I Am With You. I Hear You. I Am Here.

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I get a ton of messages like this:

“I screwed up real bad this time.”

“I don’t know what happened, I fell again.”

“I keep messing up and I’m numb to myself.”

“I can’t ever get back to how it used to be.”

“Please help, I can’t get past this.”

“I’ll always be stuck. I will never move forward.”

I read each message two or three times, top to bottom and as slowly as possible. I try to reply to every single one, but there are so many and so heartbreaking that it gets overwhelming.  Even now, I’m shaking from the emotional overload of such honest, busted up hearts.

Here’s the thing. If you even cared to reach out to ask for help, that’s an amazing first step in the right direction.  To those who say, “It bothers me that I don’t care anymore,” the fact that you’re bothered about not caring means that you care.  If you’re compelled towards the tiniest shred of honesty about your issue, this is worth celebrating. Really.

It’s because you’re getting to the end of yourself. You tried it your way and you’re seeing it doesn’t work.  You’re owning up to it.  You’ve stopped blaming others or your city or your job or the house you grew up in. No one wants to get humbled the hard way, but it’s happened: you’re now able to say, “It’s me, I’m the problem, and I want this to change.”

This is nothing short of a supernatural miracle.


Dear friend: Honesty is the first step to healing. It’s only with a surgical self-confrontation that you can be liberated from the lies you have believed. You can see the lie for what it really is.  It’s only by stepping back from the momentum of darkness that has swallowed up your vision will you begin to see once more. The light is staggering, blinding, painful, and even humiliating, but to see yourself as you really are is to begin the path to be set free.

No one wants to hear the truth about themselves — but if you deny any lies about your own life, it will control you for the rest of your life.  It’s when we know we are blind that we first truly see.

So please don’t beat yourself up too long.  Don’t wait for someone else’s answer to “set you straight.” Celebrate each step. We are fellow travelers on this jagged road, in the same turbulent sea, the same sand-swept desert, climbing this impossible mountain.  I don’t know any more than you do.  There are no magical formulas or a perfect phrase to get you through.  But in our honesty, we can find we are not alone.

At the bottom, we peel away our desperate manic urge to control and manipulate and validate. We lay down our weapons of the kingdom of self, where our tyranny has de-throned. We finally say, “I can’t.” And perhaps there, we see at the bottom the first glimpse of divinity, and we can exhale, “But You can.”

It’s there that you can see the next heavy step you must take: and I hope you take it. It’s painful, but whether you sit or stand, either will hurt anyway.  Whether you stay down or move forward, either is agony. Whether you choose self-pity or choose healing, it will sting. So I hope you choose healing. I hope you choose Him anyway.

The path is long and arduous, but I’m with you, dear friend.

My heart hurts for you, but there was one who hurt all the way to death on a cross, and all the way to life from a tomb.

And so He is here too, with us. He says, “I am.”  It is enough.

— J.S.


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