A Holy Week Reminder for Your Heart (Especially If You’re Struggling)

On an ordinary afternoon I curled up on my red couch, my phone tucked between my ear and shoulder. I nodded as I listened to my friend far away share about a challenge in her life. At some point she said, “I guess this is who I am now. I am the girl who struggles with this thing.”

I sat up straight, grabbed my phone so I could speak as loudly and directly into it as I could and the nodding ceased. I said, “No, that is not who you are now. That is not who you are ever. This is your current circumstance. It is what you are fighting. It is not and will never be your identity.” Long after our call was over I kept thinking about those words. Yes, they came from my mouth but I knew they also came from God’s heart. They were important for my friend to hear but they were also important for me to say because they caused a permanent shift in my perspective.

A Holy Week Reminder

I thought of that moment again when I spoke at a retreat in another country and shared my story. I spoke of my fears and insecurities, failures and shortcomings, the battles I’ve fought and the scars I have to prove it. I watched the tissues pulled out of pockets and the head nods. After the event I kept being pulled aside by women. They’d tug on my arm or beckon me with a head tilt gesturing toward a quiet corner of the room. In all of these conversations the same question was asked, “How can you be so vulnerable?”

The question surprised me because I hadn’t considered it until then. At first I didn’t know how to answer. But slowly, finally, I say, “I can be vulnerable because my struggles are part of my circumstances, not my identity. I’m not my successes. I’m not my failures. I’m a beloved daughter of God.”

On the outside this sounds simple, like it could be put in a Sunday School diagram with arrows and lines. Yet the reality is often full of messes and heartache and so many undoings. Keeping hold of who we are is like wrestling a wild alligator most days. I suppose this will always be so, that it is the way of being human in this world. Vulnerability and showing up as we are do not come easy. But, I am finding, they are worth the fight.

We are fully loved.

The enemy of our hearts would love to convince us that we are our struggles or our failures, our mistakes or our secrets. If we let this happen then shame wins and we hide. But we are never, ever defined by what we do. We are always and only defined by what Jesus has done for us. This is the glorious truth of Easter. Because of His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave sin has been defeated, death has been overcome and even the darkest moments of our lives can’t diminish His light within us.

Let’s never stop trusting we’re fully loved. Let’s never stop speaking of what He has done for us. Let’s never believe our circumstances are more powerful than the grace of our Savior.

More for You

Last chance to apply for the first Write for Life Mastermind! If you feel called to write and want help moving forward with your creative work, this could be for you! Not a writer? Share this with someone you love who is to show you believe in them. Only 10 spots available. Learn more.

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This month on the More Than Small Talk podcast, we’re talking about joy… and how it can be surprisingly complicated. If you’ve ever been told to put on a happy face when you’re hurting inside, this episode will have healing words for you. Listen on your favorite podcast app!

Are you struggling with hurt in a relationship? My new course, Heal After You’re Hurt, will help you feel less alone and give you what you need to move forward step-by-step. Learn more here. Or if you’re walking alongside someone who’s going through something hard? I have a FREE download for you: 20 Phrases to Use When Someone Is Hurting.


About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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