When Our Hidden Struggles Are Revealed
I walked into church hoping no one would notice. Unfortunately, the pastor was among the first to approach me. He asked if I realized my shirt was see-through. When I asked what all he could see, he assured me he could see everything.
Thankfully, the pastor is my husband.
I sat on the front row with my see through shirt—very exposed and vulnerable. How did I get here? I held back tears from stress, overwhelm, and embarrassment. The tears weren’t just about my shirt, though. For the first time, my public exposure made me see my real self. I was exhausted from trying to appear perfect.
As a new mom and pastor’s wife, my insecurities felt to be on display. Daily life was difficult for me. I didn’t want others to see this side of me, for fear of appearing irresponsible. However, all my efforts to hide my struggles were too exhausting.
We see a similar picture of a worn out woman in Luke 8. As Jesus made his way toward the synagogue to see a young girl who was dying, large crowds surrounded him. Within the large crowds was a woman who was done trying to hold everything together.
She had been sick with constant bleeding for twelve years and felt desperate for healing. Luke 8:43 explains that she had spent all money visiting physicians, yet there was no cure. Constant bleeding for twelve years would not have only been physically and emotionally painful. This type of illness would have also kept her in isolation, hidden or shunned from social and religious relationships.
Walking through the crowds, Jesus suddenly felt someone touch him. In this moment the woman realized she was no longer hidden, yet healed.
This healing, however, didn’t come without fear, shame and vulnerability. We see in Luke 8:47 that she came trembling and fell at Jesus’s feet.
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Luke 8:47 (ESV)
Experiencing health problems, whether with our mental or physical health, can feel lonely and scary. There’s a fear that no one will understand what we are going through. There is also fear of judgement from others, or worse, pity.
Sometimes our greatest hope of healing is to expose our suffering—both to Jesus and our friends.
Unlike this woman, my see-through shirt exposure wasn’t intentional. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to pull off the well-polished life I tried so hard to maintain. This forced me to finally expose my overwhelm and exhaustion. In order to receive the freedom and healing we desire, we must come clean with what we’ve been gripping so tightly.
Do you desire the freedom that’s on the other side of exposure? Revealing our hidden struggles is scary. However, the healing is worth it.
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