“Fine” is one of the emptiest words in our vocabulary. It conveys nothing in and of itself. Sometimes the delivery of it carries the most weight, especially when it’s coated with sarcasm. “Fine” tends to mask more than it reveals.
For too many years, “fine” kept me from acknowledging there were issues that needed uncovering and addressing. And that’s what my devotion on Encouragement for Today deals with. If you’re visiting from there, welcome.
Today is also the first day of the P31 Online Bible Study featuring my friend Suzie Eller’s book, The Mended Heart. This, plus Father’s Day, got me thinking about a time when God healed a hurt in my heart that I’d buried under the word “fine.”
Perhaps it’s the blood of my Scottish ancestors running through my veins, but I’ve been stoic most of my life. I’ve prided myself on a calm, we-can-do-this reactions to tough situations. This approach works great for problem solving. Not so great for admitting my need for God.
And admitting my need for God was one of the first steps in allowing Him to heal the hurts in my past.
So today, I want to encourage that it’s okay not to be okay. In fact, that’s a very good place to be, when you are willing to admit it. And when you are willing to admit you need help, you can receive it.
This usually requires time and introspection, especially if you’ve been “fine” for years. That’s what happened to me.
I loved God with all my heart, but I didn’t feel that close to Him … at least not like other people were. It never hit me that my relationship with God and with others had anything to do with a hurt that I’d covered up in the past. But once I started uncovering that hurt, I realized there were very few people I felt I could completely depend on. Which is why I became more and more independent. And, as you can imagine, that put distance between me and those I cared most about.
Thankfully, God allowed (or orchestrated, I’m not 100% sure which) some circumstances in my life where I got to the end of my ability to help myself. No matter how hard I tried in the natural to fix things, only a supernatural touch would make a change. Those circumstances helped open my heart up to God’s healing. In other words, I got desperate enough to ask God for help with me.
Part of my resistance to admit I needed help, could have been growing up in church. I loved my church family, but we all were experts at being “fine.” I never remember anyone admitting to a past hurt or struggle. We were quick to pray for healing for today, but the past? That was better left in the past.
It’s so sad, now that I think about it, because when we act like the past doesn’t affect us, we miss out on the healing God offers. There are so many reasons why we do it:
1) We might be embarrassed if people knew our past. What would they think of us? Would it change how they look at us?
2) We might think we’ll be excluded from certain groups or positions within the church if others knew.
3). It might seem like we are spiritual weaklings, and not doing something right in our faith, if we still struggle with things in our past.
There might be a few people who think it’s okay to wear a super-spiritual mask, but the rest of us are desperate for someone else to admit they are a mess. Because when you admit you are a mess, I can too. And then together we can go to the Father for healing.
Personally, I’d much rather hang out with someone who’s got a really messed up past, but is honest about it. It makes me feel like I can be honest too, and that I’m not the only one in need of God’s touch in my life.
Friends, if you are ready to get honest, I hope you’ll consider signing up for our P31 Online Bible Study. Even though it starts today, you aren’t too late to join. We always try to get the first several chapters of the book so everyone can get started even if they don’t have the book in hand.
No matter how “small” or “big” you think your past hurts are, there is healing to be found.
And I want you to know that I’m cheering you on!! I’m praying for God’s supernatural power to be released in your lives today! And we’ll give Him ALL THE GLORY!!
In His love,