A few Sundays ago I was really struggling. The week before had been awful with long days at work, unpleasant drama in some close relationships, and unforeseen and unbudgeted expenses. Think of all the things that drain your energy, and they were probably a part of my week. The weekend hadn’t brought any more rest with it either, so by Sunday morning I pulled into the church parking lot with my emotional tank on E.
I sat through the sermon, and I tried not to cry.
I didn’t tell anyone how down I felt. How hard things were. How in need of prayer I was.
Because I didn’t want anyone to know that I was a hot mess.
The venue pastor mentioned at the end of the service that prayer people were available and would love to pray with me, so I got up from my seat and went out to the café area to see my friends like nothing at all was wrong.
Then I went home, and I broke down in the privacy of my own home. Where no one could see me. Where no one could hug me. Where no one could pray for me.
Oh how I cried.
Sitting there next to my bed, half a box of Kleenex wadded up beside me on the floor, the Lord nudged my heart to text a friend and let her in. One of those friends who I had seen earlier that morning at church in fact. One of those friends to whom earlier I had pretended like everything was fine.
When she got my text, she called me. She sat on the phone with me in the middle of that sunny Sunday afternoon, taking time away from her family, to pray for me. To encourage my fearful and weary heart. To enter into my heartache with me.
And it was wonderful.
Too often I refuse to ask for prayer. I’m embarrassed that people might know I have problems. They might catch the hint that my life isn’t perfect. They might see me heavy laden with burdens that keep me up at night and carrying wounds that still aren’t healed.
The enemy of our souls would have me live my life independently of God and of my Christian community. I too easily buy into his lies that since I belong to Jesus mine should be a shining example of His perfection through a perfect life.
But His perfection can only be manifest through my weakness.
Going about my days trying to convince others—and worst of all myself—that I’ve got “this” under control, I deny myself sweet vulnerability and joy of fellowship with those who would encourage and love me. I reject His strength even though I have none of my own. I isolate myself and my armor gets weaker, not stronger.
I don’t have to go up after the sermon on Sundays to be prayed for, but I do need to seek out prayer. I don’t need to email my problems to all of my Gmail contacts, but I do need to let trusted friends into my mess.
And I do need Jesus in all of it. Because He doesn’t give me more than I can handle; He gives me what He can handle, so that out of my hands and into His, I can behold His perfection and trust Him more deeply.
It is scary.
And it is wonderful.