I have learned two things this week.
1. I don’t know nearly as much as I think that I do.
2. I started believing a long time ago that my learning season had expired.
Is anyone subscribed to Bethel’s WorshipU? (Well, if not, shameless plug — GO GET YOURSELF A SUBSCRIPTION CUZ HOLY COW ALL THE GLORY)
I’ve played a lot of teaching in the background since subscribing, and in particular, it seemed like every teaching I clicked on today included someone sharing about a process they were currently/recently in.
“Here is how I walked out restoration after having an affair.”
“The best thing that I ever did was sign up for counseling. I’M IN COUNSELING RIGHT NOW.”
“I wrote this song in the midst of a mental breakdown I was having. You know, this new song — the one we just released.”
“I will answer your questions to the best of my ability, but honestly, most of you only see the highlight reel. We’re still learning just as much as the rest of the Church.”
One of the best ones, though, was —
“I bought into the lie that because I was in full time ministry, I didn’t need help anymore.”
Nailed it. I’ve bought into the same lie for a million different reasons:
“I’m a church administrator.”
“I’m a real adult in my real 20s now.”
“This is common knowledge to someone else so obviously it should be common knowledge to me.”
I have compared my insides to everyone else’s outsides, and decided “Everyone else is doing just fine so I must be failing miserably somehow.”
Doesn’t it seem like the world sets us up for this?
Pressure to be polished, to already be an expert, to be good at it from the moment you start. It seems as if we’re given very temporary permission to grieve, to struggle, to fall apart, or simply to NOT BE GOOD at something for awhile — but the clock is ticking, and there isn’t much time left.
So what does all of this pressure cause? For me, I can see it effecting two areas of my life very strongly.
I am pretty self aware and have absolutely no problem with emotion. I know when I’m discouraged and when something touches my heart – but being aware of your emotions isn’t so fun when the lie is loud that everyone else is fine, much more steady, much more thick skinned, or not phased in the slightest by the things that seem to tear me apart. I haven’t been believing that I’m allowed to struggle.
Last week, I heard the Lord say gently “Han, when you experience an emotion, I just want you to have it. Don’t offer a single reason for why you shouldn’t feel that way, and don’t use what you’re feeling to label yourself as insecure or wounded. If you feel left out, tell me you feel left out. You don’t have to tell me why you shouldn’t feel that way.”
STILL LEARNING because #oldhabitsdiehard, BUT I will tell you what’s happened when I stop invalidating myself — He comes. He comes with truth and empathy and understanding. When Lazarus died, it says that Jesus wept with Mary. He wept with her, even though he, in the very near future, was going to bring a solution for the problem she was grieving over. How much healing comes from the simple knowing that we are not alone in what we feel? That there is compassion and understanding and validation for our hearts?
I just want to echo that truth for anyone else who needs it —
You are allowed to struggle.
You are allowed to actually admit when things hurt and when things are difficult.
You are allowed to feel without offering a reason to invalidate those feelings.
You are allowed to need help.
The blinding perfection of everyone else is just an illusion.
No one was born with inherent, perfect mothering skills.
Everyone’s asked God hard questions and wrestled with doubt.
The most secure person in the world feels inadequate about something.
We are allowed to need help because no one handed us a step-by-step guide on how to slay this whole life thing. We are all allowed to be in process because no one is delivered from it until we leave this Earth.
THAT IS JUST THE GREATEST NEWS TO ME, because it means that I never have to ‘master’ anything. It also means that WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT and no one has one up on you. We all need help, we all get hurt by people and circumstances and hard things, and we have permission to process through that pain.
In fact, I think we can feel found and helped by the Lord much more quickly if we’re honest about where we are; when we admit our need, confess our sin, and are open about the struggle.
The other way it effects me, you ask? (or maybe you didn’t..)
In pursuing my dreams, particularly the creative ones.
I broke up with the dream of dancing at 19 because didn’t you know that the only way you can be a dancer is if you’ve been doing it since you were three?
I fight long, hard battles with music because I don’t have a Kim Walker voice and darnit anyway, why didn’t I stick with violin and piano lessons, and everyone else is so much further along and it’s too late.
I blog 4 times a year because I may know the proper times to use ‘good’ and ‘well,’ but beyond that, all your friends are writers and your Ohio origin really shows when you can’t help but end sentences in prepositions.
And other things? You haven’t even tried it yet and there are people your age that will be light years ahead of you forever.
So what if they will be? I’d argue that even if we ate, slept, and breathed that thing we feel unqualified to do since the day we left the womb, we’d still feel inadequate somehow. And isn’t the whole point for your heart to come alive and , and not to be deemed the best anyway?
And what if they won’t be? What if you started painting today and became a world renowned painter at the age of 65? What if your first book tour began 15 years from now? What if you kept on dancing through your adult life and started a form of movement that gave young girls something to look forward to when they’ve ‘aged out’ of their career.
I want to be a person that isn’t afraid to admit I’m in process. I never want anyone to be intimidated by a glossy, picture perfect image I’m projecting because I’m too afraid to admit that I don’t know everything.
There is so much heart space in knowing that the learning never ends, and we never age out of needing help.