Sometimes when we are in the midst of a personal struggle, on top of all of the emotional turmoil that comes with it we can also feel worthless. Its as if we are so far down in the dumps that we could not possibly have anything to offer anyone else. I know I tend to get this way sometimes. I am in the midst of such a struggle and it seems that God keeps reminding me that I can still be an encouragement to others who are struggling. We are in the midst of a series at church called “On A Mission”. A consistent theme in our pastor’s teaching is RESTORATION. “God’s original intent is his final intent” you will often hear him say. When God created the world and mankind and said “It is GOOD“, he meant it. We made it ugly by trying to be like God and allowing our selfish ambitions to control us, thus inviting sin and destruction into His beautiful creation. But God didn’t decide to give it all up and just let it go. Since the minute Eve tasted the fruit God put into action a plan of redemption and restoration for his precious creation and he wants us to be part of that plan. That can be a daunting thought for some of us. I think about being the hands and feet of God, meeting the needs of the “poor and needy” or the broken spirited people around me and sometimes all I can think is, “I’m the poor and needy one. I’m the one who is broken. I’m the one in need of someone to minister to me.” I am just being transparent. But I realized that just because I am broken, I can’t ignore the others I come in contact with who have the same needs for healing and restoration that I do. In fact, God can use me in someone else’s life just as I am…brokenness and all. IN FACT…I think much more healing occurs when we allow ourselves to be used in the midst of our brokenness. I can see a few ways this happens.
First, we can really meet people where they are if we know what they’re going through because we’re going through it ourselves. Its not a pity party…its an empathy that builds bridges. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses…” (Heb 4:15) Jesus modeled this himself. We forget sometimes that Jesus was fully human and experienced the same trials we do. Knowing that makes it so much easier for me to enter into this trust relationship with Him where I know he cares for me and wants to heal me.
Second, you will always experience healing in your own life when you open yourself up to be part of someone else’s healing and restoration. So many times I have realized that when I am sharing encouraging words to a friend who is struggling, those same words minister to me and what I am going through. The strength and encouragement they offer to someone else become real to me also. What a beautiful picture of redemption!
Third, it stands to reason that when we take our eyes off of our own struggles long enough to meet the needs of another person, it sheds a whole new light on what we are going through. Often times we get a new perspective that can help us work something out that we have been struggling with. If nothing else, it takes our eyes off of ourselves and focuses on being a light to someone else. This can be a refreshing change of scenery. I think you will also find that its in the times when our focus is on someone else’s needs that God dives into the depths of our brokenness, working and moving and providing healing that we may not even be aware of at the time.
So if you are feeling worthless because you are going through a struggle that seems to have consumed you, remember that you can still be used in God’s plan of restoration. You can still be a light to someone else in the darkness. You can still offer love and encouragement to someone else going through a trial. You can be a wounded healer.