Broken, battered, fallen plants. It’s a natural way of life. They grow anyway, usually.
A windstorm can snap off a brittle stem or flatten a stand of wild grasses or wheat. A hailstorm can rip off flower petals as well as any angry toddler.
When the storm passes, the stems grow upward again. Often they climb a nearby plant for support, whether or not that companion was likewise damaged. Sometimes the support is mutual, and the intertwined stems do together what they could not do alone.
It is not uncommon to find vining plants knocked off their trellises after a storm.
We all have experienced the awareness from time to time of being broken and battered. Some days, it can seem a monumental task to keep standing when you are drained emotionally. A friend confided that she felt a huge strain of being the “best person she could be.”
Her friend gave a response worth repeating. “Your honesty about yourself is exactly the right method for being the best person you can be!”
It is a great blessing to have people that you can talk with about your own deficiencies — and even feelings of deficiency. In fact, it is prescribed in Scripture!
“So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness” (James 5:16, NET).
The word “sin” here is hamartia, best translated as “missing the mark.” We are imperfect people in an imperfect world. We miss the mark again and again. The storms of life flatten us as badly as the wind knocks down the pretty flowers, beating them to the ground to wallow in the mud.
But we must arise from the filth! The flowers do.
When gathering a bouquet, I am often astonished that the stems that looked a little short in the garden were actually the part of a longer stem along the ground. The new growth went straight upward after being ruthlessly blown over.
We all miss the mark; constantly, repeatedly, in spite of our efforts not to do so. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Yes, it is exhausting and frustrating. But there is a remedy for that frustration while we are on earth, and that is to confess our struggles to one another.
Some mistakenly think this means to tell the whole assembly. There are certainly times when this is the right thing to do.
But it’s more helpful to have a few trusted friends who can commiserate with you and lift you up personally in prayer! You can also be accountable to friends who know your struggles.
It may be a family member, spouse, parent, child, or someone who is that friend “closer than a brother” of Proverbs 18:24.
Do you risk possible rejection? Yes.
Open up in little things first. Find someone who can be trusted. That’s a tough task! Many of us will not ever find that kind of friend.
In the meantime, pour out your heart to God. He listens. We are not guaranteed earthly friends who can be trusted to help us grow and thrive after being thrown down by life. We ARE guaranteed the listening ear of God himself!
“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:15, NASB).
Take time to make Christian friends, if for no other reason than to help others in their journey through this dirty mess we call “life.”