I was a huge Disney movie fan growing up. Well, let’s just say I’m still a huge Disney movie fan. One of my favorite movies to watch as a kid was Hercules, mainly because I loved the character Meg, and one of my favorite lines to quote from Hercules was Meg’s famous, “I’m a damsel, I’m in distress, I can handle it. Have a nice day!” I loved her sassy-yet-sweet come back and her independent attitude she had. Her ‘I don’t need a man to save me’ spirit inspired me to be a stronger girl. But as I’ve gotten older and re-watched that movie countless times, I think I like the Meg’s character so much because I can identify with her on a deeper level.
As an only child, I learned to do things differently. While I didn’t have a brother or sister picking on me or pushing me around, I also didn’t have a best friend to confide in growing up. No one to share my secrets, joys, or pains with during the ups and downs of life. As I grew up, I carried this safety-net of isolation into my every day. I would make one or two friends a year, but never many more. I found it hard to communicate with others. I always let my parents speak for me in groups of people. I never really put myself out there. But of course, I never called it isolation- I named it independence, maturity, or shyness.
Because of this safety net of isolation, I haven’t always known how to cry with those who cry and rejoice with those who rejoice. All too often, I find myself actually crying with those rejoicing and rejoicing with those who are crying. Sometimes life is just hard and comparison gets the best of us. And if I’m being honest sometimes, I’ve ha times where I got jealous when others are happy, because I’m disappointed with my own circumstances (I think many of us have been at this point before). I’m even worse with sharing my own feelings. I struggle to let people in when I’m hurting or celebrate the victories in my own life. When we allow ourselves to live in isolation it can be hard to let the walls down to relate to others.
Sometimes when struggling with isolation, God’s call to walk alongside others in their pain and joy can seem almost impossible. Growing up I never really realized how much of a disservice I did to myself by allowing myself to be isolated. Jesus designed our lives to be spent living in relationship. Before there was man, there was relationship. Genesis 1:26 says, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” God was talking about the relationship He has with the Holy Spirit and His son Jesus. In James 5:16 it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Relationships can be scary because a true relationship is letting your walls down. It’s hard to put your feelings and your emotions into the hands of others. Being honest and vulnerable with our emotions isn't easy.
As I’ve grown up and matured in my relationship with the Lord, I’ve come to realize that He wants more for us than to ignore our emotions and hide them. He wants us to bring those emotions to Him. I’m realizing it’s okay to allow myself to feel the depth of my pain and the entirety of my joy so when the time comes, I can know what it means to cry with those who cry and rejoice with those who rejoice.
If we can be real with God and real with the people that He’s placed in our lives then every pain we feel can be redeemed if we let it. Every pain gives us a greater capacity to understand and care for someone else’s pain. Every joy gives us a greater change to celebrate someone else. Jesus is the ultimate empathizer. No one cries and rejoices with us like He does. Each day we grow and each day Jesus meets us right where we are in our day.
My name is Julie Gutierrez and I am a 20-something living in Auburn, Alabama! I am a recent graduate of the Highlands College in Birmingham, Alabama where I studied ministry and currently interning at Church of the Highlands here in Auburn! I know that God has called me to reach my generation and bring others along side me to help raise up the next generation through my words, and I want to make Him proud through my actions. I love serving the Lord and the local church, and when I’m not at the church you can usually find me writing or reading in a coffee shop, out shopping with my girls, or cuddled up on the couch watching a movie (probably Disney.) I can’t wait to experience the journey of life with you!
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