The praise and worship was wonderful, and I was enjoying every minute of it. But the men who comprised the worship band were an unlikely combination. The twenty-something pianist and drummer had a hippie look going on….long hair and a scraggly beard. The teenage guitarist had a youthful, boyish face. Then there was the middle-aged and straight-laced backup singer.
He stuck out like a sore thumb. The other band members were sporting their ratty T-shirts and blue jeans, and this gentleman had on a brightly-colored ironed golf shirt and neatly-pressed slacks. His hair was closely cropped and at nine o’clock at night he did not even have a five o’clock shadow.
One of these things was not like the others.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in? Like there was something that made you stand out from your coworkers or group of friends? Feeling different is both awkward and uncomfortable. We all have a deep need to feel loved and accepted.
I believe that many Christian women struggle with feeling like they do not fit in. During the sermon at church, our eyes wander throughout the room and we see the women who have it all together, and our own deficiencies are magnified. Their polished exterior communicates a successful mastery of this Christian life. And we had an emotional meltdown before we ever made it out of the house.
We feel like we are the only one struggling to have a consistent quiet time. We are the only one feeling ashamed of our past sins. We are the only one waiting for a husband. We are the only one taking medication for depression. We are the only one struggling with feelings of suicide.
There was a season in my life where I had panic attacks. To get through the day, I had to take Valium in the morning and Valium in the evening. I usually had a panic attack before we left the house to go to church. Imagine how I felt when I arrived at church and saw all of the perfect church women… Their faith must be so strong and amazing, and mine was surely deficient since I felt so anxious. I stopped praying for people on the ministry team because I felt like my faith wasn’t good enough. I was the only one who had to take Valium just to come to church.
Girlfriend, whatever it is that is your struggle, YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE.
You are not the only suffering from chronic pain. You are not the only one who feels weak in her faith. You are not the only one who yells at her children. You are not the only one whose marriage is on the brink of divorce. You are not the only one who is mired in debt and can’t pay her bills. You are not the only one seeing a therapist.
The Devil’s most powerful refrain is “YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE.”
You are not.
I am right there with you.
The Apostle Paul, who is a spiritual icon, was frail and weak himself. In 2 Corinthians 12:10, he says that he delighted in weakness, his hardships, and his difficulties. This great spiritual man knew a spiritual truth: when he was weak, God was strong in Him.
In your depression
in your frustration
in your defeat
in your temptation
in your failure
in your fear
and even in your shame
GOD IS STRONG IN YOU.
Your struggle is where you are today….it is not where you will be tomorrow, or even next week. Today’s weakness yields tomorrow’s strength. It is through this struggle today that your faith is built. When you discover hope at the bottom of your rope, it becomes a tool in your faith belt that is there when the next trial comes. Your victory in today’s struggle is the foundation that your faith is built upon.
I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggle. We are all struggling. We are just not brave enough to admit it.
Will you be courageous and share your struggle with me in the comments? I would love to pray for you.