Another long day, grappling past lies and current insecurities and future worst-case possibilities. Craving words of reassurance to raw wounds open, I reach out to friends with said aching, seeking remedy. Disappointment comes again as well-intentioned words fall hollow on these doubting ears. Shame lays another layer down upon a battered heart. And round about this carousel of craving I go again.
We’ve likely all taken a spin or seventy on this merry-go-round, seeking wholeness in the words of trusted friends for our scarred places, wounded spaces. Guilty as charged. For me, it happens most often come evening. When the world slows, and children finally sleep, and I lie alone in bed. “Am I enough? Is God still kind? Not to us all but to me. Did my failures today scar my children for life?” These are some of my frequent flyers. I’m confident your list stands ready in the wings too.
What do we do? What do I do? I grab my phone and reach out to people to fill these aching gaps. They respond as best they know how yet my holes within only expand under the weight of sincere yet inadequate platitudes. This cycle repeats until loud lies feel true and worth seems lost and alone becomes more than a place but a defining status.
Maybe it’s just me.
But I know it isn’t.
Life happens, wounds happen, heck – simply human existence happens – and we reach out battered hearts for divine balm from mortal sources. Funny how loneliness often perpetuates itself through the avenues used in seeking remedy.
Recently, I found myself on this well-worn path again. Questions of worth, the purpose for pain, value where history had “proven” otherwise. In the middle of the familiar reach towards my mobile, a soft stirring began to sound.
You’re not alone in loneliness.
I’ve heard it said that if we recognized how often people feel lonely, we’d find community within our loneliness. Or something like that. Bottom line – you’re not the only one aching, the only one seeking, the only one asking these same questions.
What do you long to hear? To believe? To have someone who knows your story believe of you, for you, speak over you?
Such questions gave me pause. What did I truly want to believe as TRUTH in my depths? Words began to fill my mind, snatches of verses often cliched in their application. Words of worth, destiny, beauty springing from ashes and hidden hopes realized.
“Ok, Lord, I ‘know’ all these things are true, but I want to believe them, and I honestly don’t.” His next whisper surprised me.
Who else needs to hear these words too?
Full stop. I sensed the Lord challenging me to trade seeking for serving, to lift my eyes from sorrows, off licking proverbial wounds, and recognize those surrounding me. It took conscious effort, this changing of perspective: wounds in one hand and desired spoken truths in the other, both held out before the One who ultimately bore all wounds, who alone bestows all healing. And the results astounded me.
Slowly, surely, as names came to mind, a choice lay before me. No, an invitation: set aside my own wounds to extend balm for another. And if asked of its source, I’d only be able to point to the One who was pointing this all out to me.
Pick up a phone, select a person, type away. Only this time, not in gathering, but in bestowing, in speaking life. As their faces came to mind and words were sent on blessing’s mission, the most remarkable thing occurred: My own ache began to ease and texts started coming in.
“How did you know?”
“I so needed this.”
Grateful, I responded, “Me too, my friend. Me too.”
This paradox turned hurting on its head, bestowing community where, moments before, loneliness reigned. It’s counterintuitive when wounds screaming loud bleed raw and words from trusted friends fall flat on aching ears – to lay down craving in place of grace-proclaiming. What if we transformed our intuitions to seek into commissions to serve? Who else might need to hear the very things our own heart longs for?
This blog was written by Patience Leino. Patience Leino is a solo mama, a worship leader, and a sought-after advocate and educator in pediatrics. A Maryland native, she graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Biblical Studies and now calls Raleigh home. You can explore her adventures in faith, food, and failure on her blog.