Questions from the Shadows

Often the most broken people are the most isolated. The ones least likely to seek help, the least likely to accept help when it's offered.

Why? I can't answer for everyone, but I'm wondering if it's because they feel like there's no cure for what's broken.

There's some pain that isn't easily healed. It's incredibly sensitive, though, and we try to protect it from further hurt by keeping it away from any and all touch. It's not just that we're afraid of being hurt again....we're afraid to try and fail. Failure will confirm that, yes, we really are beyond help. That there's no one that can understand us, no one that can understand our brokenness. It's safer to stay hurt and hidden than to open up for more hurt.

So how do we help those who are hurting? We could go barrelling in with our simplistic answers. Tell them they need Jesus. Pray the sinners prayer with them if they're unbelievers. Tell them to pray and read their Bible more if they're believers. It's all well-intentioned, but as far as I can see, this could drive a person away from God (Who really is, after all, the only One capable of healing this kind of pain.) I mean, what happens after someone commits their life to Jesus, does their devotions and prays regularly and the pain doesn't go away?

I really don't have the whole answer to this. I really want to know though.

How do you meet people where they're really at? How do you get to a place where you can not only give them the Answer (Abba!) that they need but walk side by side with them through from the shadows to the sunlight?


  1. Wow, tough question Frass. I don't have a clue about the answer but part of a thought that came to mind is the importance of sitting with a person in their shadows. I'm afraid that isn't a completely pondered upon thought and I certainly don't know how it would work but it seems important.

  2. I hope my statement doesn't seem simplistic, but I think it would really help if people were honest with each other about thier own hurt. If we all realized that we all have hurt then those with potentially more to bear wouldn't feel so alone or unable to share. I dunno, just a thought. Lisa

  3. Queenheroical, I agree re. sitting alongside in the shadows.

    What my concern is, though, is that presupposes a relationship doesn't it? How do you get close enough to someone so a: you'll know they're hurting THAT much and b: they'll trust you enough to let you.

    Lisa. I agree. That's always been a huge thing for me too. Hence my email signature "Generally, by the time you are Real..."

    What I'm wondering there, though, is that, in my experience, people don't like being around negative people. It's the classic 'How Are You?' that expects nothing but 'Fine.' for an answer. Even close friends and family often have their unload limit.

    I realize that ultimately God is the only One we can completely unload on. I'm blessed to have a husband who I can be completely open with. But what about those that don't have a husband like mine and don't have that trust relationship with God?

    I'd love to hear further discussion on this.

  4. Yes, I am assuming that there must exist some level of relationship – the degree of said relationship may vary however. Some people are just there for a season, others for a lot longer but there have been people in both sets which have had a potent impact on me, in my pain.
    Pain is a funny thing, revealing it is another is very personal, and it can come out at very unexpected times. I have held back telling the people I love about things and yet turned around and drown other (literal strange-r) people with my plights.
    Being a professional duck and weave grand illusionist queen myself - and a person who finds it difficult to trust - I have to say that the people I am more likely to finally open up to are the ones who just keep coming back regardless of how prickly or quiet I may get, for some strange reason they are not put off by my silence places and so eventually I begin to open up the door - some. But it only happens because I choose to do it, there isn’t ever something they have specifically done but love me and waited. For me it is about intention, if I sense a person is trying to “help” me then I pull way back, “I don’t need no stinkin’ help” (so says my brain), but if a person is near just because they like me for who and what and where I am then I am more inclined to “trust” but like parenting this means quantities of time in order to capture the quality moments. That is difficult to do. So it comes back to God and pat responses from here, we are only of use to those we love, to those who hurt, to those anywhere if He chooses us to be. My job however is to be a little less clung on, to my own hurt, to my own pain.
    I like David’s point (one he made recently anyway) that the only way to really show love is through service. Ask him his story it is a good one. But then again we come back to how and when and where and what do we serve?



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