Do you ever struggle with feeling like you just can’t get it together? Your routine. Your negative thought life. Your dietary habits. Your commitment to better self care. Your striving for meaningful connection. Whatever your “it” is.
Listen. I get it. Both my hands are raised.
And the feeling honestly makes me want to nap daily with my two year old, wear my pajamas until noon, and overindulge in salt, sugar, and a marathon that starts and ends on my couch. That’s what shaming and condemning thoughts do. They drive you deeper into a sinking quicksand.
Life should come with this caution label: Anytime you are stepping out boldly in any area of your life, you can bank on this one thing showing up. By stepping out boldly, I don’t mean solving global scale problems. I mean taking the reigns of your life and striving for better. Not settling for complacency in the areas you feel the urge for needed change.
What is this one thing you can bank on? It’s a sneaky little thing called discouragement. It creeps up suddenly, starts with a thought, often masks itself as our own voice, and seems so true in the moment.
You can bank on being called into the ring for a fight, only to step in and find that your opponent is actually yourself.
I wish more people would talk about it honestly.
I wish more people would open up and be transparent about the fights we face in this life. Because truth is, we all do. We all wrestle with universal struggles. Universal questions. We all wrestle with discouragement at times.
And yet most of us walk around pretending like we have it all together on our own little island where life is a tropical paradise. The water is always clear. The sun is always shining and the temperature? Perfect.
I wish more pastors would talk about wrestling with self doubt and feeling like they don’t measure up to the call. How sometimes they preach a sermon and feel like they bombed it. I wish they would talk about how even they wrestle with the crippling darkness of depression and seasons of feeling utterly abandoned by God.
I wish more writers would talk about how many times they hit delete, completely trash what they just wrote, run into a wall of writers block, or doubt the ability of their words to have an impact and want to walk away from it all. Did I mention that when I went to publish this blog, it was erased from my desktop? Awesome.
I wish more public speakers would talk about the insecurity of being before people, and how they often feel like they are going to throw up or collapse before walking on stage. Or walk off of stage afterward feeling like they rambled and possibly just presented as incompetent or unqualified.
I wish in our small groups, coffee dates, and lives on social media, we could let go of this enormous pressure to present the best parts of ourself and instead, embrace transparency. I’m not suggesting we throw wisdom out the window and hang all of our dirty laundry out to dry. No one wants to see all of that.
But you know what else no one wants to see? Your perfectly manicured life. Even if they don’t know it.
Speaking of the ills of the world, Mother Teresa stated it is because we have “forgotten that we belong to each other.”
You, my friend, are not meant to be an island.
You aren’t meant to suffer in the silence of feeling like you are the only one on your little land mass of population one. Our silence is what makes us feel alone, even when we are surrounded by people.
It feels like loss to admit that we don’t have it all together. That we are fumbling our way through and trying to figure it out. But it isn’t a loss at all. It is so much gain.
The fight against discouragement is won by our realization that we aren’t meant to go through this life alone. Through confession, our lies lose their power and volume when we break our silence and admit the truth of how we are really feeling. It is then that we realize we are not so alone.
Take heart. Take one small, yet massive brave step today. We belong to each other.