I am an Encourager. If I see someone in need, I am eager to help share their burden and lighten their load or cheer them on, yet I’m not so quick to let go of my own baggage and receive help. Whether it’s pride or insecurity, or both, I don’t want to impose my troubles on anyone else. However, by not allowing others in, I rob them of the opportunity to fulfill their love calling. Also, I am on a slippery slope towards destruction because pride can fester the false belief that I can do life by myself.
When the Pain is Too Much
I recently awoke to excruciating abdominal pain. I couldn’t stand on my feet because the pain intensified, so I lay still in bed, crying out in pain. When I finally got up, the light in the room went dim, my ears felt like they were made of fuzz, and my hands and feet tingled. I almost passed out. It didn’t take long for me to wake my husband, who called my mom to watch our children while he took me to the hospital. In the Emergency Room, various nurses and doctors attended me, all with the intention of helping me. I had physical pain and needed help, so I reached out for it, and people responded to my need.
Yet, when it comes to emotional pain, I’m reluctant to reach out. For a couple of weeks now, maybe longer, I’ve been carrying emotional pain around like a heavy stone. Because my hurting is emotional, not physical, I have a hard time getting help for it.
Listen to God
This week at church, the pastor read from Galatians 6:1-5, and the part that stuck with me was this:“
Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love].Galatians 6:2
During this sermon, God started to show me ways that I have recently encouraged others, and I felt His gladness about this pour over me. Then, in the most gentle way, I felt Him say, “Now it’s time for you to let someone carry your burden.” I knew deep within what He was saying was true. There was no disbelief or indignation. My reaction was simply, “Okay, God.”
Then my words were put into action, which is more difficult. The pastor had an alter call, asking people to come forward who are down in the mud, who are carrying a burden that’s too heavy. I stepped forward though the last thing that I wanted to admit in front of a whole church filled with people is that I need help. Still, I stepped forward. Then he asked for people who didn’t step forward to lay hands on and pray for those who needed a burden lifted.
Lean on Others
In this simple act of obedience, I found people at my side whom I didn’t expect. They too had heavy hearts and needed a lift. And I found people behind me who did not judge me or pry into why I was standing there. They eagerly shared their love and support, just like I do when I know someone needs help from me.
The circumstances that brought me forward to that place of admitting that I need help have not changed. But my burden is lighter and my pain is duller because I reached out. In addition to God loving me, I know there are people who love me. They are praying for me and standing next to me in hopeful expectation that God will see me through.
When the pain is too much,
listen to God,
and lean on others