Day: March 2, 2020

When you are hurt, what can you do about it?

Have you ever said something you wished you had kept private? You shared something really important to you, a dream realized and there is no response?

This happened to me last week.

I was in a group and one of the questions was “How do you generally spend your day”? I spend a lot of my time everyday writing for this blog and on the e-books that are close to completion. I’ve never shared with the group that I have a blog or that I’m writing some books.

I know you have to be asking, “What’s the big deal?”

It was a huge deal for me probably because of the subject matter I write most about, depression. I’ve never even told the group I have a long, although past, history of depression. There hasn’t been any reason to.

We went around the room and I was the last to share. This is not an exaggeration to say I was scared to death. My heart was pounding. I whispered to my husband, “I don’t know if I should share about the blog and the books. I’m scared.” I realize I didn’t have to share it but it is how I spend my day and sharing anything less would’ve made me feel dishonest and disingenuous.

With a quivering voice, I prefaced my comments with the fact that I was nervous and unsure about what I was going to share. But I took the leap. I shared about the e-books, this blog, and a couple of novels in the works. I don’t like making myself vulnerable yet that’s exactly what I did.

After I finished, it was as though I had said nothing. Total silence. Not a word or encouragement or even interest. (Afterwards though as we were leaving someone did say something to me which I will mention later.)

My worst fears were realized. I had often worried about sharing this anyway because of the reaction I might get. In the past, I’ve noticed that people often respond in less than encouraging ways to another’s good news. My husband noticed the silence as well and he, too, was surprised.

Are you wondering what I wished had been said?

“Hey, that’s great”.

“We can see where you would be good at that.”

“When can we get a copy?”

“How can we pray about it?”

We all want verbal encouragement when we share a dream realized with someone.

Afterward, though, one of the women did come up and share with me how great she thought it was. Interestingly enough, I had asked her a year ago to pray for direction for me for something I was doing without telling her what it was. She prayed until I told her her prayers were answered. She never asked what it was about. The next morning I texted her and told her the request had to do with what I had shared.

Is there a point to all this?

Yes.

First, when you share what is to you a big accomplishment be prepared that no one else will get it. No one in this group has any idea how hard this has been. All the new skills I’ve had to learn, al the research and the reading, all the editing and rewriting. Most importantly, the risk I took in sharing.

Secondly, don’t get caught up in your own hurt feelings when the feedback you want isn’t there. People react from their own experiences and feelings. Sometimes we hit a nerve. Sometimes people are jealous. Sometimes people just don’t have a clue. If it had been me hearing the news, I would have been very encouraging to that person. That is not to brag but it’s something I work at because I’ve too often been on the opposite side of encouragement in my life, so I always want to be an encourager.

Third, don’t quit. I could look at that night as a closed-door, meaning if that’s how a group like this responded, is it an indication of how other people will respond? Is it a predictor of failure? Should I quit?

My feelings were hurt. I didn’t sleep well. I totally regretted sharing that information, especially the part about my history of depression. I was still upset the next mornin.

But as this day goes on, I realize their reaction has nothing to do with anything. Either God has called me to this or He hasn’t.

Either God has called me to be honest about my own struggles or He hasn’t.

And if there’s is nothing I doubt (and I doubt a lot of things), it’s that this is God’s calling for me. Sharing my faith is something I’ve done my entire life, through various venues. I won’t stop now.

Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This verse is often taken out of context and misquoted. It does not mean we can do anything we want to do and God will equip us.

Not at all.

As with most verses, you have to read what is said before and after if there are any afters. Paul is referring to his life experiences. He is saying that there have been periods in his life when he has wanted for nothing and there have been times he has lacked the basic necessities, like in jail, which is where he is when he wrote this verse. He is saying he has learned to be content whether in need or want.

Paul is clearly stating that he knows if GOD is behind the circumstances, God will strengthen him and see him through every situation he encounters. It does not mean he can do whatever he wants and God’s promise still applies.

Paul knew his calling. I believe God has called me to this form of ministry, so I, too, say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

By the time I started writing this post, I could already feel the sting going away. A few days later, I was right back on track. It’s now behind me. I made it public and now the next time won’t be so hard.

Fourth, learn from your experiences. When you are hurt and discouraged make sure the words you speak to others are uplifting, kind, encouraging words. Don’t give satan (remember, I won’t capitalize his name) to discourage you and make you doubt in the dark what God has clearly revealed in the light. Take that hurt and become a better not bitter person.

I guess in the light of so many other issues, this might seem very minor to you. Because you haven’t been privy to my struggles I can understand why this might not seem a big deal. Sharing what to me is a dream come true, a fulfillment of my promise to God, was huge and I didn’t want my parade to get rained on.

But. It. Did.

I’m hoping I will learn that their lack of response had nothing to do with me. I am definitely leaving that door open. I want to trust them. I want to feel I can share my deepest dreams or my deepest struggles with them without worrying how it will be received.

But today the sun/Son, is shining in my heart and I can’t wait to get the final editing done and get both books to you.

The first short book, interestingly enough, is about finding your specific “calling”. (A “calling” isn’t necessarily to become a minister, missionary, writer, author, blogger, etc. It’s just that one thing that God has called you to. It doesn’t have to be public and no one else has to even know. You just have to know.) The second e-book is a devotional addressing persons who struggle with depression.

I hope you have a great and blessed day. And remember, if someone shares something that is quite obviously a big deal to them, treat it that way. And don’t discourage anyone from following their dreams.

God bless and have a great day.

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