Sometimes, God gives us problems so we can develop our spiritual muscles to get through them. SO many times the Bible tells us to take joy in our trials!
Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you face various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work,
so that you might be mature and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
Often, after the trial is over, I've often found myself praising God for it because He taught me something new and brought me closer to Him. That's what this blog is all about, right? I learn a lesson in life and share it with the world wide web!
This is no exception...God has taught me something new: I've got to share even when I'm still ugly.
Hang in there; I'll explain.
What I normally do, both on this blog and in my personal life, is share my experiences when I've already processed them, when I can make them pretty and tie a bow on them and present them to the world. In other words, I present my struggles in the past tense.
Recently, however, I've really been astounded at how much MORE God can use me when I reach out even when my world is upside down...when I'm coated in tears and snot and feel like I have "hormonal nightmare" tattooed on my forehead.
It's one thing to be entirely real and transparent in the past tense, when you already have it all figured out, but it takes true vulnerability to reach out to others in the middle of the mess.
First, God speaks to us sometimes through other Christians. Therefore, if I seek their comfort, wisdom, and guidance IN the situation, then I am opening myself for God to speak to me through them. This is a huge blessing for me, obviously, but also a blessing for them! Believe me, being the conduit through whom God chooses to speak is such a huge deal. It doesn't happen every day, and is a gigantic blessing!
Second, it builds community. The Bible tells us we're supposed to commune with one another, confess our sins, and lift one another up. If I'm keeping all my junk to myself until I get it straight, then I'm not helping to build the community of believers.
No one wants to open up to someone who already has everything figured out. If I've called you, crying and insecure, then when you're struggling, you'll feel like you can call me, too, right? By revealing myself to people close to me while I'm IN the mess, I can let them know that it's truly okay for them to do the same thing.
Finally, I've watched a domino effect happen in the last few weeks. As one friend gave me godly advice, God was able to build on it with another friend. Then, when I went to write the blog post about fear, it touched another friend exactly when she needed it most. As that continued to develop, I recorded a Periscope video, which changed the whole course of another friend's day. She, then, shared it with a bunch of her friends.
Do you see where I'm going here? Each time we share, both in the muck and after we've gone through it, we create a domino effect of blessings that reaches FAR beyond our sight. Who knows...maybe even into eternity.
So, today, if you're going through something, I'm going to ask it to share it with someone you trust. (That part is super important.)
Pray about who God would have you share your burdens with. Maybe THEY can help you lay them down at the feet of the only one strong enough to carry them all, Jesus Christ.
If you don't think you have anyone, you're wrong. You have me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to be there for you, just like others have been there for me!