If I must boast, I would rather boast about
the things that show how weak I am.
- 2 Corinthians 11:30
Growing up, we were never encouraged to express our emotions or even talk about our trials with anyone. Doing so would have proven that we were weak and didn’t trust God enough. It would be admitting that we needed help. And it would have allowed others to see past our front door - to see things they had no business seeing. So, at 11 years old, I found myself plunging into an isolated darkness that would end up taking me over a decade and the help of others to dig myself out of. All because I believed that feeling and expressing my emotions and talking about the darkness I felt inside me, made me weak and unworthy of Jesus’ love. And that, dear readers, was one of the biggest lies I believed and it almost cost me my life - on multiple occasions.
Remember the #MeToo movement that swept our nation? Regardless of what you thought about the movement, it was widespread because: “Me too!” No matter who you are, where you live, or what you’ve done, you crave connection, community, authenticity, and to be seen - really seen. To know you’re not alone in the war that rages inside and around you. We all do! And that's because we were created for community. As a culture we spend a great deal of time doing our best to conceal our wounds. We then take it a step further by belittling, competing, and judging which divides us from God and each other while also distracting us from walking out who God created us to be.
You know how when you walk into a room with no lights on, you can’t see anything at first, but after about 30 seconds your eyes adjust and even though you can’t see fully, you can now see just enough to move through the room? Well, when we choose to bury our hurts and hide our chaos, we’re choosing to live life in the dark. We don’t want to turn the lights on because if we do, we’ll expose our pain, our sin, and our brokenness.
I learned the hard way that in order to step into the light of who God created me to be, I had to learn to be vulnerable. However, in order to be vulnerable I needed to seek the counsel of a professional (which was also not something that was encouraged in the circles I was surrounded in growing up) because I didn’t know how to be vulnerable unless I was losing my temper and exploding into a rage, which always hurt the people I loved.
Too often, some of those in the faith community turn their noses at the idea of professional therapy. God should be enough, right? God is enough! But He doesn’t want us doing life alone. Therapy and God don’t have to be separate from each other. In fact, they can work together for God’s glory and our healing.
A wonderful quote by Lisa Harper reads: “While I believe that all of life’s answers can be found in God’s Word, I’ve realized I often need the help of those wiser than me to find them and apply them to the most wounded places of my heart.”
I’ve spent most of my adult life in therapy learning to give myself permission to feel, to express, to celebrate, and to grieve. I learned to rewire my brain because the unhealthy habits I had created as a child were slowly destroying me. Anxiety, depression, and self-harm were not foreign to me. They were life threatening and I desperately needed professional help to learn healthy coping skills and begin my journey of healing. Because guess what? I’m weak. It’s a human trait actually and one of the people that taught me that is the Apostle Paul. He was a vulnerable writer that never hid how weak he was. Look what he writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9:
"Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
When we are weak, we are strong because of who Christ is in us. We shouldn’t be trying to hide that truth, but share it!
Now normally, this is where I’d begin to wrap up my devotional and end with a prayer. However, this is not a normal devotional. It just so happens to be Suicide Prevention Week and I want to share just a bit more with you.
PLEASE HEAR ME. Mental illness (disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior) knows no boundaries. It doesn’t discriminate the way we do. For those of you that battle mental illness - I wrote this devotional specifically for YOU and God led YOU to read it. It’s okay to not be okay. Your depression could be caused by some form of hardship or grief. Maybe it’s caused by a chemical imbalance in your body. Regardless, you don’t need to fit a specific criteria, check a certain box, or have a rough life to experience mental illness of any kind. None of us are exempt from it. Even Jesus expressed emotions and feelings (Matthew 26:37, Mark 14:34). Even Jesus struggled like we do (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus hurts when we hurt and weeps when we weep (John 11:33-35). He came to earth and stepped directly into our brokenness. Don’t for one second be ashamed of your mental illness. Instead, be brave enough to seek professional counsel and begin the process of healing. Suppressed emotional wounds will eventually rear their heads in the form of unhealthy behaviors that hurt everyone around you, including yourself. They always do.
Without a doubt therapy will uproot the deeply rooted wounds and lies that are planted inside you. It will be painful and it will be hard. But, you can do hard things!!
For those of you that have never struggled with any type of mental illness, that’s amazing! Allow God to use you to speak life into those of us that do struggle with it. There’s a high probability that there is an least one person in your circle of family and friends that has thought, is thinking, or will think about committing suicide and you would never know. Sometimes, they’re really good at hiding their pain and sometimes they need you to ask them how they are. Someone contemplating suicide may be hesitant to reach out and ask for help for several reasons. They may feel ashamed or believe they’re not worth saving. They may not know where to begin because mental illness clouds judgment. Whatever their reason, this is me asking you to reach out to a friend and boldly ask them how they’re doing mentally. Be a safe space and place for them to be vulnerable and truthful with you. Listen without judgment. Hug and love them. Encourage them to seek help and walk beside them through it.
If you’re sitting there reading this and you’re contemplating ending your life. I’m here to tell you...YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE SEEN, YOU ARE HEARD, and YOU ARE KNOWN by the very God who created you. He’ll never leave you. He wants you to fully live out the life He created you for on this earth. He wants you to be brave and talk to someone that loves you. The pain that comes with therapy will not break you. Lean into that pain. Lean into God. YOU WILL SURVIVE this! Now, pick up the phone and dial 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone 24/7. They will help you through this because we want you here with us!!!
Some of the verses that have helped me during tough days are: Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 29:11, John 10:10, 1 John 4:4, Psalm 34:18, and Psalm 55:22. Open your Bible and allow God’s truth to break through your darkness. Sister, one day you’re going to share your story and God is going to use it to help someone else.
Let’s be women that expose the wounds satan doesn’t want healed. Let’s be women that help each other heal. Let’s be women that step into vulnerability with the grace and confidence of our risen King.
1. What are 3 ways you can be more vulnerable with a close friend or family member?
2. Who are 3 people you can reach out to right now to ask how they’re doing mentally?
Father God, thank You for stepping into my mess and loving me right where I am. Please help me to lean into You and my pain. Remind me of Your truths and give me Your supernatural strength and guidance to seek the medical help I need or the strength to help someone I love. In Your sovereign name, Amen.
If you or a friend are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at this number: 1-800-273-8255 or click HERE for the Crisis Text Line.
If you would like more information about counseling services, check out our Counseling Page HERE.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD? CLICK HERE