You know that feeling when you finally make it to the gym after 23 years of off-days?
You’re lying on a yoga mat two billion other people sweated on earlier that day and you think to yourself, “Could this possibly be worth it?” You take a deep breath and let Beyoncé give you the energy to lift your head off the matt and pull your knees toward your chest. Then, you feel it. The burn. You stretch your body out and do it again. And there it is, more burn. Over and over again, you repeat this motion. Over and over again, you feel the burn until eventually you either reach your goal or collapse in a sweaty mess because you haven’t done the work to feel the burn leading into today’s workout.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
The burn hurts—we often leave trembling and weak. It doesn't go away immediately. Our muscles ache for days, but if we practice the motions enough, if we are consistent with investing our time, energy and heart, then we become stronger and healthier.
We can fight our enemies with more force and energy (which, in this case, means avoiding the leftover box of Krispy Kreme’s on the corner of my kitchen table).
I want to chat with you today about a different kind of burn, one that leaves us marked deep within our souls and changes who we are forever. I want to talk to you today about our wounds, ones that were given to us from friends who didn’t care, boys who wanted more than they had rights to and parents who were wounded themselves.
Ones that are a result from living in a constant state of debilitating fear and anxiousness.
Deep, aching pain from love lost and people taken from us without our consent.
Life is not always easy. Sometimes it is so hard it takes every ounce of strength just to leave our beds in the morning, let alone be the strong, vibrant young women everyone expects us to be.
Our fight doesn't end once we get out into the world after having the mess beaten out of us. It carries on when we have to cover our brokenness with smiles, laughs, fake energy and dry shampoo. We feel the need to act like we’re not dealing with very real, excruciating and sometimes ugly problems.
This process leads to isolation and eventually defeat.
Opening up the ugly and broken parts of our hearts hurts. It burns deeply. Sharing the pain of our past and present with even our closest friends takes more courage than we often feel we could ever have. We view the other girls in our lives through a distorted lens, thinking they have it all together. Their jobs are exciting and allow them to work in trendy coffee shops around town. Their boyfriends are doting hotties and have money to buy them fancy Kate Spade bags. They work out more than five times a day and don’t have an ounce of fat on their perfectly styled bodies. They are too perfect to experience shame, fear or depression. They seem to have it all together, which leads us to feel like our pain and wounds make us "different" from everyone else and therefore, undesirable.
This is so wrong.
Everyone has experienced some degree of brokenness.
You are not alone in your pain, confusion and fear. Your wounds do not discount you from what God has destined for your life. Do not fall victim to the lies.
I challenge you, God-authored heroine, to be the one to start the wave of authenticity in your tribe. Take a deep breath and exhale your truth. It is okay to be broken. It will burn, but it is a burn that will make you and others in your life stronger.
Let’s be trailblazers, people who mark and prepare a trail through a forest or field for others to follow.
Let us carry our torches, tell our stories, embrace the burn and create a way for others to experience true freedom in Jesus.
If we can muster the strength to be vulnerable and authentic, we can be the heroines for our sisterhood. Our pain reaches their pain and tells them it is okay to hurt, there is a Savior who sees their pain and loves them more than they could ever imagine.
Scripture tells us in Isaiah 61 that God replaces our ashes with beauty. He takes our mourning and despair, gives us instead joy and praise (Isaiah 61:3). When we allow our brokenness to be revealed, He redeems it all and gives in return healing, fullness and freedom.
There is great power and strength that comes with the burn of living an authentic and vulnerable life.
Let us pick up our torches and blaze the way for our sisters.
The burn is worth it.
“ . . . To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
- Isaiah 61:3
I am a worshiper of Jesus Christ, an adoring wife of Jared Runion, an older sister to Jordan McCroskey, a daughter of two high school sweethearts and a part of a world-changing movement of God in Nashville, TN. I am a hopeless romantic, outdoor fanatic, tone-deaf music lover and major Disnerd. I spend most weekends on an airplane traveling to photograph incredible couples or adventuring with Jared. I have a passion for Gods daughters, a love for their hearts and a vision for their lives. I can shop with the best of them and can a pitch a tent faster than my dad… usually.