I know sometimes it might seem like I have it all together; I have it all figured out. That is not the case. I share stories of my journey in hopes that my stories may help others walking parallel paths. But I most certainly don’t have life, faith, confidence, kindness or love all figured out. I am never perfectly living in any of them.
Take tonight for example. Today I was trying to help someone close to me, and in the process they hurt me. It wasn’t intentional, but it stung. So I do what I often do when I’m hurt – I retreated. I stepped away from the situation to try to get some distance and perspective. It wasn’t long, however, before that person apologized.
Now, you would think that was the end of it, but in the midst of their apology, they said something new that just resurrected the feelings of hurt and rejection. And at that point, it didn’t matter that they were apologizing. The apology rang hollow because it felt as if they were apologizing to avoid conflict not because they recognized they were in the wrong and they genuinely wanted to restore the relationship out of love and concern for me.
So I sit here, typing on my tablet, struggling with those feelings of hurt and rejection. Neither affront was intentional, but we probably all know that these kinds of slights can hurt regardless of whether or not the person meant them.
And in the midst of feeling hurt I also feel frustrated with myself. You see, I know we are called to a higher love. I know we are called to forgiveness and mercy. But I don’t feel like loving right now. I want to feel hurt. I want to cry and not feel guilty for my tears. I want to wallow in my feelings for a while. I want the other person to know the depth of what they did and I want them to be truly repentant, not just “sorry” to end a conflict.
Yet, this is also not who I want to be. I don’t want to hold offenses over others. I want to love deeply, forgive quickly, and be the reflection of Jesus to the people in my life. Tonight, I just don’t feel like I have the strength for it.
As I’ve been struggling with this, I’ve been listening to whatever random song plays next on YouTube’s autoplay feature, and wouldn’t you know, that gentle whisper spoke through a song tonight.
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
He reminded me through my tears that when I don’t feel strong enough, in my weakness He is strong. I do not have to have it all together. I have every right to feel what I am feeling, and pushing aside or burying my feelings doesn’t make things any better. So some nights I need to just accept that I am weak, that I need a Savior.
This does not give me license to live in unforgiveness or to punish the other person for their mistakes. It just means that I don’t have to feel strong enough to deal with it right now. It means I can place it in God’s hands, submit myself to Him in my hurt, and allow Him to work in me by His Spirit. I may not be able to muster love and forgiveness right now, but He is more than capable of doing so. And while I’ll never be able to love like He does through my own strength, as Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
So if you’re struggling today, show yourself some grace. Don’t expect to have it all together right in this moment. Slow down, breathe, and remember that you need Him, and that’s okay.