The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come”. And let him who hears say, “Come”. And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.
Sometimes we Christians think that we have to hold it all together, that we have to be happy and satisfied because if we are not there might be something wrong with our faith, or with us. This anxiety or guilt arises in many life’s circumstances. Perhaps we don’t hold that belief openly or even very consciously, but it affects how we deal with difficult situations in life. Perhaps it is an expectation of fulfilment we have picked up somewhere along the way, and so when feelings of emptiness or unfulfillment come, which are part of life, we don’t know what to do about that.
Especially those of us in ministry may find it hard to reach out for help, should we need it. Life is often not easy, but it is easier if we can talk to someone about it. There is a power of healing in simply being heard, being listened to, because through it we are acknowledged. We experience that we ‘matter’. Self-care is important for everyone, but especially for those who often have to give of themselves through work or ministry.
The thing is, we do not have to hold it all together. Not all the time. There is no shame in asking for a listening ear, no shame in seeking support. I recently spoke with someone who found this challenging, who found it easier to hide the pain, even though it became overwhelming. Unfortunately, many of us to some degree may choose the same route, it seems safer not to say how we really are, even though we know this won’t help us.
Jesus understands all and every emotion we may be experiencing, from happier ones to the more difficult ones. And He says, “come to me all who are thirsty, all who need rest”. If we use our vulnerability to connect with others, instead of to isolate ourselves, we will greatly benefit. It may seem scary at first, but less scary than feeling alone. Also, we will realise that others are willing to embrace and love us as we are. And then, if we had a burden, when shared, it may eventually lessen, even if slowly, over time. There is a power of healing in being listened to, in being loved as we are. If we need to talk about whatever might be going on in our lives, it is good to do so. Should this apply to you, be kind to yourself and seek someone you trust. In this way we feel less alone. God meets us in each other. And God meets us where we are.
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland