It was the day I failed her. The day I ran out of words and didn’t know what to do. The day she reached out to me, and I brushed her off because I felt incapable of helping her. That was the day I left my tears on my steering wheel and walked into Bible study with my head held high. And wouldn’t you know that would also be the day our small group leader would single me out. The day he would remind my friends, “Rebekah’s not perfect. Rebekah has tears.”
I hated those tears and how they flowed in that moment. Hated that he had chosen this night to point out my weaknesses, as if he knew how badly I had wronged her.
That was the night we all became real. The night we apologized for not seeing when another was hurting because we were all too self-absorbed to notice that needs existed outside of our own. That’s the night my friend said to me what I should have said to my friend whom I had failed a mere hour before.
“I’m sorry,” he confessed. “I’m sorry.”
Then he told me why. Explained how I had always seemed so above him because he had a past I could never possibly understand. “And that’s ridiculous,” he said. “I should have known…”
And that was my permission… To be free. To be vulnerable. To show that I have weaknesses and prove that I have scars. To not be the strong one for once in my life.
There I sat among a group of my peers who were seeking the Lord together. Some of us had walked with God all our lives. Some of us had only recently found Him. Some of us were by all appearances “perfect,” while others had a past that would make you cringe. But not one of us was better than another. Not one of us had reason to be either proud or ashamed. Because not one of us was free of struggles, temptation, or trials.
We’ve all failed at one point or another. We’ve all found ourselves on our knees, begging for forgiveness.
So how is it that we forget that even our saints are struggling? How is it that we neglect to reach out to those among us who are hurting? And why is it that we hide the depths of our pain behind a thin veneer of perfection?
This is me apologizing for all the times you’ve been overlooked. All the times someone has seen you without ever stopping to imagine what heartache you may be experiencing.
And this is me giving you permission to be honest and vulnerable and free. Because I know what it is to fail, and I know what it is to fear that failure. But mostly, I know what it is to carry things alone.
You are surrounded by a community of believers who are waiting for permission to speak freely.
Give it to them.
Give it to yourself.
You have my permission.