This week, I think we’ve all come to realize we’re not the only ones who find it hard to let people know how we’re really doing. As I shared this week in Chapter 2, sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to be. Or we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be. Other times we act like we’re fine because others expect us to be. And I love how so many of you admitted you also have days when hormones or grumpy-ness trump all good manners and anyone within ten feet knows you are not fine. In fact, what you really meant in code is that you are Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted! Today, I want to introduce you to my friend, Melanie from Only a Breath. She’s the one who created our really cute Online Study blog button (see my sidebar if you want one)! And, she’s also leading A Confident Heart online study. Today she shares soemthing she wrote on her blog. I love how she challenges us to take off the “I’m Fine” mask and be real with God, each other and especially ourselves about how we’re really doing.
… She walks the hallway, fighting back tears that threaten to well up again. It’s been a long night, filled with betrayal and disappointment. Her future is uncertain. Back at the office, she tries to maintain normalcy. When eyes met, she is faced with another routine, “How are you?” “I’m fine”, she answers, with a plastic smile that hides her pain. … Across town, a young father shakes hands with the fourth interviewer that month. “Thank you for your time.”he says. On the way home, his wife calls to see if there’ s any hope for the job they’ve been praying for…for so long. They have mouths to feed, children to raise, a car on its last miles… “It will be fine”, he assures her. As he hangs up, he hangs his head in despair. … A young, single mom cuddles her baby on the park bench. She holds her boy close, surrounded by happy couples with smiling children. She never expected to raise her child alone. The pain is sometimes too much to bear. Will she ever feel that she belongs? That she is wanted? Loved? Beautiful? “We will be fine she whispers into his soft ear, surrounded by whisps of fine, brown hair. “I’m fine…” “We’re fine…” “Doing great…” In Chapter 2, Renee invites us to take off the “I’m fine” mask. But she also acknowledges just how scary it is to expose the pain that keeps us up, haunts us like nightmares, and threatens each breath of hope. … but we’re fine. Or are we? Could we take off the mask that we, especially as Christians, live the “fairy tale”? We are certainly blessed, in every circumstance guarded by the Father, but honestly, in the deepest parts, we aren’t fine. I’m not fine. If I took off the “I’m fine” mask, would you think less of me, or would you think I’m … human? We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him. We’ve got this. By pretending we’re “fine” we tell others something must be wrong with them if they are hurting… because we certainly are not hurting. We’re fine. What if we let someone else in? What if we said, “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” Could that help them, in return, reach out to someone else when they are hurting? Do we need to grant one another permission to not be fine? Could we come broken before the Father, and cry out for His mercy and strength? He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. Even when we don’t feel it, could we still cling to His promise and claim it? He knows we’re not fine. Could the trials be the very thing that break the strings holding on our mask, allowing it to fall to the ground so we cling to Him a little tighter? The truth is… We aren’t fine… We are forgiven. We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat. We aren’t invincible… We are made to look to the only One who can heal the broken. As a sisterhood of hearts seeking our confidence in HIM, let’s take off our masks today. At least here with each other. And maybe with just one other person we meet this week. I have a feeling someone needs to see the battle wounds and scars we carry in order for them to stop pretending and seek His help too.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
Thank you so much Melanie, for reminding me again today that God’s grace is sufficient. Today I need HIS strength to be made perfect in my weakness. For the truth is… I am not fine. Well, yes I am….Frazzled, Irritated, feeling a little Neurotic and totally Exhausted. I’ll share more in the comments. But I don’t want you all worrying about me. Life is just hard sometimes at our house, just like it is at yours. I think it’s important that you know that. Just because I’m in ministry and have written a book doesn’t insulate me from trials. In fact, it almost guarantees them. BUT God’s grace can be my sufficient… if I let it be. Today’s Assignment:
- Finish reading chapter 2 and answer end your of chapter questions.
Connect in Community:
- Please share answers to a few questions of your choice from the end of Chapter 2 in our comments today. Just click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post, and do just that. (Remember if you are reading this in an email, click on the title at the top of the post to go back to my website to connect and communicate with our group. This is such a valuable part of this study. My favorite part!!)
Winners of Last Week’s Give-aways
- Song of Prayer CDs: Deena, Wendy Thrasher, Celia B (Please send your mailing address to Leah.email@example.com)
- Listening to God gift-pack: peggybythesea (Please send your mailing address to Leah.firstname.lastname@example.org)