“It is never just your story.” The editor’s words cut through the classroom with razor-like precision. I ponder them and am ashamed to count the number of times I thought it was.
Weeks later, as I worship with my church family, I realize how thankful I am for the truth in her words. It’s not just me. No, there are others. There is an entire body to carry me when I am discouraged, offer an uplifting word when I need it, to push me to keep pressing toward my goals.
Where would I be without them? Where would I be without my husband, who, when I walk away, tells a friend that I need a word of encouragement?
Sometimes, the worst possible answer to the question, “How are you?” is “I’m fine.” And yet so often, that is my immediate response.
“I don’t want to burden them with my issues,” I think to myself.
“They wouldn’t understand,” the enemy lies.
“They’re too busy with their own problems.”
Getting me to admit to anything other than, “I’m fine,” is often like performing a root canal without an anesthetic. I hide behind my “I’m fine” cape with ferocious determination.
Today, God showed me power behind three simple words: I’m not fine. He showed me that when I am as transparent in person as I am on the page, community is born. And in the midst of community, we rejoice in each other’s successes and carry each other’s burdens.
But to do any of these things, we must be real.
Real community never happens without the element of vulnerability.
When we put up walls and never allow people to see our struggles, all they ever see is a facade. A fake smile to go with a fake response and we all go about with our day.
True bravery starts when we truest version of ourselves, even if it starts with just one person.
What would happen if we let people in? It starts with trust, but trust always begins with putting yourself out there. With letting someone see the real you, even if it’s just a piece.
As you go about your week, in the midst of your errands and to-do lists, remember that it is never just your story.
And then praise God that it’s not.