Let’s Be Real (we all struggle with something)
I was torn up online. I was hurt by people I didn’t know. My attackers called themselves Christians, and were chastising my lack of faith.
But it wasn’t a lack of faith at all. It was an honest statement. Probably one all too many of us could have related to if we were honest.
That’s the key though.
We live in a culture that doesn’t promote honesty. If you have a problem, it should be kept secret. You should quietly overcome it and then shout your awesomeness. While you’re in the midst of a struggle though? Well, we don’t talk about that.
Why don’t we?
Why don’t we open our arms wide and love each other?Why don’t we open our arms wide and love each other? Click To Tweet
Jesus never once said, “let the perfect come to me.”
He said, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Luke 5:31 NIV)
He came to save sinners, so why should ashamed to admit that’s us?
Why do we shame others when they acknowledge that they are who God says we all are?
Imperfect, sinful, failures, in need of a Savior.
We all struggle with doubts some times. We all believe things that we know are not true. About ourselves. About God. About others.
So why do we attack others when they share theirs?
I think part of it is unintentional (and I’m guilty of this too). Because we all have different doubts and struggles, we don’t take the time to empathize with them. Instead, we jump right in and let them know why their doubts or struggles are wrong or unnecessary. We don’t have them, why should they? Or we go in guns blazing to rescue them by telling them their doubts and struggles aren’t valid.
Think about that for a moment.
When we rush in to tell someone what God’s Word says, and why what they are struggling with isn’t true, what we are really doing is disregarding something that is very real to them. Real enough that they opened up to us about it. Whether that was online or off, our response matters.
When someone opens up, they don’t need an education, chances are they know the truth, what they need is someone to love them where they are. To acknowledge that they are going through a real struggle, whether that’s spiritually, physically, or emotionally. Life happens and life is hard. It’s real.
Our struggles are real, even when we know our Bibles inside and out. Even when we know God is good, and trustworthy, and in control. And sometimes we just need to talk out our fears, our struggles, or our doubts. We need to voice them to overcome them. Instead of ignoring them or dismissing them, we need to attack them head on, and sometimes we need help with that. We can’t defeat all of our demons on our own, we need God fighting on our side, and sometimes, we need God’s people fighting with us.Sometimes we just need to talk out our fears, our struggles, or our doubts. We need to voice them to overcome them. Click To Tweet
It’s Okay To Be Real
James 5:16 says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV). We need to come together and unite against our struggles, not shame them into a silent internal torment.
When Paul was writing about the Armor of God in Ephesians 6, he asked that the believers would pray for him to be able to declare God’s Word boldly; fearlessly. Why would he ask that if he didn’t struggle with fear? He was not afraid to ask for prayers from the people he was shepherding. He didn’t try to build up the picture they held of him, but honestly asked for prayers.
That’s where I want to be. I want to be someone that other women know they can trust. Someone who doesn’t dismiss fears or struggles. Someone who will pray for God to give others strength no matter what they are going through. And I want to be someone who isn’t afraid to admit that I need help, too. Because I do.
I do struggle with so many things. From anxiety to depression. From body image to housekeeping. Insecurity to pride. My struggles run the gauntlet and I struggle every single day in probably a million different ways.
So today, I challenge you, the next time someone confesses a struggle to you, instead of dismissing them or attacking them, embrace them. Let them know that you struggle, too. That it’s okay to be real. Because only when we are honest about what we are going through, can we help one another get through it. Don’t make them journey alone.
Let’s live out the gospel of Jesus and apply it to real life.
Let’s Be Real
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Have you ever been attacked for sharing a struggle, or afraid to reach out for help because you were afraid of being judged? If you feel comfortable, share something you struggle with with us.
The struggle I was attacked for? Truth be told, it’s happened more than once. This time, I admitted that I think other people’s prayers are more effective than my own. I know it’s not true, but it’s still something a struggle with. Another time I shared something with a close friend and her rejection still stings. So now that I’m facing a new struggle, it’s hard to reach out and bridge the gap. So I guess that’s a struggle in and of itself.Let's live out the gospel of Jesus and apply it to real life. Click To Tweet
If you liked this blog post, you’ll also love our anthology, Candid Conversations. While each story shares a unique perspective, the prevailing theme is that while we all struggle, there is hope to be found in Jesus. Get your copy from Amazon or click here to learn more.
Thank you for always being honest. A lot of times when I read what you write, I think “me too”. And that gives me comfort, that I am not alone, and that I am not weird.
One struggle for me is, why should I keep writing if there are so many other writers/bloggers out there? Why put my life on display all over the internet? But then some random person will text or email me with how my writing helped them, and I am reminded that it doesn’t matter how many writers or bloggers there are, it is about obedience who where God leads.
Yes! I have often wondered why God calls so many people to do the same thing, but then I’m reminded that we are all unique and have different spheres of influence.
Thanks for stopping in today, Jessica. And for your encouragement!
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Heather, I am so glad you have chosen the hard path of taking the mask off and allowing God to use you to encourage women, and point them to Jesus as you share your struggles and your own journey of faith. I think a lot of times we who are blessed to be part of the Candidly Christian community forget that the comments that show up here and the positive environment we are privileged to enjoy comes as a direct result of you being the filter through which the negative is strained out. Thank you, Heather, for doing the dirty work! I know my prayers are echoed by many others here that God would build you up, heal any brokenheartedness and put a guard over your heart to protect you from being injured by the negative comments that will inevitably come through here. God bless your ministry, and your amazing heart to point others to Jesus!
Thanks, Jaime! Galatians 1:10 is one of my favorite scriptures. It’s not always easy to live out, but it’s so powerful.
It’s one of my favorites too, mostly because I desperately need the reminder! SO hard for me.
People can be hurtful. We know we should not try to win the favor of man, but it really hurts when others are critical, especially when they are people of faith. There’s nothing wrong with honesty, but I believe it should be spoken in love. I feel the same way Jessica feels. So many bloggers, writer, what’s the use? Hard to stay focused on the mission: obedience.
Obedience is so important, Sheila! I was just thinking about that the other day. We always have a choice to obey or disobey. The only thing that keeps us on the right track is our love for Jesus.
Well stated Heather. May we come alongside and show a love like Jesus does. Just last year I made it a point to memorize the fruit of the Spirit passage. The reason: I want it to be first in my mind in every circumstance. Being honest is not a bad thing, but I feel it is unexpected in this world of political correctness and fake news. God asks us to be truthful. When we share our truth, may it be in love and not coated in pride or shame. We are God’s children and He wants us to be a light for Him. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post. I appreciate the insights you share here. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and God bless.
“May we come alongside and show a love like Jesus does.” <<-- Yes and amen! Thanks for stopping by, Horace.
Love this! It can be so hard to go beyond the surface with others because it is so often looked down upon! Thank you for this honest and challenging call!
Thanks, Nicole! Honesty is hard, but it’s so worth it!
Ugh, it really bothers me when Christians judge each other. Slinging mud and hurtful criticisms have nothing to do with following Jesus. We are called to confess to each other, extend forgiveness, and encourage each other on this journey. ❤ I’m all about keeping it real too!
Thanks, Laura. I think it’s even worse when Christians are hateful because we know the call of Christ. But that’s just another way we fall perfect and we have to extend grace even when the struggle is with judgementalism. Thanks for keeping it real, I appreciate you!
Thanks for this, Heather. I think a lot of us guard ourselves because we have no idea how people are going to react to our struggles. I know I tend to keep a lot of things to myself because I think people have so many things going on in their own lives that they really don’t need or want to hear my problems.
Debbie! I can so relate to that! I often think people are too busy for me, and I tend to forget that true relationships are built through sharing life.
I read something a pastor wrote last week and it goes a little something like this: Christians fail just like everyone else. We’re not necessarily “good” all the time, but we’re good and covering it up. And it shouldn’t be that way. If you can’t hide from God, why do we feel it’s necessary to hide from people?
Exactly, Marcee. When we open up about our struggles, it points others to the God who already knows it all.
I think God just wants us to keep it real with Him and with others
I think you’re exactly right, Andrea. Thanks for stopping in.
What a great post.. full of encouragement, grace, and honesty. Life is hard, messy, and brutal… let’s embrace each other in love, prayer, and encouragement.
I”m glad you mentioned James 5:16, that’s the exact verse I was thinking of as reading. Being transparent and honest in church has sadly become so uncommon.
It really has, Aleida, and it is sad.
If you share with someone that you have agony over someone else’s sin, some people flippantly say that we should always have joy, so we are sinning when we experience grief. But even Jesus experienced grief over other people’s sin, and Job wept about the destruction caused by the enemy. we are allowed to feel.
I live in an area where showing your feelings makes you weak. If you agonize over someone else’s sins or heartaches it makes people uncomfortable and awkward. It’s touchy for sure.
This really reminds me of Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This is so important for us all to remember. Thank you once again for your insight and transparency. <3
Amen! Thanks for stopping in, Tiffany.
I know that our society places a priority on perfection. We’ve allowed the wrong definition of that word to seep into our lives. We forget that real people have challenges, there is never a finished with sin and human frailty on this side of heaven. I do know the sting of people judging based on words or a single moment though. It really hurts, but I TRY to look at it this way. 1) My real brokenness is a better bridge to Christ than my pretend perfection ever was. 2) My job is to represent running the race set before me, working out my own salvation with fear and trembling, the best I know how to do. If others cannot see value in what I said or did, that may be more their problem than mine. I take a moment to evaluate if I could have been clearer, but mostly just keep doing me. God will draw those who want to be real with me. Fake doesn’t entertain me at all.
Yes! A missionary friend once told me that when she had came back to the states her family was messed up. But God had dealt with them and worked in their hearts, so at that point if someone had a problem with them it was between them and God and really had nothing to do with her. Her heart was right before God. It was so inspiring to see her faith and peace. And it left a lasting impact about God being the only true judge.
Sharing deeply with others is where we often times let God’s light shine through us the most. Yes, there might be those who criticize or reject what were saying as doubting or not having enough faith. But God never does that. In the end, he is often glorified in our honesty.
Yes! He is glorified in our honesty.
There does seem to be a price for being honest… and we learn to be quiet about struggles… and we all suffer from not learning from one another and helping others. Sad, but it happens. We all need a bit of encouragement at times… and we all need to be ready and willing to give such to others. Thank you for the post.
Thanks for stopping in, Joy!
Thanks for sharing this. I have found that the ones I am closest to are the ones I know their real issues. The ones who aren’t perfect and talk about their flaws and struggles. In a society that strives off super mom, perfectionism, and perfect images and bodies that are clearly an illusion, wouldn’t you think it would be healing to be real with one another. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for stopping in Lindsey. You are so right. The more we get to know people, the more we realize that no one is perfect.
Thank you for sharing this. What a great message. I’m just visiting your site from the Salt and Light Link-Up for the first time and I think your blog is beautiful. God bless!
Thanks Valerie! I’m super excited about the new link up. Can’t wait to meet some great new bloggers.
You are so right! We need, to be honest! It is very helpful to have a friend that you can be gut honest with! I am reminded in the book of Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus teaches to take the log out of your own eye before we take the speck out of someone else’s eye. If we are being honest, which we need to be, I struggle with insecurity! It shows itself in so many ways! But praise God He is revealing the lies to me and replacing it with His truth! Thank you for sharing this today! I am visiting from Saly&Light Link up! Blessings, Lisa:)
I struggle with insecurity, too, Lisa. I know God is trustworthy, I know He is in control, but I still struggle. And you’re right, it’s one of those things that shows itself in so many ways. Thankful for knowing the truth so with God’s help I can overcome when it rears it’s head.
This was so worth reading. Something I would love to say to many Christians I know, but first need to say to MYSELF.
Yes! I have to remember that this is first a lesson for myself and change starts in my heart.
Yes Heather! We all have struggles, but it’s how we deal with them that matters. And it’s important that we’re authentic about them!
Authenticity is important, Shannon. Thanks for stopping in.
God has called me to be frightfully honest when I blog. It’s not easy at all. There have been times, that I have gotten comments and emails from people trying to “fix” me. I don’t share my struggles for people to fix me, I share them because I want other women to know that they are not alone. Every story and every honest thought that I share are because I believe God has asked me to share. Anyway, I say all that to say that I really relate to this. It’s so easy to try to “fix” people. I think it’s because women have a tendency to want to make everything better. Thanks for this post! It was a good reminder.
Exactly, Rosanna! Community is so important and part of that is sharing our struggles. “Fixing” people doesn’t usually help. Most of the time we already know the truth, we just need to acknowledge the struggle and work the truth out with others by our side.
Wow, I know what you mean. In a few circumstances I feel that I was the one that was impatient with my best friend as she deals with many things including depression and anxiety. I fear I may have accidentally discouraged her in some ways. She comes to me for prayer and is always open to prayer, but I worry that my past frustrations have mislead her or put her off. I am not proud to admit that. Maybe it is just a worry and isn’t true at all! But thank you for being candid. It must be awful to have people from a community you are a part of come down harshly on you for being honest and open. Prayers to you friend, you are doing great things with your blog. Keep up the great work!
Thanks, Rachel. I am guilty of overthinking situations, too. Worrying about what others think about a comment I made. That they probably didn’t give another thought about. Thanks for your encouragement!
Hi, and thanks for the encouraging words. I struggle with being gay. Yes I know what God says about it and living the homosexual life style. I repent everyday as much as needed. I’m so afraid of telling the church that I use to go to. Those folk in there think that they all got it together. It’s hard at times so I’m glad I’m telling you this.
Hi Lavell, you are definitly not alone in your struggle. We had a guest blogger back in May that shared about her own struggles with same-sex attraction, and I have talked to many other Christians who struggle with this. And God knows. He knows your struggle and your pain, and He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Don’t ever let Satan convince you otherwise. If you have accepted Jesus as your savior, you are covered in His blood. We all struggle with something, and there is no condemnation for those of us who belong to Jesus (Romans 8:1). Keep on looking to Jesus, repenting when you need to, and resting in His grace.
P.S. If you are interested in reading Ginny’s post, you can find it here: https://candidlychristian.com/same-sex-attraction/
I love your point that we need to be real. When we are real, even though it opens us up with vulnerability, it also allows us to connect and encourage others who are also struggling! Thanks for the encouragement.