Isn’t it great when we feel strong and powerful? It would be nice to feel that way all the time, but then we would rely on our own strength and not on the strength of our Father.
Have you ever felt small? It’s hard when we are going through difficult times and feel like we don’t have any control over a situation:
- a job loss
- a child is sick
- death of a loved one
- a marriage is in trouble
- a bad health report
- financial struggles
- low self-esteem
- crisis in the world
- life is taking a different direction than you planned.
It wasn’t too long ago when I was experiencing several of these at once. I was still very sick and didn’t know why; we had just moved to a new city and I didn’t know anyone. We had found a church, but I hadn’t met anyone yet. I’d recently lost my Mom, and the pressures of being home alone all day sick and not in a career that I loved were starting to take a toll on me and my husband.
I was feeling small and insignificant.
I had continually prayed for God to change my circumstances, but I knew this also meant changing what I was doing and how I was thinking. God wasn’t going to just make people appear in my life – I needed to get out there.
I Felt Like a Freak
This may sound easy enough, but that meant being vulnerable and letting people in. This is hard for introverts to do in normal circumstances. It was made much harder because my illness was causing very odd symptoms that made me look and feel like a freak sometimes – well, most times.
I was very self-conscious. My eyes were very sensitive to light. Most days I required sunglasses to tolerate any light at all. My hands and feet were very cold most of the time and they had a burning sensation, so while everyone else was wearing cute shoes and fun outfits, I would have heavy socks on with boots; I’d need to wear leather gloves to keep my hands from hurting.
If these things weren’t bad enough, my body had ballooned from the illness; I didn’t even recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. So many times I would sit in the closet and just cry because items I’d just purchased the month before no longer fit.
Would anyone see Kim when I introduced myself? Would they bother to look beyond all the layers I required at that time to see the person underneath who desperately wanted and needed to connect with someone? Or would they just see the exterior? I didn’t want to be known as “the sick person,” I just wanted to be Kim.
It took a lot of faith and praying to get me out that door the first few times, and things didn’t always go so well. Some people weren’t kind. I realized this wasn’t a reflection on me – it was a reflection on their character. They didn’t have the wisdom to understand yet that we all go through difficult times in life. We all feel small at times. We still just want to be loved and accepted.
I believe that God gives us these difficult times as gifts (yes, I said gifts) to make us look at Him and not ourselves. He also gives us the opportunity to learn new perspectives that we never would have had if we hadn’t taken this journey.
The next time you are feeling small, don’t look at it as a handicap; take the opportunity to focus your attention on God and on your surroundings. See what He wants you to learn from it. Pay attention. You will be able to help someone with the lessons you learn.
Most importantly, don’t get stuck in neutral. It’s so easy to lose focus and get caught in a cycle of pity, anger or depression. Two of the best ways you can avoid this is to keep your eyes focused on Jesus and by serving others. That way you don’t have time to worry about yourself. Have a trusted adviser or circle of friends you are accountable to. Have faith in God’s plan for your life.
When you see someone else going through a difficult time, remember they are also in a growth stage. They may also feel like a freak. Give them respect and dignity just the same as you would want. You don’t know the road they have traveled. We are all here to love our neighbor.
Linking up here this week.