16/03/2021

Hellish Help

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:30 am by The Water Bearer

You know that feeling where you feel disconnected from those around you, when no one understands your heart or intentions, where you feel accused, misjudged, attacked, unsafe. When you feel that no one sees your value or allows you to be your worst self and let it be ok. When no one gives you the benefit of the doubt and every tiny thing you do is under a magnifying glass and scrutinized. You feel fragile and exposed but even when you seek God in that moment you can’t seem to truly connect to Him. It’s enough to make the best of us shut down, or crumble into a puddle of tears, or erupt in a cyclone of unpredictable emotions.

These feelings all bubble to the surface because deep down you feel you’re not good enough, no matter what you do, or how hard you try, there’s always a critic, waiting to pounce on you for pulling a facial expression you didn’t know you were pulling while a torrent of emotions overwhelm you… I’m mean it’s not like we can see our own face looking out at other people… right!

Most of the time you try to press those feelings down and say “I’m fine” to anyone who asks. This is a protection strategy, because during these dark times you are extremely vulnerable. You know you can’t trust yourself to be in that state around other people because all self-control and self-esteem has left the building. You know from past experience that you can’t trust others to get it, to give the validation, compassion and empathy you crave, and adding their misunderstanding to that level of vulnerability is like a Molotov Cocktail for your sanity!

This my lovelies is HELL… It’s a place filled by these fearful voices of the enemy deep inside us. I’ve be writing about Hell for a long time, about the sanctifying process it holds, bringing to light our fears from deep within so they can be seen and then cleared out, so they won’t unconsciously pollute our behaviour and our faith. But I’ve only just realised what others can do to help someone who is in Hell.

So this post is for me to learn and practice more than anyone, because I’m so sensitive to their hell I want to fix it. The closer you are to me, the more I want to stop your tears, but I now realise that these tears are precious, and necessary, and being “Happy” all the time is disingenuous and unable to bring growth. If we aren’t growing we are just dying, if our loved ones aren’t growing they are dying. So encourage the tears to fall, to water that authentic growth. God wants us to be authentic and healthy and free from the lie that we aren’t good enough. So we all must give our loved ones a safe place to unload their tears so they can get the relief and the lessons and eventually the blessings that Hell brings.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

How to Handle Hell

1.Never give Advice to someone in Hell. They can’t do shit in that moment… Nothing. If you understand what hell is like, then imagine someone giving you advice, you’ll probably understand why it made the top of my list. Wait until they ask “What should I do?”

2. Listen with eye contact if possible, and stay engaged with sympathy sounds, hmmm…Yeah… tutt… Oh.. geeze…

3. Ask them questions about their pain. Allow them to lean into the discomfort and have empathy (even if they are upset because of you). “Do you feel … Misunderstood? Attacked? Blamed? Like nothing you do is good enough? I hate that.. it sux to feel like that”. As I mentioned in a recent post…Validation is vital.

4. See their truth… This is so important… Look past your own fears, needs, desires, self talk, and try to truly see them, to feel their pain, to give them grace to pull faces and say nasty things and recognise they don’t mean anything by it, they aren’t to blame, they are just in hell. They are frantically battling demons and you are just getting hit with friendly fire.

5. Never talk about yourself or say “I understand” before they’ve unloaded. Saying ‘I understand’ or “I’ve been there” or “same” cuts them off so they can’t explain any more. They don’t get the freedom to ramble about it, to unload, to cry deeper and release more pain from within. We learn heaps about ourselves when we talk about ourselves. Wait until every question you can think to ask has been asked, and they begin to feel better, then say “I can’t tell you what to do but if you like, I can tell you what I did in a similar situation?”

6. Watch for your own fears. Often when we see someone we care for going through something difficult we get triggered too. Especially if it is our child or spouse, because we immediately take on some guilt that we were unable to protect them from such pain. When our emotions become fearful, we automatically go into control mode, we want to fix it. This is why we try to give advice like in lesson no.1. It’s also why we start talking about our own pain in no.5 and no.7, because we can so easily relate to theirs. But that makes the situation and conversation about us and that doesn’t help them.

7. Remind them that the enemy is up to his old tricks, lying to them in their thoughts and using their emotions of shame, telling them they aren’t safe, or aren’t good enough. Give them countering truths against these lies. Reassure them that they are more than good enough and loved even at their worst… Jesus made one hell of a journey just because he loves the worst of us most! Encourage them that the enemy has been defeated by the cross and this will pass and bring amazing interactions with God and huge growth of faith.

As I mentioned before in this blog and many others, there is a very important purpose to Hell, and there is no avoiding it, even if you’re “saved”. Hell is the furnace that purifies the flesh and soul. It reveals our worst selves so that we know where the enemy is getting in and that helps us know where to direct our attention as we grow in faith and towards the best version of ourselves. So the next time you or a loved one are going through a season of Hell, get out this blog, and use these tips to support each other through it. It just may help the Hellish phase pass far more quickly than resisting it, because in that moment you get to be the arms of Jesus, holding your loved one and helping them find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Every time I learn something cool about God or understand a little more how much the devil sucks, I write a blog so I can treasure the lesson. This lesson is huge! Its a game changer and it effects every single one of us. Thank you Lord for sharing your wisdom with us!

 

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