The point is not what you think about the title, but how often you’ve asked yourself or God this very question. I recently began reading a book with this title that is written by pastor, counselor and author Ramon Presson. His inspiration for the title (which he insisted on using to the chagrin of several publishers) came from a lady who was attending a women’s bible study in Brentwood, TN.
Now Brentwood is in Williamson County, the 9th wealthiest county in the United States, and so on the surface these women have it pretty good and they had gathered for a weekly bible study on Exodus. It must have been somewhat of a surprise then when at one point a member of the group said that she thought the bible study was nice and all but, “What I really want to know is, when will my life not suck?” After some awkward silence, one of the other ladies finally spoke up and said, “Yeah, that’s what I want to know too.” From there God began to have His way in that group, the walls came down, they cried, they laughed, and they really came clean with one another about what was going on in their lives.
What about you? Have you ever wondered this? If so, how many times have you sat in your circle of bible studies and church services, put on your best happy face, and acted like everything was hunky dory when it wasn’t? I know I have and I am really, really getting tired of it. How refreshing it is when folks get real with one another for a change. But this can’t happen unless we are willing to lay down that ever-present, artificial front we so often put on. We’ve got to let go of the desire to keep up appearances and make everyone think we have it all together when we don’t. We have to lay down the pride. No more phony baloney. It’s time to get real!
Maybe your life is all peaches and cream, good. That’s super. I truly hope it continues. For the rest of us there is hope but it comes at a price. The price is your image and your pride and your agenda. A number of years ago I remember a member of a men’s group talking about how it was going to take a long time before he was going to be willing to open up about personal things—that he has to really know people and grow to trust them before he’s willing to share. That all sounds fine, but he had been a part of that same group for a whole year!
I think many of us are taught by our parents, then by our teachers, then by our peers, that no matter what:
- Put your best foot forward!
- Never, ever let ‘em see you sweat!
- Real men don’t cry!
- Women can cry, but not too much!
- Make a good impression!
- Keep up appearances!
These ideas (and many others like them) can either be expressed in words or merely implied. And if you do or say anything negative (aka “authentic”) and happen to be Charismatic, Pentecostal, or New Age—yeah I know New Age ain’t Christian but many of their beliefs find their way into professing Christian churches—then you will additionally have to carry the burden of thinking your calamity is your fault because you didn’t do or say the right things and therefore brought it all on yourself.
Here’s a rather blunt question: Do you really want to know me, or just some character being played on a stage? If you led a bible study, would you be upset if it actually led to real dialog about each others’ lives instead of staying on the track that your leader guide said you needed it to be on? Would the realization that the people in your “group” (team, fellowship, club, business, etc.) weren’t perfect and didn’t have perfect lives in some way be a poor reflection on you or negatively impact what you’re trying to accomplish? If so, what is it that you’re trying to accomplish?
Perhaps I digress. All this attention on those who may not want to lead, organize, or be a part of a group of people who are transparent and honest with each other, who put the realness of their lives above whatever program or agenda might be in front of them, perhaps that’s not even the real issue. Maybe the real, primary, central issue is that Me, Myself, and I don’t want to do it either and can’t even imagine asking such questions or saying such things out loud in front of family, friends, or God.
Ah but if the question fits, it has to be asked doesn’t it? How can we really begin to heal with an elephant as big as that in the room that’s being ignored? Don’t worry; God can handle it. He knew before you were born that you would ask it, or at least want to ask it. So go ahead!
You have to go to God first with a question like this. Then as the opportunity presents itself, maybe you should be willing to come out with it in the presence of others if you feel so led. And how will you know if you’re being “led”? Well, it will probably start with a nagging feeling that whatever it is you’re pretending to do or say isn’t really 100% authentic. That might lead to an urge way down deep in your gut to just come out with it. You don’t have to say it so abruptly or just like you feel it, but you will be able to tell it’s definitely trying hard to come out. Let it come… ”When will my life not suck?”
Who knows, you may just give someone else in the room the courage to say, “Yeah, that’s what I want to know too.” Then the healing can begin.