I have been a preacher a long time. In all my years of ministry, I have encountered thousands upon thousands of people. I have spent time with people who completely embrace all that I believe, and I have talked with those who totally reject my beliefs. My contact with people has sometimes surprised me, but usually, I have noticed similar patterns that keep reappearing.
Here is what I think is really going on in most people’s lives.
I think you are worried. You are anxious about the future. You worry about your finances, your job, your parenting, your future and the future of the world. I think that at night you lie awake replaying every day and hope tomorrow will be better.
I think you are scared. You are afraid of what people think about you. You are afraid your marriage is a charade. You fear that something will happen to someone you love. You have insurance on everything, but your insecurity has never been higher.
I think you are lonely. You desperately want to connect with people on a deep level. You want to share your heart with someone and know they will care while loving you completely. You are present on social media yet feel alone. You may even be surrounded by people, but you never let your guard down. When you do start to connect with someone you try to undermine what you feel so you do not get hurt.
I think you are hurting. Someone has hurt you. Something has hurt you. The scars on your soul are open and still festering, but you never talk about it to anyone. When you are alone, you cry and can’t seem to tell other people what you are feeling. You might even drink to dull the pain, but the next day you feel the same way. You think no one knows or will understand.
I think you feel guilt and regret. When you have quiet moments, you do not feel the goodness of love and beauty. You replay your failures. Your mistakes haunt your mind and will not let you rest. You want to confess your sins to someone, but you are afraid it will destroy your relationships. Every year it gets worse, and you do not know what to do about it.
I think you are worried that you are the only one who feels this way. You look at the world and believe most of the people you know have it all together. Their marriage is perfect, and their children have no flaws. Surely, they must be happy and have a level of peace you do not know. You think their lives are wonderful with no struggles and you are alone on this island inside your mind.
I am here to let you know simply we all struggle with the same things. None of us have the peace and clarity we want in our lives. You are not alone. All of us are a mess. If we claim we are not that way it is because we are insecure about telling the truth.
Jesus did not come to save those who were perfect from making future mistakes. He came to take us who are full of flaws and give us a better future. He did the same for all of us. I think you need to stop trying to fool yourself and embrace yourself as a person in need of grace and mercy. Just like the rest of us.