I’ve grown up, primarily in a culture where men are discouraged to show any sign of weakness. No tears, no fear, where liking anything other than combat sports or anything aggressive (music, shows etc.) is sometimes looked down upon. I’ve had the notion hammered into me that asking for help, admitting weakness, admitting to struggles is a general no-no.
“I got this.” “I can handle it.” “I don’t need help.” “I can do this alone.” With my words and actions, this is how I have handled myself. And still find myself doing from time to time.
The more I have spent time with the men and women at The Gathering (the church I’m going to) the more I am convicted of this behaviour. The more I spend time with them, worshipping with them, and praying with them, the more I find myself wanting, and needing their help, their prayers.
I find that my individualistic, white-knuckle, do it yourself spirit is slowly giving way to “I don’t have this” “I can’t handle it.” “I need help” “I can’t do this alone.” At least for some things. But by the Grace of God, my heart is being transformed from one that can’t admit weakness or struggles, to one that realizes that it absolutely needs to admit these.
Too often, I try and take on the weight of my own sin, my struggles and shame on my own. I don’t want my dear friends to see my struggles (of which I have many).
“With my strength alone, I’ll overcome my struggles. I’ll get better, holier, on my strength.” For the love of God (literally) don’t. It’s exhausting, mentally, emotionally. It is a lonely road that doesn’t change a thing. Sure the outward actions may change, but the heart will remain bitter, hard and cold.
Don’t forget the Cross. It is because of the Grace of Jesus, I am free to admit my weaknesses without fear of ridicule. I don’t need to make much of myself, I don’t need to make myself look strong because I’m not much, I’m not strong. I’m quite weak, and fragile. It is Christ that is strong. He deserves to be made much of. He is the life changer.
I can’t do much on my own, I’m alright with that. I’m surrounded by a great group of believers that would help carry the burden. And I would do the same.
I’m not alone, I am surrounded by people that love Jesus. I see His love, His Grace through them.
I’m thankful for all of them. Even though, I may keep most of them at a distance (through no fault of their own), it is because of their love for Jesus, for others..for me, that I’m beginning to see (again) my need for a Christ-centered, Gospel-loving community.
Through this group, I’m learning to rest and take joy in the freedom through the Cross. I’m learning that I don’t have to fight alone, because I was never alone.
My struggles, shame and regret maybe deep but God’s Grace runs deeper still.