Everyone of us have been through at least one storm that you thought at the time would bring you down.
But there is one factor about your storm that you’ve probably never thought about or heard anyone talk about before.
Sure you know that your storm was painful and you were scared and worried. But there is another aspect to your storm you’ve might not have ever thought about. It compounds our pain and makes us feel like we haven’t ever really come through the storm. It’s the part that makes us feel stuck and that we just can’t move on. It leaves the deepest scar.
What is this factor?
It’s the reality that not only was your storm painful, but it was also embarrassing.
It was embarrassing when you were going through it and it’s embarrassing to you even now that the storm is over with.
What is the most painful thing that you’ve been through? Got it in your mind?
There’s a good chance it was embarrassing too.
Bankruptcy…painful & embarrassing
Divorce…painful & embarrassing
Affair your spouse had…painful & embarrassing
Losing your job…painful & embarrassing
Wedding being called off…painful & embarrassing
Raped or molested…painful & embarrassing
Prodigal child who is living the exact opposite of everything you taught them…
AA…painful & embarrassing
Being arrested & investigated by CPS…painful & embarrassing
If you could take a magic eraser to your life that would be the part you wish you could make disappear.
I want to ask you the most important question you’ll ever hear when it comes to pain…What if the thing you are most embarrassed about will become your greatest contribution to the world? What if the thing that hurt you the most God wants to use to help others?
I believe that is 100% true.
I also think that Satan believes that too. And because this is true it’s where the shame comes from. Satan is trying to keep you from having your greatest impact.
We often aren’t helped by others strengths. There’s a fine line between inspiration and discouragement. I’ve found I’m helped more by others honesty & humility in their weaknesses.
More often I’m discouraged not inspired by others strengths. Have you found that to be true? Someone always sells more houses than you do. Someone always reads more books than you do. Someone loses weight faster than you do. Someone’s time on their 5K is always better. Everyone else’s kids are better behaved and you are just trying to keep your kids from eating their boogers!
It’s easier to get discouraged than it is to get inspired.
Think about it this way…
Do you believe that no one is perfect?
Then why do you spend all of your time trying to project the image that you are?
When I read through the Gospels there are some embarrassing stories recorded that I bet the disciples wished were left out. Especially when it comes to Peter.
For example Peter and the other disciples are in a boat caught in the middle of a literal storm and out of nowhere Jesus appears walking on the water (Matthew 14:27-33). When Peter sees Jesus he moves from being afraid to bold. He steps out on the water walks a short distance before he starts to sink. He goes from hero to zero in a matter of a few feet.
I’ve always been fascinated by that little detail. No one else wanted to try it, but Peter. If I was one of the disciples, I would have been envious of Peter’s bold faith and then when he starts to sink I’d grow self-righteous.
Jesus asks Peter why he doubted? It’s an embarrassing question that we all know the answer to. It’s the same answer we give for our doubts…I didn’t believe you were bigger than what I was facing…I thought this was bigger than you…I thought you didn’t care anymore.
Its one of those stories I’m glad it’s recorded. Quite a few stories are recorded about Peter that aren’t flattering.
The most infamous one is shortly after Peter said he was ready to die for Jesus he ends up denying even knowing who Jesus was…3 times! Imagine that! He denies Jesus while Jesus is dying. Embarrassing!
I’m glad these embarrassing stories were included in the Gospels. They help me not to feel like such a loser.
When I read about Peter preaching at Pentecost and 3000 people accepting Christ, I think “Cool!” but that doesn’t really help me.
What helps me are those embarrassing moments that I bet Peter wished were left out of the gospels.
His painful and embarrassing moments actually help me more than his successes.
If it’s true of Peter…it’s true of your story as well. Your struggles, your embarrassing moments will help others.
Here is what I want to encourage you to do when you are in the middle of a storm so you can help people later…
Get a Notebook.
It can be anything. It can be the notes app on your phone. It can be a journal. A Moleskin. Anything.
Here is what I want you to do with it. I want you to record what you are feeling. I want you to record the questions that you have and the questions you’re asking others. I know you won’t have answers for them, but I want you to write them down anyway. I want you to record the verses that encouraged you or a message, a song, a movie. A phrase that kept you going. A prayer that you prayed over and over again.
Don’t trust your memory. You think the storm was so painful you’ll never forget it, but you’ll forget some stuff. The weakest ink is better than the strongest mind. Write it down. All of it.
Here is why I want you to do this.
When your storm is over God will bring someone to you who is going through what you went through.
Why? Because God never wastes a pain.
You don’t have to wonder if God wants you to share it with this person….of course He does. It’s not an accident you went through what they are going through.
When God brings them to you pull out your notebook…
“I bet you are feeling like this right now…I bet you are asking this question…”
“I am!…How did you know?!? Are you reading my mail? Are you psychic?”
“No, I felt the same way. Let me share this promise from Scripture with you… Here is a truth that kept me going… This song brought so much comfort and peace to my soul…”
He comforts us in all our troubles (why?) so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
God is saying I’m not going to waste your pain. One of the ways God is going to comfort others is through you and your storm. It’s part of God working that pain for good.
Which leads to the second thing I want you to do…
This thing you are embarrassed about you need to tell someone about it. God has done a new work in you. Satan wants you to feel ashamed and not share what happened. I’m not saying you should be proud of what happened. I’m saying you should recognize that’s not who you are today.
Here is the caveat…wait until the storm is over before going public. Wait until you have healed. And when you go public don’t try to burn people who may have hurt you. That’s not helpful that’s vengeful. God will take care of it.
Maybe you are thinking… “If I tell people I use to be an alcoholic, I’ll lose my friends.”
Is that the type of people you really want as your friends in the first place?
Do you want to spend your whole life worrying about who is going to leave you or spend your life helping people?
There are people who need what you’ve learned.
Who best to help someone through recovery…
Who best to help someone who has been raped or molested…
Who best to help someone through the loss of a spouse…
Who best to help someone go through bankruptcy or avoid it…
Who best to help someone who spouse cheated on them…
Who best to help a parent with a prodigal child…
Who best to help someone who went through a miscarriage…
…than someone who has been through it.
What could your story do? Comfort others with the same comfort God has given you.