This is what I do, don't try to understand how I do it; I don't really know either

Posts tagged ‘pain’

Be a friend & shut your mouth

It was not even 10am and I had already greatly angered a complete stranger. That doesn’t usually happen that early in the day.

I have a pet peeve – well a few to be completely honest. This particular one is when well intentioned people say stupid things to hurting people. YES, I get that they are well intentioned but it doesn’t make what they said any less stupid and I am just not going to ignore it.

I have  a friend who is going through an incredibly difficult time, to put it lightly. She should be celebrating a great joy and instead she is wading through loss and grief in addition to all her regular responsibilities. I can not imagine what she’s going through right now and she was open and honest (publicly) about how she can not imagine how she was going to be able to carry on through the week.

A well intentioned friend commented that “He will never give you more than you can handle.” Where the heck did that stupid phrase come from? Can we eliminate it from English please! I commented that this is no where in scripture and not even accurate. I let her know that I recognized her desire to comfort her friend but there are times we do have more than we can handle and it’s in those times we need Him the most because we can not make it through on our own.

This phrase also superimposes that God has given her all this shit right now. This is not necessarily accurate either. Sometimes we make our own storms, sometimes other people make storms in our life. There is also a devil who wants to seek, kill, and destroy; so please lets not leave him out of the equation of storm making.

The final and most important reason I hate this phrase, is that when you are in the middle of all of that, it does feel like it is more than you can handle. I know I have been there. I have had this very thing said to me and it completely minimizes the pain and hurt you are trying to get above. It makes you feel incompetent and like you are weak because if God never gives you more than you can handle why can’t I handle this? It makes you feel like you should put on a happy face and pretend like your ok when your NOT ok.

We need to be free to be real with people. We need to have others know when we are drowning and need help. Well intentioned people can still cause more hurt and pain, and if we learn anything from the book of Job, it is that sometimes the best thing a friend can do is sit in the ashes with us and keep their mouth shut.

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Where to stick your bumper sticker theology

I recently read this blog about God not giving us more than we can bear by Nate Pyle. Honest, truthful, bold stuff. The last two years of my life have been filled with a lot of pain and this really hit my heart in a way I needed. I have been through many difficult things in my life: sexual abuse, death of a baby, separation, death of family members and friends by natural causes, accidents and murder.

Almost without fail some, probably well intentioned, Christian has spouted off some little phrase they heard that they think will help. I love how Nate referenced it to bumper sticker theology. So true!

I love how Job’s friends stayed in silence with him, at first. How much better off would they have been if they had stayed that way. We just get so uncomfortable with silence we feel the need to fill it with something – anything. Saying stupid things like, “it’s for the best,” or “they’re in a better place,” really doesn’t help me in my pain.

A dear friend recently said to me, “if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” In her case, I know she meant well and we have a relationship where I could comment back that I think there are many things in life that He doesn’t bring us to, but we go running full tilt into ourselves, never the less, He can still bring us through.

What will help, is other people who know when it’s better to not say anything at all. Sometimes I just need people to BE with me. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

Here are ways to ACTUALLY be helpful:

Learn to be ok with silence

Tell someone you will pray for them and then actually do it

See if there is a tangible need that you can meet

Stay connected

Pain is uncomfortable for the person in it and those around them. The past two years have been a long, hard, painful process for me, but those who have walked with me through it have carried me in more ways than they know. Bumper stickers will fade and peel. True friends, with hearts like Jesus, show love continuously.