"He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." Psalm 107:29-30
Have you ever found yourself in a dark place? A lonely place? A place of suffering? A place of waiting? A place of grief?
Recently, I was in a place like this. A lonely place.
My first desire when in such a place is to withdraw. Go inside. Lick my wounds.
However, something happened a few weeks ago that shed light into the darkness I was feeling. Something unexpected, yet healing.
I woke up with a heavy and anxious heart. I wanted to bury myself under my covers and never come out. I was tired and weary.
Yet, I got out of bed anyway. I got dressed anyway. I stuck to my agenda that day anyway.
"Take the next step, Jill. Stay the course."
The Holy Spirit was breathing these words into my heart each morning. "Just do the next thing..."
So, off I went to my morning yoga class. The very last thing I wanted to do was be surrounded by happy-ish people in a small room playing sad music. [eye roll]
But, I did it anyway. Staying at home just wasn't going to be an option that day. I felt pulled to move. To show up. To go.
I walked into my yoga class and to my surprise it was only the instructor and one other girl. A small class. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
The class was about to begin and the instructor looked me straight in the eyes with her smiling face and said, "How are you, Jill?"
Never one to hide my emotions [eye roll again], I spilled my heart out. Right there on that yoga mat.
After my heart was split wide open on the yoga floor, I felt foolish for offering it so freely. I mean, seriously? Like these girls really care about how I am doing. Ugh. Why did I do this??
I wanted to find the nearest exit and split.
But, before I could...
The girl next to me said, "Jill, you are not alone. I feel those exact same things. I have been struggling too."
Then, the instructor said, "Jill, I have been struggling as well."
The three of us sat on our yoga mats and shared our hearts.
We encouraged each other in those minutes...
We laughed, well, they laughed....I cried. LIKE ALWAYS. [EYE ROLL]
Eventually, we did yoga.
But, I felt lighter. I felt less alone.
I started to feel somewhat normal again....
They struggled too.
With almost the exact same thing I was dealing with.
He knew I needed to go to that class.
He wanted to show me that I was not alone.
There were others...
Perhaps many others...
Who struggle daily...with something.
We often overlook them because we are deeply buried in our own ordeals...
Yet, when we take our eyes off of ourselves and look up and out..
We see a suffering world.
A world that needs to know that they are not alone.
A world that needs to know that someone else understands their struggle and they care.
Once again I am reminded of the woman at the well in scripture.
Jesus sought her out, sat beside her, and loved on her.
He knew her...yet they had never met.
Perhaps we are so quick to hide our hearts that we miss the greatest opportunities in our lives...
To listen to another.
To pray for another.
To be vulnerable with another.
To share our hearts with another.
We tend to get wrapped up in our own suffering, that we forget what Jesus told us was the greatest commandment...
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor :as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37
Love God. Love your neighbor.
Could this be the key to our healing in suffering?
Serving in our suffering?
Loving in our suffering?
This concept was made clear in a text with a dear friend recently who suddenly lost her mother.
She is serving her widowed father in her grief. Tired and weary, yet she serves him.
While her instinct is to crawl under a rock and hide away, she tends to her daddy in his greatest suffering.
You are not alone.
Open your eyes and look out. Notice the one God puts in front of you.
Don't be afraid to share your heart, your story.
Someone needs to hear it. Someone desperately needs to feel the warmth of companionship and a listening ear.
I know I did that day in yoga class.
It was healing for my heart.
Jesus uses people..
He always uses people.
Look for them.
Search for them.
Seek them out.
Don't suffer in silence.
We were not meant to live alone.
"Now you are the body of Christ and each one is a part of it."1 Corinthians 12:27
love your neighbor,