Have you ever gone through a hardship, and you didn’t want to share it with anyone? But this trial dominates your every waking moment, and even invades your dreams. It seems to last so long, it has become part of you: changing your demeanor, steeling your joy and causing you to become impatient. You bring this crippling secret with you to work, and back home again. It rides with you to church and back home again. You’re doing a great job hiding your storm.…your suffering…. And your burden.
This is MY story! Years ago I would hide my trials, and I did a good job of it. But WHY? Friends, that is the million dollar question! And I have some million dollar reasons! Don’t we all? By nature, I’m a relatively quiet person that doesn’t like a lot of drama. And I didn’t want to be THAT person that always has an issue. You know, THAT person you avoid when you see them coming? So there’s that.
But I was afraid of what people would think; afraid they would think I’m weak; afraid they would judge me harshly. And some pretty significant past hurts caused me to withdraw and distrust people. I basically kept everyone at arm’s length. When you boil down my million dollar reasons, only one thing remained: fear! Fear was driving me to hunker down behind a wall and harbor my storms and hardships like a dirty little secret. But hiding my trials wasn’t as safe as I thought it was.
I felt so alone! And boy was I tired. I was carrying a weight and a burden I wasn’t meant to bear. I thought I was casting my care on God (1 Peter 5:7); I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping this between me and God…….so I thought.
This is why we shouldn’t rely on what we THINK we know: rely on what God knows. (Proverbs 3:5)
I relentlessly pounded out my prayers and maintained my sleepy faith, so I just knew that change was coming. And it was, just not quite how I thought. I expected God to speak to my storm and tell it to be still, but instead He spoke to me and told me to be still and listen. Not once does He talk about my situation. Not once does He mention one single thing about the hard time I was going through. Not one thing.
Instead God tells me to let my walls come down, and to let others in during my trial instead of afterwards. God explains that it is important for others to see His glory revealed in the midst of my difficulty. He tells me to stop hiding my storms, and that I’ve been depriving others of walking in their God-given gifts to encourage me and lift me up with prayer and spiritual support.
God will use whatever means He so chooses to help me, and in this case His gentle rebuke made me aware I was limiting God’s power by limiting God’s people. God used my storm to teach me before He carried me through to the other side.
I had to become vulnerable again, and connect with His people. It was a risky proposition that scared me to death: but it wasn’t safe to stay hidden behind my wall anymore. It didn’t mean that people wouldn’t hurt my feelings, and it could mean that someone might indeed think I’m weak. But remember, I’m not relying on man. I’m trusting in what God told me to do. So I did it. It wasn’t easy, but it was extremely freeing. I began to feel the weights lift off of me. I didn’t have to bear my secret storm alone. I didn’t have to be perfect. Doing what God asked of me, took the pressure off that I had placed on myself…that fear had placed there. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher than ours. Thank God for that, because what *I* was doing wasn’t working. Sometimes WE think we have it all figured out, and we are just too stubborn to make a change.
I encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Please don’t shut out God’s people: be still and listen to HIS strategy for overcoming trials. Galatians 6:2 clearly tells us to “Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings.” There are folks eager to help you in your time of need, just like they were for me, and God will lead you to the right people.