“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one
else can fully share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10)
I have a border collie named Star. She is my best buddy and, since we have our own office building, I take her to work with me every day. This particular breed is prone to fairly substantial obsessive-compulsive issues – they fixate. In a very real way, I complete Star. She stares at me at all times. She sleeps where she sees me as soon as she opens her eyes. She will put her head down and try to herd me so that I go where she wants me to go. When she goes to work with me, she stares at me all day while I’m working.
Once, when I had to leave the office for a few hours, my staff went above and beyond in babysitting her. They love Star; she is the staff mascot. After I left, they brought Star down to the second floor, where the whole administrative team works. Star went from office to office, greeting everyone, but then began to cry. My assistant told me that there was no way to ignore Star’s crying or calm her down. Finally, they put in a DVD of me and sat Star right in front of the television. I came back to the office and Star was fixated on me on the DVD, because I complete her.
That’s a humorous illustration, but it translates into human relationships. One of our biggest frustrations in life comes from the incomplete love we experience when we put our hopes for completion and fulfillment into people, experiences or things. An incomplete love almost fulfills us, but still leaves us yearning for more. These incomplete loves can be wonderful gifts from God, but there is nothing on this planet that can truly complete us.
As people, there is something very healthy about finding support from others during difficult times. I needed it for my own healing. This “fellowship of suffering” is a beautiful thing because it connects us with others who have experienced the same sort of pain. You get to know someone well enough that you feel like you can honestly say, “Yes, I totally get that because I’ve been through every single bit of it!”
However, if you stay close enough to that person, sooner or later you will come to a place of departure. Sometimes, we feel very alone at this point because we thought we had found someone who completely understood us. Then it begins to occur to you, he or she can’t go there with you 100% because you’re processing everything through your own specific personal history. Only you grew up in your family and felt what you felt and experienced what you experienced. A time comes when we all have to get to the place where it’s only us and Jesus.
Nobody else can enter into the intimacy of everything the way Jesus can. A huge part of our emotional well-being comes from reaching this place. We can let a lot of people off the hook for not being Jesus to us – for not being able to read our minds or emotions. God is the only one who truly completely gets it because He knows the intimate ways of our minds and hearts; He knows and sees things which happened that we don’t even remember.
This is not to say that we detach from others. He puts people in our lives so that we can journey together, shoulder to shoulder and elbow to elbow, and share experiences. That’s fellowship! Fellowship is a gift from God. But in the cavernous needs of our emotions and in all the great complexities of our souls, only God can go to the depth and breadth and length of what we need. God is faithful and we can trust Him at all times and in all things.
Bring everything to Jesus. Pour out your anguish, frustration, disappointment – every toxic emotion. Go with God into the deepest places of your heart, because only He can go there with you, and express what is there.
“Father, I thank you that we can come before you and say, ‘Here it is – in all its ugliness, here it is!’ Thank you that we’re safe with you, and from our poured out anguish we will see fruitful evidence in the places where we’ve been hurt. Please do something this week in which we’ll see an evidence of your work in us. In the miraculous, healing, gracious and merciful name of Christ, amen.”