The Courage to Speak Up
Day 5 of Calm My Anxious Heart, Lord
“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
(Psalm 51:15-17, ESV)
“Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.”
(Psalm 102:1-5, ESV)
Being honest about your mental health is hard. We have learned from experience to answer the question “How are you?” with words like “good” or “fine.” We’ve even been conditioned to ask the question without truly wanting an answer. We’ve been taught through the actions and reactions of others that fear, worry, or struggling with your mental health is a sign of weakness. In a society where power and success are king, the idea of showing weakness or flaws has become taboo. If you’re not advancing in your workplace and meeting age-appropriate criteria, all the while remaining strong and independent, you are viewed as a failure. Just reading that, can you see how flawed that logic is? How do we break that cycle? Honesty.
On Day Two we discussed the importance of honesty and how it can benefit you and those around you. As scary as it may sound, opening up about your struggles is the most liberating experience. Personally, I had built up walls and locked myself inside, only to have it all come crumbling down. It was terrifying to be so openly broken, but I physically could not hide it anymore. It wasn’t until then that I realized I didn’t have to live like that. The more honest I was with the thoughts and feelings I was having, the less weight they carried. I began sharing thoughts, fears, worries, heartbreaks, and more that I had never shared before, and while some may not have fully understood, I received from many love and compassion in return. Not only that, but others started talking about what they struggled with personally as well.
It’s a beautiful thing to be honest and broken. It takes a few “what ifs” off your mind, like “what if no one cares?” or “what if everyone thinks I’m crazy?” We already know those aren’t true. It also opens up the opportunity for people to rally around you. When we are open with our struggles, it allows our family and friends to lend a helping hand. People will check in, take you out for food, take things off your plate, and encourage you as you struggle through anxiety. It’s amazing what God can do with a few good men (and women).
All this might sound great, but maybe you’re still scared. Maybe you’ve tried before and it didn’t help. I encourage you to seek the Lord. We must be honest with God first. We see this kind of honesty in so many prayers and psalms in the Bible. In Psalm 102 the psalmist writes of his overwhelming brokenness; he tells the Lord exactly how he feels. That’s all the Lord wants from us. He wants us to come humbly before Him with our mistakes, heartaches, fears, worries, and pains. The glorious truth is that He hears you and loves you. We can come before Him without fear of judgment, but with assurance of love, grace, mercy, and compassion. He hears and He helps. Maybe He gives you peace for the moment, sends a friend to help, or eases your burden. Whatever it may be, I can promise He helps. What a wonderful God we serve!
My challenge to you today is to be honest before the Lord. Lay your burdens at His feet. Ask Him to help give you the courage you need to open up about your struggles. Ask Him to open the ears of a friend, relative, or trusted person to hear you and give you a helping hand. I am so thankful for the helping hands God has brought me. He heard my cries, brought peace to my heart, and gave me incredible friends and family to stand by my side when I felt like I was falling apart. He loved me in and through my brokenness. I can assure you that He will hear and He will help you.