Thursday, December 1, 2011

Just Listen

Sometimes I'm having one of those days, like I am today.  I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I'm failing everyone.  I feel like I can't live up to my own expectations, let alone anyone else's.  I feel much like Paul did in 2 Corinthian 1:8 when he said, "we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life itself".  Its times like these that I have learned to reach out to others and share my struggles.  Paul started out the verse 8 by saying he didn't want people to be uninformed about his troubles.  I believe there is a spiritual benefit to sharing with others.  

I can't even begin to fathom what all the benefits may be of sharing my struggles, but if God said to do it, I trust He has good reasons.  I have noticed though a few of these benefits along the way.  The first is it helps me to process and fully understand what it is I am dealing with, or working through.  I have also noticed that when people know I'm struggling they pray more, and those prayers make a difference.  Also people will reach out to me.  Usually when I share about having a hard time, several people will call or text and just encourage me!  This is so needed.  There is nothing worse than hurting, feeling the pressure of life pressing on you, and being alone.  That can be a very dangerous place.  We aren't designed to do anything alone.  God Himself isn't alone.  He is a three part being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each fulfilling a different aspect of the Godhead.  So why is it we feel we have to do everything all on our own, without support from anyone? It seems a little unrealistic to me!

Hard days come, and when they do, and I'm not able to break through it, I reach out.  These are critical and vulnerable moments.  I'm being naked before my friends, exposing all that I am.  I feel that I'm risking disappointment.  I feel that I'm risking my witness by not being "super woman".  As I share my hurts, struggles, and frustrations, I'm looking for one thing: a listening ear.  That's all I really need at that point.  Listen to my heart.  Listen to my pain.  Listen to my struggles, questions, and confusion.  As you listen God will give you insight to pray for me.  As you listen, reach out with a hug, or a hand of compassion. 

One thing I ask though, as you listen to me in those intense moments where I reach out, please don't try to solve my problem.  I've vulnerable, I'm hurting, I'm doing the best I can in this difficult situation, and your advice or seemingly helpful ideas are like salt in my wounds.  I know its good intentions.  I know your trying to help.  But when you stop listening, and start solving, you reinforce the inadequacy I already feel.  In this moment I feel like a failure, and your suggestions of what to do different seem to confirm it.  "Yes Jenn, your doing something wrong.  If you'd do it like this, you wouldn't feel this way."  It hurts.  It closes me off.  And it doesn't solve my situation.  I've encountered this time and time again. Sometimes its putting my son to bed, dealing with his accidents, my busy schedule, or the disappointment of being alone.  There is nothing more aggravating than someone telling me "I need to...".  You don't really understand my journey.  You can't even begin to fathom my life.  And you honestly have no idea what I need to do. My situation is unique, and what may work under normal circumstances may not work under mine.

 For years I've been living under the dictates of a strong leader.  And over the past year I have had to start to learn my own way.  I'm redefining myself, and my life. I'm relearning how to live.  And the last thing I desire right now in this challenging season of discovery is someone telling me what to do.  God is teaching me how to think on my own.  How to turn to Him to be my husband.  I'm learning to make mistakes and learn from them, all on my own.  The advice of outsiders only hinders this process.  Everyone has an opinion and everyone feels the need to share it.  And each opinion is different. It only brings frustration and confusion.  I need to cling to God more than anyone else.  I need to know His voice behind me saying, "this is the way, walk in it".  So I ask you, when I share, please just listen. Then pray. Pray that God will give me direction, that I will hear His voice, and that His comfort and strength will once again come and rescue me.

"[For it is He] Who rescued and saved us from such a perilous death, and He will still rescue and save us; in and on Him we have set our hope (our joyful and confident expectation) that He will again deliver us [from danger and destruction and draw us to Himself]."  2 Corinthians 1:10 amplified


  1. Thank you for saying what all widows want to say, but many don't have the courage to say for fear of losing even more.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles. my husband passed on aug.31st after a short battle with cancer. I am 42 and reading your post have been very helpful and encouraging to me.