The holiday season. Holy days. Days of spending time thinking of holy things. eh not so much.
We live in a world of great expectations and judgement. Don't believe me? Next time someone asks, "How are you doing? Respond honestly - I hurt. I'm alone. I'm scared. I think I want to die. No one cares.
Don't answer - Keeping busy. Doing good. Same ol, same ol.
And watch the response. Watch kindly, and watch prayerfully.
Now try this. Ask someone how they are, and don't accept a pat answer. Gently, and in love, say, "No, really how are you doing? How is your heart, your faith, your hope, your family?"
Then listen. Then pray. And be there fully. See the hurt in their heart. See the joy too. The hope.
In our busy world we forget that we are not HUMAN DOINGS but we are HUMAN BEINGS.
And the being is what Jesus cares about. And what we need to care about.
The importance of our story is vital. The value of our scars incalculable. The power of prayer and love enormous. And on the flip side - our silence is costly. Our hiding away in the busy is brutal. Our reliance on self so destructive.
So many people feel utterly alone. And we let them! They feel their pain in isolation because we fear sharing our story. We fear speaking the hurt. We fear opening up and saying, I know pain like this. You are not alone.
The monsters lurk behind the glitter of the holiday season. We can out them. Drag them into the light. We can, and should. Drag them out and name them. Pull their teeth. Say what they are - lies. Shadows.
We need to drop the bootstraps, you can't use them to pull yourself up. We need to set aside the grindstone, it only grinds us down. We need to embrace community. We need to wipe away tears. We need to clean wounds. We need to acknowledge scars.
There are a lot of emotional traps during the holidays for me. The illusion of the perfect family. The reality of being unwanted. And the utter stress of wanting to be included and feeling like I should stay silent, invisible. I fall into them less easily than I used to. I dropped the bootstraps. And the expectations that somehow I was responsible for everyone's happiness (or for their angst).
I'm not responsible for them. Or you. But for me. And knowing that changes everything! When I rest on Jesus. When I hold them up in prayer, and I surrender expectations to Him - I find peace. When I embrace healthy community I am no longer as alone.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35-35
Find that community. Be that community. Reach out. Be ready for tears instead of false joy. Be ready for dirty instead of surface clean. Be ready for open hearts instead of fictional busy. Be ready for something amazing.
Linking up with the #VoiceBloggers as we work our way through When A Woman Finds Her Voice book study with Jo Ann Fore. Join us, won't you? Link up your posts, share in the comments here and at Jo Ann's page. And read posts. Leave love.