I am so incredibly thankful—for my family, for my friends, for my job—but I am also hurting. In this season of grief, God put three things on my heart that I hope might be helpful to others who are also hurting:
1) Your pain matters to God.
Your pain is not insignificant. Your pain is not inconvenient. Your pain is not inappropriate. If your pain puts you further from the cross, it matters to God. You don’t need to prove or defend your pain to Him, because He knows your heart and He sees the things that break it.
Your pain is not from God, but it is an opportunity to depend on God and trust in His Word.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. – James 1:2
2) Your identity does not change.
It is so easy to take on the things that other people say about you, but people are inconsistent. They might build you up one day and then lash out or tear you down the next. If you let that shape the way you see yourself, you might love yourself one day and hate yourself the next.
When God looks at you, He sees what Jesus died to give you. Shift your focus from what’s been done TO you to what’s been done FOR you. God sent His son to die for your righteousness. Claim your identity, cling to your identity, and refuse to let anything else shape it.
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Galatians 3:27
3) Do not condemn yourself when God has not condemned you.
Self-condemnation can be just as dangerous as self-righteousness. Your thoughts can speak so loud that they begin to seem true and real. We are so hard on ourselves, thinking we are not enough, and somehow we convince ourselves that those thoughts come from God.
In my experience, when the Holy Spirit convicts you of something, He does it with love. When the conviction is from the enemy, it makes you feel condemned and defeated. When you feel that way, it can be easy to seek out people who you know will give you praise, which can lead you back to depending on people. The truth is that we aren’t good enough, but Jesus is. Resting in His finished work is the only way to find peace in your pain.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
– Romans 8:1
One of the enemy’s greatest tricks is convincing us that God has turned His back because we aren’t good enough. Don’t let yourself believe that God doesn’t care. God is for you, He is with you, and He loves you with an everlasting love.