Movements are an interesting thing. In our society recently, the #metoo movement has taken off like wildfire. Survivors coming out of the woodwork to share their stories in trepidation, only to find closure and peace in the arms and solidarity of family, friends and other like-warriors who have come out bruised and battle-scarred on the other side of telling their stories, the fiercest of survivors.
Movements are empowering. They grant freedom from fear, they provide a safe place to share your story, and they allow many individuals to turn from a place of paralyzing shame and guilt to a healing space of community and renaissance of life.
Shame and Guilt are strange, though, aren’t they? Two emotions, like a pair of playground bullies, the bigger and stronger we think they are, the more they lock us down, forcing us to take their punches, absorb their blows, and believe the lies they whisper to our broken innermost parts. Shame and Guilt tell us, in their sneering, snarling, angry, hatred voices of villainy, to “keep your secrets in…don’t tell anyone you’re struggling…you are the ONLY one who is facing this giant…what will THEY think of you…who do you want them to think you are?…if you share this, they will never look at you the same again…” and yet, movements are empowering.
Among Christians, I think we struggle so greatly with this issue. The issue of sharing what is truly wrong. We plaster our social media with glimpses of an incredible, yet unrealistically attainable 24/7 life, and then we try to force ourselves and those around us to fall into the misaligned belief that this is the standard to attain, when let’s be honest…none of us are attaining it ourselves. I think if we were really going to have an impact, our movement would look something like this.
Meaning, you struggle with this too? and it’s ok? and we can be real and share this and grow together in healing and freedom? YES…
I have a Mess…#YOUTOO?! YES…
What does my truth look like? Here’s a taste of my truth. The honest to goodness, hope no one ever actually sees this, crumbling facade of truth.
I’m scared to death. Literally, every day. Every morning, I rise early, bury my fears in coffee, shroud my uncertainty in positivity, and send my kids out the door to be the best versions of themselves they can possibly be – my tiny human world changers – and yet on the inside, when the coffee fades and the pep disperses, fear creeps in. Anxiety is my playground bully and she’s been hanging out with Shame and Guilt like a clique of mean girls who only wear pink on Wednesdays. Her voice whispers to my soul, louder and darker and deeper, seeking to drown out the beauty around me.
She asks me, in her seething valley girl tones (because how else would an enemy whisper?!) “How will you fail them today? Which of your many juggling balls will you drop? Which of your best laid plans will fail? How will you let your sweet husband down?”
Of course, rather than share this story and my #YOUTOO moment with others who can either raise me up or walk through it together with me, I listen to that ill-gotten advice of my Anxiety bully and allow myself to implode. Rather than allow the rubble of my struggle to touch anyone else, I retreat deeper into my fears and by closing off, I cause others to explode regardless.
The Anxiety monster becomes so great, that it can overpower me, raising it’s ugly head and causing physical distress – migraines and short-temperedness and just wanting to disengage entirely. Sorrows find themselves drowned in the aforementioned social media escape, only to meet the 4th playground bully, Comparison.
It was in the midst of one of these messy seasons, that I experienced a true #YOUTOO moment. I began sharing my story with friends and ladies at church. I began seeking out specifically in my devotional time about anxiety, and was gifted with an incredible visual.
“For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you…” – Isaiah 41:13
Oh friends…the comfort this visual gives me. Much like I do with my 4 year old daughter, after a bad dream. I crouch by her bedside, reminding her that I am here, I love her, I will fight for her…Reminding her what is truth and what is a lie from the enemy to her heart.
Our Father does the same for us, slowing me down, unclenching my fingers wrapped so tightly together in worry around my job, my house for sale, my kids, my husband, my future and he takes my hand in His. His voice is quiet, but loving and strong. He leads me, little by little, asking me to trust…and in His tenderness and quiet strength, shutting up my anxiety. He brings me peace.
Friends, how can we keep healing like that to ourselves?
It is when we allow ourselves to share all of the Glorious Mess of our #YOUTOO stories, that the narrative can change. In the midst of telling our #YOUTOO story, we remember who we are and the entire game changes…
We let go and lift up our house, our job, our health and weight, our “enoughness”, our future, our comparisons, our insecurities, our anxieties and entitlements, our futures.
We find joy, peace, patience, authenticity, identity, strength, renewal, hope, endurance and health.
So, my #YOUTOO Story? Trade your worry for worship and watch your Father make the mountain of Anxiety bow to Him.
What is your #YOUTOO story? Don’t hide in shame and guilt any longer. Share your story and watch God take hold of this movement in your life.