I was in a conversation a couple weeks ago with a friend who has such a sweet soul - like a Spirit given gift which allows people to feel peace around her.
She sat down beside me at we were exchanging pleasantries. She said something like,
"Oh, how's that thing going? . . ."
She didn't give me space to respond before saying . . .
"It's okay if it's not okay".
What a beautiful thing she did right there eh? She allowed me space to not be okay.
Though our culture (and I'm referring to Christian culture here) has taught us to put on a good face at all times in the name of being content, she gave me space to just put on my actual face.
I want to offer space for people to be both okay and not okay. I want to offer space for whatever is going on.
I was at a friends recently. I asked him how he was and he responded by saying, "can I be honest" yep. "Not good". As we chatted, I had opportunity to pray for him.
If he hadn't been honest, he wouldn't have received prayer and I wouldn't have known what to pray for him in the future. He could have put on a brave face, but why oh why should anybody need to do that?
Yes, we need to learn discretion and there are seasons where we do need to act stronger than we are, but we can't bottle our burdens in - because then they'll remain as burdens and never be lifted.
Seriously - where in scripture does it say lie to everyone and tell them that you are doing fine even if you are experiencing some of the hardest days of your life.
No! Scripture calls us to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice!
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
(Romans 12:9-18 ESV)
*Every time I read scripture and see the word "slothful", all I envision is this video.*
That video aside though, I love these verses. They speak truth to my soul.
Rejoice in hope.
Be patient in tribulation.
Be constant in prayer.
Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Weep with those who weep.
Give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
That's the life I want to live. Whether I'm okay or not, and whether you're okay or not - let's be genuine rather than fake. Let's be truthful rather than anything else. Let's be the type who can be honest with those who have given us room to be.
I want to live with much room around me to accommodate those who I'm graced to speak with.
As well as sharing them with those around us, we need to lay them down before Jesus. Because He's the only One capable of carrying them at all.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)