Another night following a long day.
Another spell grappling past lies and current insecurities and future worst-case possibilities. Craving words of reassurance, spoken balm to raw wounds open. Reaching out to friends with said aching, seeking remedy. Disappointment when 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 hollow places, wounded spaces.
Guilty as charged.
My current season provides ample opportunities to seek affirmation from others, to reveal struggles or sorrows within, seeking healing through the words of those without.
For me, it happens most often come evening. When the world slows and the children finally sleep and I lie alone in my bed meant for two, once holding two, now for so long cradling but one.
Am I enough?
Is God still kind? Not to us all but to me.
Did my failures today scar my children for life?
And on and on the list goes.
These are some of my frequent flyers. I’m confident your list stands ready in the wings too.
And what do we do? What do I do?
I grab my phone and reach out to people to fill my aching gaps. They respond as best they know how yet I find the holes within have only grown under the weight of their sincere, inadequate platitudes.
The cycle repeats until the 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 I’m found reaching out a battered heart for divine balm from mortal sources.
Funny how loneliness perpetuates itself through the avenues we go about seeking remedy.
Recently, I found myself in this familiar space: aching within, reaching for my phone to find affirmation from others. A well-worn path indeed. Questions of worth, 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.
This notion that I’m not the only one struggling with these aching spaces, not the only one seeking affirmation for vulnerable wounds open.
I’ve heard it said that if only we recognized how often people feel lonely, we would 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 hear, to believe, to know as TRUTH in my depths?
Words began to fill my mind, snatches of verses often cliched in their application.
Words of worth.
Words of destiny.
Words of beauty springing from ashes and hidden hopes realized.
Ok, Lord, I “know” all these things are true but I want to believe it and I honestly don’t.
His next whisper surprised me.
Who else needs to hear these words too?
Take a step back from seeking and pause long enough to listen. Lift your eyes from your own sorrows, off licking your proverbial wounds, and scan those surrounding you.
Who else might be asking these same questions?
In the midst of seeking words of life for myself, I sensed the Lord challenging me to trade seeking for serving.
I could continue to dwell on my own inadequacies, follow that frequented path towards friends and families for affirmation, and end up discouraged yet again because I was ultimately asking them to fix an ache they were never meant to heal.
I could take a step back from my craving long enough to ask, “who else might crave these desired words too?”
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.
Who else needs life spoken over their soul’s desert spaces?
Slowly, surely, names began coming to mind. Precious faces, some not connected with in months, possibly years.
Her. She’s seeking reassurance too.
A choice lay before me. No, an invitation: set aside my own wounds to extend balm for another. And if they asked of its source, I’d only be able to point to the One who was pointing this all out to me.
The resulting actions were somewhat similar to seeking: Pick up your phone, select a person, type away.
Only this time, it wasn’t 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.
The texts started coming in.
“How did you know?”
“I so needed this.”
And, 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 scream loud and bleed raw and words from trusted friends fall flat on aching ears – to lay down craving in place of grace-proclaiming.
What if we all transformed our intuitions to seek into commissions to serve?
What if we reached for our phones, not to gather praise (that honestly we probably won’t fully believe anyway), but to bestow blessing?
Who else might need to hear the very things our heart longs for?
Simply put – bestow the words you crave.