In the midst of brokenness, we often find ourselves thinking that we’re the only ones suffering. And yet, truth be told, those who care for us are also impacted by the pain, wishing they could answer the tough questions that rage within us.
Growing up, many of my fears and doubts impacted my family, more than they even probably realized at the time. Whether through always asking repetitive questions or panicking over something, it would often leave my parents worrying about what was going on inside my head. A phrase I often heard from my Dad growing up was, “Bud, you’re sometimes your own worst enemy.” He wasn’t being cruel; that was simply the truth and he was worried for my sake.
Those who are close to us may not feel the pain we’re experiencing; in fact, they may not even know how to relate to us or talk about it. And yet, despite the disconnect, they are still impacted by our brokenness, just as we are impacted by their own struggles.
Our first response when we hear that we’re “impacting” other people with our brokenness is to say, “See, I’m hurting the people I care about!” What we fail to realize is that our lives are so important that others actually do care about us, so much so that they hurt when we hurt! The answer is never and has never been to remove ourselves from their lives, but rather to embrace the concern and the value that is placed on our lives through their embrace. This isn’t about feeling “guilty” about bringing others into our pain; this is about realizing that we’re not alone, even when it feels like it. People do care. We’re all broken.
“Love says, ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.’” – Matt Chandler
There’s a fallacy that says, “No one will love you if you share your struggles and ask for help.” Sadly, many friends and family members perpetuate this lie by being cruel, unloving, and misunderstanding, all while there are people around us who genuinely do care. Sadly, we are often blinded by our pain that we fail to recognize the people who see our worth and who love us in our brokenness.
Something I learned through my own struggles was how deeply my family and friends cared for me…And who actually didn’t care as much as I thought.
We all impact the people we love, whether through our brokenness, our successes, and our healing. When we begin to see others who are close to us through that lens, rather than the feelings of isolation, we begin to realize the beauty of friendship, family, and life’s journey.
During the painful, lonely nights in LA, my Mom stayed up late at night, talking with me on the phone during moments of panic. She cared and those moments that she listed to me crying on the other end of the phone will always remind me of love, not merely the pain. My Dad, who couldn’t understand what I was going through, did everything he could to meet me in my needs, even when it was cloudy to him. Friends prayed with me and a listening ear was found when I looked for authentic friendships, not the shallow relationships that are so prevalent.
Upon my return to Charlotte, God brought friends (and eventually my wife) into my life who loved me for who I was, even in the brokenness. People were always there who cared, but I often missed it in the fear that I would never be “normal”.
You see, we are all broken. When we meet honest, authentic people, we meet others who are willing to meet us in our brokenness, because they know we are willing to meet them in theirs, as well.
Walking with those we love, we must never forget that this is their journey too, not just ours. Yes, we are the ones carrying our specific confusion, anxiety, and pain, but they are with us in the midst of brokenness. Guess what? We’re with them in their brokenness, as well. All of our lives affect one another, creating a different narrative that is full of beauty, wonder, pain, joy, love, suffering, and healing. Life is complex, crazy, and incredible…Despite our fallen humanity, I’m blown away that God would redeem this broken mess through dying for us on an instrument of torture. THAT is pure, unadulterated love.
Let’s begin embracing the love, grace, and hope that is found in a listening, loving ear, rather than giving in to fear that we’ll never measure up. There are people who care and if they aren’t in your life right now, I promise you that they DO exist. Seek healing, hope, and life and you will meet these beautiful people along the journey.
And never, ever forget that God is with you, even at your darkest.