Addiction. Anger. Abuse. Affairs. Anxiety. Thrilling topic, throw a cricket in my coffee while you’re at it. Infertility. Loss. Miscarriage. Depression/Post-Partum depression. I wouldn’t mind stepping on a Lego right about now. Disease. Suicide. Debt. A rocky marriage. A teen pregnancy. Children who are struggling. Pass me the Chick-Fil-A sauce, I think I will stay for lunch, after all.
It seems there are two cultural responses to ‘the struggle’ (whatever that struggle may be):
- Tell everyone. Have shirts, wristbands, hats, hashtags, tattoos, and bumper stickers of ‘the struggle’ made. Alert the media. Find a way to get on the TODAY show, if possible. Talk about it, even story top at parties if necessary. Yours is the only struggle that matters, so make that known. And definitely don’t bother to listen to someone else’s struggle, or even ask their name or where they come from. And certainly don’t get help, because if you do, what on earth will you tweet about?
- NEVER TELL ANYBODY.
Examples one and two may be slightly extreme, but that’s how it seems to me, often times. When you find yourself in a new social circle, or hey, even with your same old group, when and how do you bring up ‘the struggle’? “Thanks for loaning me your weed eater. Btw, my husband and I are dealing with ongoing, unexplained infertility.” “How’s your cinnamon and spice latte? Ps- my brother is in rehab. Again.”
Our world may have an extreme and skewed way of sharing, or (I’d say more often than not) NEVER sharing ‘the struggle’. But when we can be vocal, as Christians, about the hardships, the loss, the pain, the rockiest road we’ve ever walked… then we can also freely and openly point to a God who redeemed us, saved us, brought healing, and a way out when we saw nothing but darkness and no light. There is hope, and there is a cure. THAT’S something to share from the rooftops. “I was blind, but now I see.”
We can own our stories not because there’s any glory for us, but because our God works in the mess, and only he can take a bruised up story and make it beautiful for his glory.