Thursday, September 1, 2016

Alone in the Mess

One of the first feelings I experience when I am struggling is loneliness. It is an ache I can't describe. What is strange about loneliness is you can feel it while being surrounded by people. I've been at family dinners and felt incredibly lonely. I've been at church group meetings and felt the heaviness of it in my heart. It has gripped me at parties, weddings, and occasions that are supposed to be happy.

But why would anyone feel lonely when surrounded by people?

It's because we are all fighting a battle of some kind. And when the battle becomes intense, we withdraw. It doesn't matter how many people are around us. That place where we hide within ourselves is incredibly lonely. We feel most isolated in our struggle when we start to believe the lies that are ever so subtly whispered in our minds...

"You're the only one who feels this way." 

"What's wrong with you? So-and-so doesn't struggle with this?" 

"Why can't you be more like her/him?"

"You need to get it together."

The truth is, no one has it together. We're all a big mess. One thing I've learned in my 35 years of living in this fallen world is that everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. My battle might look different than yours but we're both fighting something. I'll say it again so it will sink in.

We're all a big mess.

Yep. Even the ones who seem to have it all together. The "mess" is why we need Jesus. He saw our mess from the very beginning and decided to step in and give us a way out of it, to have victory over it. 

In fact, He sees your mess today, the details of it; the struggle of it. He knows you are weary. That's why there are verses like this one in the Bible...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

You know who was a mess in the Bible? Practically everyone. That's right. In fact, the Bible is a messy book. Let's take Peter, for example, who was one of the twelve apostles. Now he was a hot mess!

• He denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22)
{take some time to read Jesus' response to Peter's denial. Did Jesus reject him?}

• He went from walking on water to sinking because he was afraid. (Matthew 14:30)

• He was rebuked by Jesus for being impulsive & cutting off someone's ear! (John 18:10)

• He was confronted by Paul for his hypocrisy. (Galatians 2)

What's encouraging about Peter is that God never rejected him because of his mess. God used him in spite of it. Jesus dusted Peter off, helped him learn from his mistakes, and launched him back out into the world to accomplish great things for the kingdom.

So let me encourage you. Don't listen to the lies but take comfort in the truth. You are not alone. In fact, whatever you are facing, there's always someone else facing the same thing. You're never the only one. 

You are not alone.

Here are some scriptures to remind you of the truth that God is with you in every dark place, even when that place is your own mind.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." Psalm 32:8 

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

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