I admit, I hate that phrase. It’s always grated at me. I get “press on,” “work hard,” or “hold fast.” Those words are filled with hope. I understand grit. I understand stubbornness. I understand determination. I don’t suck-it-up very well. Suck-it-up sounds like I’m trapped.
What does that even mean? Stuff it? Just don’t talk about it? I don’t want to hear it? Every time I’ve let this phrase even fall out of my own mouth to my kids, I instantly regret it.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard these words more, or heard the heart behind the words more than when I entered adulthood, got married, and became a mother. I haven’t been sleeping. “Well, you just learn to suck it up.” “Yeah, being a mom is a lot of just sucking it up and doing the work.” Hmmm… well? Um. No.
You won’t find the words “suck-it-up” in the Bible. “Take up your cross” is there, but that has the connotation of the actual cross that gives us the power. That’s a big difference.
I used to think that it was just my generation who couldn’t suck-it-up very well. Then I thought it was just the millennials. Then I started reading classic books about the depression, about men who committed suicide after the stock market fell. The stories like Giants of the Earth, about the mid-1800s, where the women would have a child die on the wagon trail, and the women would literally go insane, and their husbands would tie them to the wagon because they could not suck-it-up, and move on, and yet the wagon caravan would move on, and it was unsafe to stay.
We have this idea that one generation was better at sucking-it-up than another, but it’s not true. We are all horrible at sucking-it-up. There is nothing new under the sun.
Here’s the truth. If we could handle this life that’s been placed in our hands, we wouldn’t need God. If we could just do enough good, love our husbands enough, love our children enough, take enough medication, have enough self-care time, and do all the right things, we wouldn’t need God.
God designed us to abide.
God designed us to lean on him. God designed our redemption. God died to have community with us.
So why do I bring this all up?
Because God also gave us a design for living in community with others. God has given us a design for us to encourage one another, and spur on one another towards Christ.
God has convicted me as an older woman (at the spry age of 37) these last few years on how I could support younger women who were going through the intense stage of life I had just lived through.
I think we all want to encourage one another. But I think that when God is involved, it’s always deeper than first glance. I didn’t want to encourage younger women at random. Random acts of kindness are just fine, but that wasn’t the calling pulling at my heart.
I didn’t want to make someone’s day. I wanted to change someone’s life. I didn’t want a feel-good religion of nice-ness, I wanted to see miracles. I wanted to dream as big as God does.
Coming through those dark years, I learned that God wanted me to depend on him more than I ever dared. I learned he cared about parts of my life I felt were up to me to fix, not him. I learned that the lies from Satan during lonely times are unrelenting, and they need to be fought with the truth.
What would it look like to encourage with truth, through the power of the Holy Spirit? Since the Holy Spirit just doesn’t ever stop pointing to Jesus and the work of the cross, I believe it would look something like that. What if we stopped teaching each other how to suck-it-up, and had a gospel-centered approach to our relationships? What if we kept pointing people back to Jesus?
If this is something that excites you, and you are just nodding along as you read this, can I invite you to hang out with me for a bit? I’m hosting a webinar where I’m going to do some training on how we can use this gospel-centered approach as we encourage those who are feeling stuck and weary. It’s hard to know what to say. I know I have often hesitated to say words of encouragement because I didn’t want to sound trite or cliche or worst of all say something so stupid that it makes someone feel worse.
Then I realized, God wanted me to face that fear. He didn’t want me to suck-that-fear-up, he wanted me to release it to him, so he could show me the way to encourage in a way that gives him all the glory.
The webinar will be a time to be inspired, get equipped, and brainstorm as we look into what the Bible says about all of this. It’s Monday, April 30th, at 7pm, CST. You can click here to sign up, and save your spot. I would like to fill this up to max capacity, because this is a message I would love so many women to hear, so feel free to invite some friends or share with someone you would love to encourage to step up and share her gifts.