The Things We Carry

Every one of us carries something with us: brokenness, bitterness, shame, secrets, scars. They are scary to share and burdensome to hold for too long. We can feel them weighing on us, feeling them just sitting like anchors in our stomach. We keep them there because we genuinely don’t know where else to put them. So where do we put them?

We don’t feel like we can give them to someone else— sometimes because we don’t want to burden them with our own brokenness and, other times, simply because we fear their judgment. For whatever reason, we end up holding things inside of us that we weren’t created to hold on to for very long.

Brene Brown says that shame needs three things to survive: secrecy, silence, and judgment. This means that to kill shame, three things need to happen: honesty, communication, and acceptance. But how do we do this? This is vulnerability to the max. It is a lot and it is terrifying. The first step is to find safe spaces. There are three places you can go for safe spaces: yourself, others, and God.

The first space is yourself. There are things that we are carrying that we have not admitted to ourselves that we are carrying. There is shame and secrets and scars that we have yet to verbalize or write down. We know they are there, we can feel them but we hope that if we ignore them, they will go away. Unfortunately, they don’t. They stick around. This is so very difficult because deep down, we don’t believe that what we are carrying is worthy of acceptance, and therefore, neither are we. Before finding someone else to share this with, before releasing this burden completely, we have to be able to admit it to ourselves, see it in ourselves, and love ourselves nonetheless.

Since loving ourselves no matter what darkness, shame, and scars we have is almost impossible, we need another person to come in and love the parts of us that we cannot. This is where the Creator of the Universe steps in. He can see into the very depths of our souls, sees things that we cannot even see, hears every thought that rattles around in our brains, knows every emotion that has gone unexpressed. He is not surprised by the things we hide. He already knows. And then He begins to communicate truth to us. He stands next to us and tells us what is real: we are valuable, beloved, worthy. When we realize that there is a God who sees all, knows all, and then still loves us, we can start loving the parts of us that are a little messy and broken.

Sometimes we feel like God accepts us like people sometimes accept us: mostly but not all the way. Thankfully, this isn’t the case. You are accepted, loved, and wanted completely. There is not a part of you that God does not see, does not want, and does not understand. He is completely for you.

The last safe place is other people. Now, not everyone is a safe space. We should share our burdens and scars only with people who have proven to be safe, trustworthy people. These people should make us feel loved, welcomed, accepted, and worthy. Any person who makes you feel small, dirty, judged, or less-than does not deserve to hear your story. Safe spaces are ones where someone can come completely as themselves, as broken or as whole as they are, and what they receive in response in love. Where the response to vulnerability is honor, kindness, and acceptance.

We can be the ones who create those safe spaces too, by listening well, loving well, and being vulnerable ourselves. When we create safe spaces for other people, we find that people start making safe spaces for us as well. When we are vulnerable, messy, and broken, we free other people to be that way too.

When we release the things that we are carrying, we feel like we can breath. We feel light, alive, and loved. We create deeper relationships with those we are vulnerable with, we learn how to love ourselves a little bit more, we start to have courage. We find ourselves becoming fully ourselves, embracing life, living with joy, and walking with freedom.