Hey you. The one who is seeing everyone’s Top Nine Instagram posts of 2018 with their exuberant experessions, and reading everyone’s Facebook Diary of resolutions.
I see you. You’re “liking” their posts and maybe dropping an encouraging comment here and there. I see your fingers tapping out feigned joy… but your shoulders are slumped and your face is expressionless.
You aren’t looking forward to 2019. In fact, you may not be looking forward to tomorrow. Because there is a giant you are facing… seemingly at every turn. It’s there when you wake up, and there when you go to sleep.
You’re overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and terrified. You feel trapped and are suffocating. But you don’t show it. You have to put on a facade at work, at home, at church, and pretty much everywhere. It feels like you don’t have a safe place to be you anymore. You want to run outside, tear your clothes, and scream at the top of your lungs the horrific crap you are going through. But you don’t. You put your make up on, fix your hair, step into your heels, and go about your day like you have every other day. Perhaps the most important thing you put on is your smile.
I see you. I have been you.
Someone telling me “I see you” in my deepest, darkest trenches was enough to break the dam and shatter the facade. Being seen is invaluable. A friend and I were talking the other day and all she had to say was “I know you’re exhausted” and I burst into tears. She saw me.
To you, the one who is exhausted and overwhelmed, hurting and fearing the giants in your life… reach out. To those who can be trusted, invite them into your trenches and into your mess. The enemy wants you to fear their rejection, and wants you to walk this alone. But that is the exact opposite of what God wants for you.
That giant you’re facing? It is powerless to the God you serve. In the Bible, David approached Goliath with his staff, some stones, and a sling. The giant mocked him and said, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” and David answered, unwaveringly, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts… this day the Lord will deliver you into my hand… that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:40-46, emphasis mine).
Goliath was over nine feet tall. He had been a warrior since his youth. He never lost. David was a shepherd, young and untrained. But his trust was in God, not in his strength or might. He approached Goliath in the name of the Lord. That’s all he needed to fight the battle and win, because the name of the Lord is that powerful. You can face this giant in your life. Your God will go before you, stand behind you, and fight for you. “…With confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). His grace and mercy will meet you in your mess and cover you and sustain you.
For those of you who “see” that person… the one you know is hurting. I implore you to reach out. Don’t expect anything. Just reach out and simply say “I see you.” As my friend said the other day, “Let me help you. Let me love you.” She made it clear there was no pressure, and didn’t press for a single detail. She just wanted me to know she was available and that she loved me. So— reach out to that person. [Side note: nosy people need not apply. Just don’t. You make things worse. And you think you can fool us. But we can see it a mile away and literally no one likes nosy people so just stop. Thanks.]
I’m going to wrap this up with what is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. I know I don’t know how to stop writing sometimes but for real just pay attention, I’m almost done, and this is important.
In Exodus 17, the Amalekites came up against Moses and the Israelites. Moses had men go out to fight this monstrous army, and said that the next day he would go out and stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. While Joshua and the Israelites fought with Amalek’s army, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill with Moses. As long as Moses’ hand was raised with the staff, the Israelites would win. But he grew weary and had to lower his arm, and the Amalekites started to overpower the Israelites. Aaron and Hur found a stone and had Moses sit, and they each grabbed an arm and held it up for him, and they held them up until the sun set, and Israel won (Exodus 17:8-13).
Be the Aaron and Hur your friends need. Be there for however they need you in their weakness. Show them they are not alone. Fight with them and for them. Hold their arms up when they can’t.
And if you are the Moses in this story, let them hold your arms. God doesn’t want you walking alone.
From my trench to yours,