go. Reach out to someone that you trust, it may be the most freeing thing you ever do. Try to focus your energy on other things or other people. Often times these inner battles draw every ounce of our focus inward and if we would just look outward, we may find some relief. Don’t use this as a means of neglecting yourself though, get the help you need.
Now speaking to everyone: show kindness to all people. You never know what someone else is going through, even if they tell you about it you can never understand the full extent of their pain. Never force someone to talk about something they aren’t ready to discuss. Be present and be patient, “remember that you do not ever look into the eyes of someone whom God does not love.” Be a light for Him, always.
You are loved, dear one. You are loved more than you could ever possibly imagine. We are in this together.
Written By: Adyson