Today, I am going to address something that has really been bugging me over the last few months in regards to struggles and emotions. This post spawned from a few things I’ve seen posted online, both directly and indirectly towards women who struggle, and it has been in the works for some time now. It’s one of those posts that has me saying “I’m about to publish something really forward, aren’t I? Should I even do this?” But you know what… I’m gonna. This is for you, my sisters.
“Why be sad? Just be thankful you’re alive.”
“Why can’t you just get over it and be grateful for what you have?”
“I don’t understand why you’re being so negative, it could be worse.”
“You think that’s bad? I know someone who–“
We were created as emotional beings, not machines. We were made to feel all sorts of emotions. Even Jesus was moved to tears and wept, and He was the son of God.
Did you know that?
Read John 11.
As Christians, we find our joy in the Lord! But it is completely unrealistic to expect us to feel happiness all the time and to not be deeply moved with grief, whether for our own circumstances or on behalf of someone else’s.
You can have joy in the Lord and gratefulness, but still experience sadness and pain in struggles. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for everything, including a time to weep. When we struggle with something, we feel. Through the trials and brokenness, we learn to lean more on God for strength, and we grow closer to Him. I thoroughly believe He allows us to go through trials as a growing process. Just read the book of James. Read Job, for crying out loud. But the thing is, we have people out there telling us that we shouldn’t ever feel emotions outside of happiness, and it’s wrong. It’s setting us up for unhealthy expectations of ourselves and each other. It’s making us afraid to speak up because someone might downplay our pain. “Just be positive! All the time!”
What are you going to tell someone who is suffering with mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety? To suck it up because at least they are alive? Such a callous comment might send them off the deep end and hurt your ministry to them. And quite frankly, we never know if someone is struggling with depression, so let me just put that out there.
Do we live in our pain forever?
Do we allow it to destroy us from the inside out?
Do we define ourselves by our ailments?
We feel it. We walk through it. We talk through it. And then we pick up and keep going. There is healing in openly saying “this sucks, anyone feel me?” because it opens the door to connect with each other.
It is okay to be honest and say “hey, I feel really bad about this”, and then find healing afterwards.
It is okay to be open about your struggles, and you should feel safe to do so. Anyone who makes you feel otherwise isn’t someone to confide in.
It is not okay for people to expect everyone to be positive all the time and to hold them to an unfair standard that they themselves don’t even live up to. People who do this just show us that they cannot be trusted with the depths of our hearts.
No, we can’t allow it to define us and we have to pick up and move forward.
Yes, it could always be worse.
It isn’t a competition, ladies.
I am appalled that there are still people who find it appropriate to downplay someone’s pain and one-up everyone with their own struggles… as if it’s okay for them to struggle, but you’re not allowed to because you don’t have it as bad as they did once. We should all be happy little hippies dancing in a field of flowers, right? Don’t feel emotions because at least you’re alive.
Ladies, you are not robots. You were made with real emotions and feelings, and sometimes we struggle. We can lean on the Lord for strength and each other for encouragement. But let me just ask that your version of “encouragement” not be one of the statements listed above. This is a safe place to come and grieve your situation, and we’ll lift each other up so you can find peace and joy again. I believe we’re all in this together. I believe that when we’re honest and open about how we feel, we find sisterhood, friendship, healing, peace, joy, and we can minister to one another deeply. If all you have to offer is “at least you’re still alive” or “it could be worse, at least you’re not—“, please take it elsewhere. Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Don’t comment.
I started this blog as a way to connect with other women who are also struggling, whether it’s through infertility, miscarriage, endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids, a crazy pregnancy, nutrition and body image, or just struggling with feeling like less of a woman. I wanted to let them know that they are not alone, and that it’s okay to feel the emotions in the struggle. Sometimes it means I have to be completely transparent with how I feel, even though it’s hard because I don’t know what kind of backlash I’ll receive from people who don’t understand.
Know that this is a safe place to mourn and grieve, and I will encourage you in a non-condescending way. I will try to help you pick up and keeping going without feeling like you’re less of a woman (or of a Christian) just because you are struggling. Your emotions are real. They’re raw. They’re meant to be felt, but you can also heal from them.
Come, let’s cry together, and we’ll pick each other back up. You are not alone, sisters. Let it go, right here in the comments. It’s safe here.