Life lessons

To the broken-hearted

We walk and live amongst happy-face people, yet we sometimes don’t know how many broken hearts lie beneath those smiles. We could be one of them, couldn’t we?

Not everyone is hiding or putting on a brave front, but some people do.
And ironically, some of us are joyful—yet there’s this underlying sadness that remains in our hearts. Perhaps of an ongoing hurt, loss or a relationship hanging on its last thread.

In that way, you are not alone. We are not alone. We are all wired to love, to look for love, to be loved. And in the same way, we hurt, we’ve been hurt, and we’ll be hurt again.

If we close our hearts to hurts, we’ll close our hearts to love.

To live a stone-hearted life is akin to living life barely breathing.

Everybody Hurts, R.E.M.

If you feel like letting go (Hold on)
If you think you’ve had too much
Of this life, well hang on.

Full lyrics of Everybody Hurts by R.E.M

He heals the heartbroken and bandages their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 The Message)

In a world that sometimes can be so harsh, be someone who brings hope—be kind to others, be kind to ourselves.


Let Your love be the glue that mends the broken-hearted.
We overcome not with our strength
But with the saturation of Your healing love into our deepest wounds. Amen.

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Life lessons

Empathy: the missing link between pain and hope

We usually celebrate those who rise above the storm. Winners who thrive in terrible situations in their lives. I do too. I love champions like that.

But some find it difficult to accept that there are people who love God dearly, who don’t blame God for their terrible situations in life, would still be sad, or even depressed.

One thing I felt uncomfortable and confused with the messages I received from certain Christian articles, some sermon messages, and well-meaning Christians, etc. is—the quick downplay of one’s emotions, situations (whatever it is), and the emphasis on perspective, God’s hope, faith…The keywords here are: quick downplay.

I know that He is in control. I know about changing our perspectives. I know about choosing our responses. I know all that. And we do need to have that and live it out.

But it doesn’t take away the emotions and pain, certainly not the situation. It’s hard to choose a good response to not cry when you are bleeding.

For me at my low point of life, being ‘preached’ that we should focus on God (while this is true), makes me struggle even worse. It makes me feel—less than a Christian.

For me at my low point of life, being ‘preached’ that we should focus on God (while this is true), makes me struggle even worse. It makes me struggle with my struggles. That the sadness must be taken away because, you know, God is hope. It makes me feel guilty that I’m feeling sad when I have so many things to be joyful for. It makes me feel—less than a Christian.

In our zealousness to guide people back on track—have we moved too fast to point people to the bigger picture—unconsciously downplayed the complexity of emotions, and therefore desensitized pain?

Is it any wonder that people are lonely in their pain in a world of fixer-uppers?

When we acknowledge people's pain in their weakest moment, we give them strength and hope because—someone understands. Click To Tweet

Do that often enough, chances are the person will have enough strength to rise, one step at a time.

I cried at this scene. I can relate to me, and to the many others who are struggling. It’s one of the reasons why I never say ‘chin up!’ to people.

I have the tremendous blessings of a handful of people who were coal bearers during the winter season in life. These are the precious people who literally and figuratively sat beside me when I have no more words and no more tears to shed. God gave me His strength through them.

Receiving comfort on my bleeding wound, I can then better hear the message of hope.

God is giving us the opportunity to be His vessel. Can we learn to be empathetic to a hurting person in need?

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Life lessons

3-part series 3/3: Don’t go through (and don’t let someone go through) pain alone.

I remember the feeling when I plunged into something like depression, and I didn’t know who to turn to.

It felt like I’m drowning in this dark void of awful loneliness. So alone.

Like everything inside of me, my soul, just sinking into this pool of black ink. Everywhere I look, pitch-black—a potent cocktail of desperation and violent rage.

I’ve been wrongly taught by the world that emotions and feelings are not to be trusted. So, I’ve learnt to box them up.

Unknowingly, I became an expert in compartmentalising my pain. I didn’t do it on purpose, somewhere along my life, I just learnt how to function normally.

I went to work normally, I led my team normally, I went to church normally, I laughed normally.

However, I was everything but normal. I was crumbling, and my days just became harder and harder.

I didn’t know how to open up. Who to turn to that won’t:


or worse, ask me to justify my feelings.

I tried to rationalise it away. My problems are small compared to the world.

I tried to pray it away. But the sadness stayed.

I tried to coat it with Words from the Bible. Nothing sticks.

I tried to escape it with Frasier. The laughter lasted only as long as the sitcom.

I felt guilty and weak for feeling this way. I asked myself mockingly, “are you being melodramatic?”

Chin up! The world says.

In fact, someone brutally commented on my blog, “try not to be too dramatic!” I felt at once ashamed that I may be emotional. But angry too, for being judged.

Herein lies the problem.

Some of us are just too quick to pass comments based on our views.

Some of us, too busy to pause and listen.

We have talkers, speakers, self-help, no-help, preachers, teachers. But we need more listeners. People to listen without passing judgement. Because pain is lonely. Click To Tweet

The shortest verse in the Bible is—Jesus wept.

He is not dispassionate. He is empathetic in our weakness. He does not tell us to be less dramatic nor fault us for feeling sad. It is ok not to be ok. We can draw comfort from knowing that.

Don’t apologise for mourning, grieving or weeping. God comes into our pain and feels with us. He will also bring along the right people to walk alongside us through this wall. Please reach out.

And if you know someone who is going through a tough time in life, please reach out to them.

We don’t need to be a counsellor, but we can be a friend, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on.

We can be the one to give an encouraging smile, send an encouraging note, deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolates maybe, or just offer help.

We may not be able to offer solutions to people’s situation, but we can be a comforting presence in their pain.

Read the other articles in this series:

3-part series 1/3: What not to say to a grieving or hurting person

3-part series 2/3: How To Support A Grieving Or Hurting Person?

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Everybody hurts sometimes (poem)

Every soul
Every man
Every woman

Concealed with shiny cars

Everybody hurts, a poem
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