Why keeping silent about your pain isn’t a great idea


I shouldn’t feel this way.

If I were a “good” Christian, I would be happier.

I don’t look broken on the outside, so why let anyone know what’s going on inside?

Have you ever said any of these things?

Or perhaps someone shushed you when you brought it up, so you learned to put on a good front.

May I tell you something? Keeping silent about your pain isn’t a great idea.

Worse, it’s a trap. 

Not talking about your brokenness only keeps you broken. 

I get it.

You don’t want to be that person who is seen as negative. You don’t want to be that one who refuses to move past old things, or who isn’t trying to heal but pointing out what’s wrong with everyone else.

But that’ s not you, and you know it.  

You love God with all your heart. You want more. You’re holding up the mess inside with open hands.

Sheila Walsh once said something to me in an interview. She said that we all need to offer space for grace to speak it out loud when we are struggling.

This is what her words said to me:

1) Others, even in visible arenas of ministry, sometimes feel broken.  

2) What might happen if we spoke it out loud, rather than walking around in pretense?

My interview with Sheila was one of the most powerful interviews I ever participated in, and her words resonated long after the interview ended.

When I meet someone who holds out a picture of her beautiful family, or paints a picture of her beautiful life, and then whispers, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” it’s may be the perfect moment to offer space for grace.

Speaking it out loud robs it of its power. It’s no longer secret.

It allows a a light to shine on that feeling, holding it up before God.

It’s discovering that it’s a season or a trial or a raw and wounded place that needs a Savior’s touch.

In just three weeks we’re going to start our study over The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places.

I never meet a woman harboring brokenness that I don’t wonder what she’s going to look like in the hands of a Savior who loves her like crazy.

Between now and then, share how you feel. Write it down in a journal. Or tell a trusted friend. Share it here, if you desire prayer from me and others.

Rob it of its power! 

Then open your hands to receive His love, and affirmation that you are His.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)







  1. I have so much baggage from the past and am having trouble forgiving myself for bonding with my abuser of 5+ years. It keeps me depressed all the time. I have no idea what joy is. I have never experienced it.
    I also have multiple health issues that I know are from these very deep hurts.
    In the past 7 months, so much has happened and it feels like the hits just keep on coming. In August, I almost died before they did emergency surgery; one week before Thanksgiving I had major ankle surgery which I am still recovering from; my father who I had a difficult relationship with, died 2 days after Christmas and I am trying to cope with what’s been labeled complicated grief; the end of January, my 11 year old son started having seizures out of the blue and was diagnosed with seizure disorder; and then we were told by the new owner of the Townhome we have leased for 11 years, doesn’t like kids and dogs ( we have 2) and that he was not renewing our lease. So now on top of everything else, we are moving in a few weeks. So much to pray for.

  2. What a good word, Suzie, that of speaking our hurts out loud. Often I find, with the little broken things I carry inside, that just SPEAKING them out and telling someone helps even if we don’t really have time to talk, even if they can’t offer me lots of wisdom or counsel. Just a listening ear and the knowledge that someone who cares for you will pray is enough!

  3. Annie Sutton says:

    I don’t even know where to start. I want so badly to be heal. I have been told before not to talk about it. I missed the name of your book. I wish I had a poster from the top of the page. I don’t know that its so much being healed as to be set free , to be free in Jesus. To be free from the lies of the enemy , free to be me in Christ. I would deeply value your prayers. Annie

  4. It takes a little searching to find someone safe to share our brokenness with. Usually I find that the listener ends up sharing in return about their brokenness and areas where they need prayer. It frequently leads to a new member of our support system.

  5. When I’m open with my brokenness, it becomes a “permission granted” situation for those in the conversation.

    At a recent planning team meeting for an upcoming writing conference, I shared my struggles with recovery following a recent car accident. To be perfectly honest, I felt a little embarrassed as I told the team that sometimes I wasn’t focused and that I was seeing specialists to regain balance. To my surprise, it opened a conversation about deep recovery issues others were having. It made for the most relational experience we’ve had yet.

    Suzie, I’d love prayer to be free of fear that tiptoes in stealth mode into my mind and heart. This fear is about the importance of things happening on time, like arriving places on time or meeting deadlines. I want Jesus to shatter that panic and replace it with peace. Thank you!

  6. I also bought the book for kindle and I am looking forward to another study! I totally relate to Patty’s struggles. For me it turns out I had an underlying health issue causing my out of no where depression. I have Multiple Sclerosis. Among other issues I have a lot of anger towards my dad for fulling around on my mother and then finally leaving us. But I need to forgive him because M.S. doesn’t leave me with enough energy to waste on anger.

  7. Marilyn in East Texas says:

    I am broken in spirit and I find that I can not forgive my son who has betrayed and lied to me about anything and everything. I did not see or realize or even accept until it was too late for me and my husband that my son is a compulsive liar and manipulator and everywhere he goes he leaves behind broken hearts and huge unpaid debts. I knew that my son always lived well beyond his financial means. More than once he came to us crying and begging his step-dad and I to help him out of his financial messes and failed marriages. I loaned this son money that was meant for our retirement. My husband and I are not well off. There are no silver spoons in our family. My husband and I have spent the last 40 years working very long hours and difficult jobs to save for our golden years-where we are now. This son looked us straight in our eyes and promised that he would make monthly payments to repay us the entire amount. Instead this son has completely cut off all communications with me and my husband. Everytime I think I have forgiven my son something will trigger my anger and then I am right back at trying to forgive. My heart is angry and broken.

  8. This is so spot on, thank you!!!! The past few years I had struggled with that, but through these Proverbs 31 studies/devotions, prayer, and studying the word I have slowly come out of that way of thinking. Thank you for these studies, thank you for the encouraging words it has truly helped me through this season in my life. I am finally starting to get my joy back and finding/realizing who I am.

  9. I bought the book for Kindle yesterday, and I’m looking forward to the study. I would love your prayers. I’m in a place now where things are great, and there are so many blessings, but I don’t feel happy. I feel so guilty, and I hate it. I see other Christians who are going through real trials and still exude so much joy. I have no right to be sad and negative. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, and I’m not sure how to get better. I really am grateful for all that I have, I practice counting my blessings, and I pray for God’s healing. It’s gotten to the point where it’s taxing to spend time around people because it’s so exhausting to pretend, and I don’t want to steal others’ joy.

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