When life hurts, pray for comfort. When you feel sad, pray for peace. When you’re angry, pray for joy. When you’re sick, pray for healing. When you’re poor, pray for money. When you’ve lost your favorite pair of socks, pray that they’re found. Pray for a perfect life. Pray to be shielded from whatever trials come. When life storms, find the silver lining and move out from under the cloud.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? But that’s not the way it works and life still hurts.
I can’t just pray everything away. I have to endure.
…but I don’t want to hurt.
Enter Hollywood and their entirely unrealistic, yet somewhat believable portrayal of men and their role in validating and sustaining their woman –> Willing to risk everything for the woman he instantly fell in love with at first glance, always knows the right thing to say at the right time and it’s certainly always dramatic, poetic and beautiful, wouldn’t even give other girls a passing glance and if his woman messed up he wouldn’t ever hold it against her for even the slightest second. Mr. Perfect — and I set out to find me one of those.
Marriage is a wonderful, beautiful thing — but it isn’t a Nicholas Sparks movie. It isn’t scripted. Justin is the most loving, caring, sweet man I know, but he doesn’t always have the perfect words when I need encouragement or advice. No one gave him a script.
When we got married, I turned to him for comfort and validation. I let him make me happy and support me. He was the one I turned to when I needed something. However, that’s too much weight for one person to hold. I can’t give Justin everything he needs. I can’t always validate him, give him the love he needs, say the right things or comfort him the right way. And he can’t do those things for me.
It was a hard lesson to learn. Hollywood was telling me I didn’t find the perfect one, but, actually, I did.
Now that we’ve been married for 5 years, my focus has shifted towards having a house and having children and deep inside I have this hope that those things will give me purpose and comfort.
That’s the way life is, it seems. It hurts all the time and we spend our time looking for the next thing to come along to help ease some of the pain. Church, relationships, food, money, children, homes, careers, things…all in the hopes of finding comfort and relief.
One thing that I’m learning is that life is meant to hurt. It will always hurt. Sure, you can find temporary relief in the pew at a church or in the arms of one you love, but it will never be fully satisfying. It’s just a pain killer, not a remedy. Aspirin, not heart surgery.
Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, “Kallie, you have it all wrong. You can find comfort in a church, listening to a sermon and singing the latest songs from Christian radio. Wear your Christian t-shirt and read your Bible 30 minutes a day. When you workout, listen to this Christian workout station I created on Pandora. Immerse yourself in all of these Christianized things and you won’t feel it anymore.”
But I say you have it all wrong. Enclosing myself in a sanctified bubble isn’t going to ease the pain.
Here’s what I think will.
Being honest with yourself. Admit you’re struggling. Allow yourself to be weak. Explore your emotions and really let yourself feel them deeply.
Being honest with someone else. Find someone you can trust to confide in. Not just someone who will only listen, but someone who can encourage you and build you up. Someone who will check in with you many times after the initial conversation. Someone who cares about you.
Being honest with God. Yell, scream, curse, cry — let it all out. Let Him know exactly how you feel. Let Him know exactly where you’re struggling. Let Him know exactly what you think you need.
Be patient. Here’s the secret — life will always, always, always hurt. There will always be sad and sometimes traumatic circumstances. Praying and trusting in God doesn’t prevent these things from happening. Praying and trusting in God helps to change your heart and your mind. It helps you to see clearer when the storm is raging. It gives you peace to be able to sing songs of joy when you’re suffering. It reminds you that it’s not over yet. It will get better. Then worse. Then better. Then bad. Then really good. Then sucky. Then good. It’s a huge cycle of good and bad.
Never give up hope. Your story isn’t over yet.
“2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:2-5