I wish someone had told me that grown-up girls shed a lot of tears in secret, wipe the mascara stains carefully from beneath their eyes, and emerge from behind closed doors with brave smiles on their faces.
I also wish they had told me that it’s better to weep with someone who loves your soul, and that sharing the burden is the reason God gave us community.
I wish someone had told me that mental struggles are often more difficult than physical struggles, and sometimes your mind can scare you with things you don’t want to think about.
And I wish they had told me that your thoughts are not your master, and that God’s Word is more powerful than any dark thing Satan tries to throw at you.
I wish someone had told me how much stress and anxiety would come from all the expectations other people place on you – especially the expectations to always be happy, to always be nice, and to always have the right answer.
I wish someone had told me it’s not possible to always be happy, nice, and have the right answer – and that acknowledging that makes us human – and relatable.
I wish someone had told me that some days you feel beautiful and confident and ready to conquer the world. And some days you avoid looking at yourself in the mirror, your hair is like a static-cling laundry sheet, and your clothes feel left over from a few decades ago.
And both of those people are you, and neither one of them truly define your worth.
I wish someone had told me that there would be days upon days where the grown-up girl has to drag herself out of bed and force herself to wake up, get ready, and walk out the door while exhaustion tries to drown her.
And I wish she knew that learning to rest – physically, mentally, and emotionally – is vital to our healthy wellbeing.
I wish someone had told me that thirty would feel a lot like twenty – until you fall asleep on the couch at 8pm, and you also realize you care so much less what people think about you.
And what a joyous experience both of those things are!
I wish someone had told me how scary it was to be vulnerable, honest, and raw with people.
But at the same time, I wish they had told me how freeing it was and how deeply relational it was.
I wish someone had told me that I would face incredibly heartbreaking stories when I grew up.
And I wish they had told me that I would face them, not so I could run away from them in fear, but so that I could be the ray of light those stories needed to find, pointing them to Christ the Savior.
I wish someone had told me the truth about mental health – that it’s not crazy people who struggle with depression, dark days, dark thoughts, and teary-eyed nights.
It’s all of us.
All of us who have a soul, who live and breathe the air of struggle in this sinful world, all of us who feel deeply, and grieve for a world that is far from perfect. Some struggle more deeply and more consistently with it, but none of us are immune to the dark pangs of soul-hurt in this world.
And all of us deserve to know that the struggle is okay – it’s part of being human, and it’s why Christ came to die on the cross for us. He came to give us victory over the struggle, comfort in the midst of it, and hope in the one-day end of it.
So let us not be ashamed when we don’t feel okay. Let us rather reach out in empathy and love to one another – let us wrap arms of grace around each other – and let us whisper prayers together as we straggle forward on this pilgrim pathway of life.
He will always be with us – for He who created our very souls is forever faithful.