Sometimes I feel like I am drowning. I’m frantically trying to keep my head above the water, but it’s just too hard. There are worries tied to my ankles; insecurities that make it impossible for me to stay afloat for long. My girls are nearby – watching everything I do – so I try to stay strong and put on a brave face for them so they won’t see me struggle. I know they would help if they could, but they are just too little and have no experience in matters of the heart. Dry land is just too far away to reach by myself. I need help, and quickly.
When I start to go under, I do three things: I wallow in self-pity and misery (obviously a really dumb first step), I find a friend to confide in, and then I pray.
As a believer in Christ, I know that the prayer should come first. But to be completely open and honest, I don’t always feel like I deserve God’s help. I feel alone in the world, and it’s difficult to imagine that God wants anything to do with me when I’m moping about. And I don’t always know how to go about it either – it just feels selfish to ask God to do anything for me, especially when I have so successfully convinced myself that I deserve whatever trial I’m going through at the moment.
That’s when I know I’ve hit bottom, and I need to talk to someone. But talking to someone requires being real. It means opening up and risking being “that friend” that always seems to be unhappy about life. It means moving into a glass house, where all of my problems are laid out plain as day. It means risking judgement and pity… and it also means giving up my pride. But it also means that I might start healing. I might find out that someone shares my pain. I might learn ways to get past it. I might start to tread water more easily.
My faith in Christ is what gives me the strength to fight the weights that are pulling me under, and, if I let it, my faith is what unties the knots on those weights. And my friends – all of whom I consider to be a blessing in my life and a gift from God – are my life preservers. They listen to me, love me, encourage me, and set me straight. They aren’t afraid to tell me what might hurt, and always do it offering their full support when I need it. They tell me when I’m wrong. They tell me when I need to let it go. And sometimes they even offer to watch the girls for a few hours, just to give me the space I need to feel however I need to feel… to cry as hard as I want to… to pray in peace.
But the trick is to be real with them. I’ve learned that giving fragmented information in an effort to save myself from embarrassment doesn’t result in the same level of advice, support, or compassion from my friends. They’ve all got their own insecurities, their own struggles. They understand, because there is no “perfect.”
But the key to true healing is to pray. Pray and pray and pray some more. Anytime I feel like I’m going under again, I need to pray. Anytime that drowning sensation begins to return, I need to pray. When I feel my burdens are impacting my daughters and my husband and the people around me, I need to pray. When I don’t think I need to pray, I need to pray.
Things will get better, I know they will. I know that being a believer doesn’t mean that I won’t struggle or have difficulties in life. But hiding behind my problems or putting on a smile to help me pretend they don’t exist won’t make anything any better. Being real and prayer – LOTS of prayer – will. ❤