Today I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that often gets left unsaid.
Life sucks sometimes.
And I’m not saying that to be pessimistic or garner your pity. No, I’m saying that because I’m in a hard season of life right now, and I’m done pretending to be ok because I know that some of you reading this are also in a hard season of life, and you probably need someone to gently remind you that it’s ok to not be ok.
Have you ever noticed that people are reluctant to share a story unless they know how it ends? They say “I dealt with depression for four months, but I went to counseling and I’m better now,” or “we knew that God was calling us to move to a different state, and we didn’t yet have a house or know a soul, but now that we’re settled in, we can totally see God’s provision in this move.”
Don’t get me wrong, stories like these are incredible testaments of God’s faithfulness and absolutely should be shared! But what about the stories that don’t yet have neat or tidy endings? And what about the ones that may never have a resolution on this side of heaven?
The danger in only telling our glossy, polished stories is that when our story isn’t pretty, we feel like we’re the only ones not living in a fairytale.
When I only hear the completed stories, my sense of aloneness even extends to what I read in the Bible. I begin to see David, and Paul, and Noah’s stories as flawless, forgetting that they lived messy, imperfect lives. I forget that Abraham, a man known for his faith, doubted God’s promise of children, and even slept with his wife’s servant to produce an heir and regain control of his story.
Here’s what I like to imagine. Abraham has been given a promise from God that he will have descendants too numerous to count, but as the days of waiting for the fulfillment of this promise turn into weeks, months, years, Abraham has mornings when he wakes up and says, “No, God, I can’t. What’s the point in believing in your promises when my daily reality doesn’t match what you’ve told me? Can I just be a bear today and hibernate until this is all over?”
Ok, maybe the bear part is more how I think than how Abraham would’ve thought, but I’m sure Abraham had days of doubt, confusion, frustration, even despair.
And that’s ok.
God does not call us to pursue perfection. He knows we can never be perfect, because if we were, we’d be God. But while God does not call us to be perfect, He calls us to be brave.
So here’s my challenge to you today – step out in courage and share your unfinished story with a trusted friend.
It takes bravery to look at your life and admit that “what now?” lies much closer to the surface than “happily ever after.” But who knows – maybe your brave act of vulnerability will grant someone else the permission they need to be raw and honest about the unresolved stories in their life.
And maybe, just maybe, by sharing from the middle of the story instead of only from the end, you’ll find some freedom to live your life as it is, instead of how you think it should be.