It’s interesting the ways in which we’ll try to downplay a not-great aspect of a day or week or season of life. “It could have been worse,” we’ll often say as if telling ourselves we actually don’t have anything to complain about. “At least I’m not having to …” is another common start to a phrase finished with a mention of the most recent tragedy brought to our attention within the global village. Again, we’re chiding ourselves for daring to complain about our in-comparison petty problems. And still other times, we won’t talk about the hard things we’re going through at all. Sometimes it’s not the time or the place, or we want to avoid opening the door for gossip. And other times still we can barely acknowledge what we’re struggling with to ourselves in private, much less to another person.
Our culture, our society –and sometimes even our churches – prides strength and resilience, the absence of weakness and frailty. Do better, be better; don’t let anyone see you struggle or sweat. Show how strong your faith is! Put on a smile and a positive attitude – filter your life until it glows. It wearisome, really, should you ardently pursue such a way of living for too long a time.
Here’s the thing: I’m learning there is a great strength to be found in admitting weaknesses, limitations – even our struggles. Not with everyone, mind, or on a 24/7 cycle. No, as with all things in life there is a time and a place with the right people to be vulnerable and to seek help. But to try to live one’s life in a such a way that no one is privy to your fears or doubts or battles? It has to be hard. It must be lonely. And I don’t think it’s God’s intent for us to live life that way, either.
“Come to Me, all who are weary …” Jesus once said while He kicked up the dust of this Earth. The phrase alludes to surrender, to a confession of one’s tiredness, maybe to a bruised heart or a worn-out soul. Because how can we come to Jesus for His proffered rest without first being brave enough – or perhaps tired enough of being tired – to admit we don’t have it all together, all sorted out and under control? What if that’s a way to put our faith into action, the admitting we’re lacking and we need One greater than us to help us carry on, to pick us up again, to be our ever-present help in times of trouble?
It’s something to think about, to try to move toward at any rate. (For I certainly am still learning this all for myself, too.)