A friend was sharing with me this week about her “messed up” life. And honestly, to hear her story, you’d probably agree. It’s messy. It’s ugly. It’s painful. It’s one struggle after another.
After letting me in on a few recent developments in her world, she said, “Beth, I’m done. I’m just done!” As tears filled her eyes, she said, “I’m 42 years old and I just feel like running away from it all. I shouldn’t feel like trashing everything and running away from my life at 42 years old!”
My heart broke for her.
There’s a certain dogma that comes with this kind of hurt. Unfortunately, society says that if you feel this way about your life, you must be a weak person. If you’re struggling emotionally, you must lack faith in God. If your life is a mess, you must not be praying hard enough or thinking enough positive thoughts. If things in your life are falling apart, it must be your fault so somehow you gotta suck it up and get over it. And all of these attitudes are easy stones to throw if you sit in a place of little or no strife in your life.
Judgment cast. Verdict rendered. Life stinks.
Is it okay to have messy lives? Is it okay to struggle and feel like running away from it all? Or is that, too, another strike against us?
Check this out:
- “Then Elijah walked for a whole day into the desert. He sat down under a bush and asked to die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he prayed. ‘Let me die…’” (1 Kings 19:4)
- “I hate my life, so I will complain without holding back…” (Job 10:1)
- “I have no more peace. I have forgotten what happiness is.” (Lamentations 3:17)
You see, for Elijah, Job, and Jeremiah life got messy. It was ugly and painful. It was one struggle after another. Were these guys weak? Did they lack faith? Were they just screw-ups who got what they had coming to them? Nope. Not at all.
King David went through similar difficulties. And he didn’t hold back from God either. In Psalm 13 we gather that he felt totally forgotten by God. He felt sadness and defeat. He demanded that God pay attention and answer him. You can totally relate if you’ve ever known painful, messy troubles in your life.
The thing that David, Elijah, Job, and Jeremiah all did in the midst of their pain was keep the lines of communication open between themselves and God. All of them, no matter how raw, or honest, or messy their thoughts, hearts, or lives were, went straight to God.
David, in his rant with God, concluded “But I trust in your unfailing love…” (Psalm 13:6).
There it is—not the solution to all our problems, but perhaps the key to the journey in them. Trusting in God’s unfailing love. Despite what you think about God, He loves you. Despite what you’ve done or failed to do, God loves you. Despite how awful or shameful or humiliated you feel, God loves you. You don’t have to be perfect or well put together.
Running away from your life…or running to God. It’s a messy question. It’s not an easy answer. Just know that God’s unfailing love keeps running right alongside your every move.