Are You Hanging In There?

I was texting back and forth with a church member recently, expressing my admiration for how well he has managed challenging times in his family recently. I told him I look up to him as an example of fatherhood. His response to such praise? “I’m hanging on like a hair in a biscuit.”

This quaint Southern phrase means one is hanging tough while enduring trying conditions outside of one’s control. Of course, I’m never under any misconception that people are perfect, even when they appear to have life all figured out. The thin veneer of confidence and happiness we all hang like window dressing on our social media pages is only ever telling a small part of the story of our lives.

Ironically, it’s the social media posts -- some times our only connection to the outside world in an insulated life -- that can deepen our sense of loneliness and disconnection. We fear that people don’t ever get to see the “real me”... the only thing we fear more is actually letting people see the “real me”!

So what do we often do when faced with difficult times? Most of us put up a wall and keep the problems as tucked away as possible. When asked how we’re doing, we respond with a polite, “Oh, I’m doing fine.” For many, that is code language for, “Oh, I’m doing horribly and I want to scream right now from all the pent up frustration, fear, and isolation!”

So what would the Bible have us do? First, place our trust in the right place: God. I have to get away from trusting in myself or any other human means of finding joy. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 3:5, that our “adequacy comes from God.” Isaiah 12:2 says that “God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD Himself, is my strength and my defense ; He has become my salvation.”

Second, I have to find a few fellow Christians I can open up to. Not everybody, at least at first. It might take a village to raise a child, as the old saying goes, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s opinion holds the same weight. If I can find just a handful of other Christians who I can be real with, open up to, speak frankly with, that will go a long way! 1 Thessalonians 5:11, James 5:16, Philippians 2:4 all speak of the importance of relying on each other for strength, guidance, and even correction when necessary.

Nobody has to be alone in this troublesome life. If you’re just barely hanging on (or you’re hanging tough like a hair on a biscuit), reach out to your brothers and sisters, who are an extension of God’s love and care. Let’s lean on each other, lift up one another, and remember that we are seen by God all the time. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. (2 Chron. 16:9)