I’m going to let you in on one of my most horrifying experiences as a new mom. Don’t judge me. Picture it with me-I have a three week old baby and I’m venturing out to grocery shop for the first time with my new baby. I packed all my groceries in reusable bags and had the car seat in one arm and my couple bags of groceries on the other arm as I head out to my car. I bet I didn’t get 10 steps into the parking lot when a huge gust of wind hit and my bags BREAK. My groceries then all start to blow away. I look around and the coast is clear, so I quickly set the car seat down and start running around, trying to grab all my items. A few people saw what happened and ran over to help me. Then one of them says “mam! your baby!” I look over, and the wind had literally blown my car seat on its side…..with my son in it! Thankfully, he was buckled in and was completely fine. He was just hanging out with not a care in the world. But I lost it. I scooped him up and just started crying right there in the parking lot.
Later I ran into someone I knew and was still sweaty from what had just happened. They asked how I was doing and I quickly said “good!” even though that was a straight up lie. Anybody else been here before? Do you feel like if you were honest with how your day was actually going things would suddenly get really uncomfortable?
Why is it that we are so uncomfortable with people being honest about hard times? We go around saying "Hi, how are you?" as we interact with people but I think 90% of the time we don't actually want to know how they are, and if god-forbid they dare to tell us they aren't well, things often get awkward really fast...
Why do we feel this NEED for people to be happy? And why do we think it's our responsibility to make that happen by saying things like "at least your situation isn't worse." Listen. That phrase has helped NO ONE EVER.
I find myself only wanting to share the glory of my life with everyone, but not the ugly. Opening up about your feelings is risky. But when you do and the person’s response is to make you feel bad for the way you are feeling? Dude. That stuff sucks.
Since I’ve been trying to make more of a conscious effort to answer authentically when someone asks me how I am, I recently said "yes" when someone asked me is I was stressed over some circumstances in my life. Their response was "well, don't be". I just stood there stunned….really dude? If it was that simple do you think I would be choosing this stress JUST FOR FUN? I just wanted to give some smart ass response, but I held my tongue. Not only was that not helpful at all, but I was finally honest about how I was feeling and then it felt like my feelings were completely disregarded. My natural reaction was to want to shut down and never put my feelings out there again.
I think we need to give each other space to be where we are and feel what we feel in the midst of pain. Showing emotion when hurting is a healthy reaction. If we don't, we will stuff it until eventually we explode. Or we will become lonely and depressed.
A friend recently shared this verse with me and all I could say was "YES".
"Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? "
This verse comes from Job 6:26 and what's happening here is Job has just suffered a great loss and as he is grieving, his friends are picking his words apart. John Piper refers to this as "words of the wind" meaning that sometimes people need to speak their mind, even if what they are saying is a little over the top. He sums it up by saying "Don't be nit picky about my words when I'm in pain". I love this and feel like it's so important to have people in your life who will allow you to speak your “words of the wind” without correcting you or making you feel guilty about it.
I have a group of friends who have heard ALLLLL my words. We have all seen the ugliest sides of each other. But we are better people for it. After nights of my kids constantly waking or days of tantrums from a three year old, I have said things like "I just want to run away and never come back." They know that I don't mean that, but I'm expressing that right now things feel really hard. If my friend venting to me makes it so she can walk back in her house and not yell at her kids, that's a win!
Let’s encourage authenticity and vulnerability instead of making people feel like they have to be their best selves all the time. I promise we will walk around feeling lighter and our connections to each other will be deeper.