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We All Need Someone {Carrying Your Cross}

Originally published Tuesday, 08 April 2014.

photocredit: faithbarista.com {two brothers before sunset}


Everyone needs someone.

This is a beautiful, lonely, hard, and easy truth.

Beautiful if you have someone.

Lonely if you don't.

Hard for the times you'd rather not need.

Easy for the times when someone you need -- needs you too.

You might look at me -- getting ready to birth a book in print very soon.

And you might think I ought to be so happy.

I am.

But, I also want to confide in you.

Even Though

I want to tell you that the journey to really being you -- the journey to really finding your voice may inevitably lead you back to parts of your story -- people, experiences, conversations or situations -- that you'd rather avoid.

Where you've been rejected.  Where you decided to hide. To be safe rather than vulnerable and real.

You may have to make some hard decisions where there are no desirable outcomes. You may have to take up a cross that's been hard to bear.

Maybe like me, in order to follow God where He wants to take you, you will need to go through suffering. Loss.

Even though you know God is with you,

and even though you know faith will get you through,

you cannot avoid the hardness of the journey.

Even though there is much to be thankful for you -- and your heart is truly grateful for all the ways God is walking with you -- you cannot deny the weight of the cross on your shoulders.

The hardness of the journey doesn't mean you're on the wrong path.

Who Am I

As each week passes by, the pressures that come along the journey stepping out with my story have been steadily increasing. I've been having to face a lot of hard decisions, deadlines, while doing a tremendous amount of writing, more than I've done in the two years I've been on the journey to heal from anxiety and panic attacks.

All the while, voices from my past grow louder, fears press in closer, and I don't feel so well. 

It's too hard.  Who am I to think I can make this journey?

After Jesus was beaten on the head by the reed the Roman soldiers put in his hand to mock him as king, after they crushed a crown of thorns into his head, and after they had flogged him with whips, Jesus was thrown out of the Praetorium.

The Pretorium was the governors hall, where Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the death sentence, where the soldiers assaulted Jesus emotionally, hurling unspeakable wounding words targeted to bring shame and humiliation.

It wasn't enough to break his body.

They wanted to break His heart and His spirit with their words.

Need Someone

After this takes place in the secrecy of the Praetorium, Jesus is expected to take his first steps through the Via Dolorosa. In front of everyone.

"When they led Him away, they seized a man, 
Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country,
and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus."
Luke 23:26

My friend Kevin Marks in his Stations-of-the-Cross reflection writes, "Following his beating, it's likely Jesus could not physically carry the cross all the way to Calvary."

Jesus needed someone.

In that moment, a man whose journey somehow crossed his path was pulled in to help him.

Kevin continues -- "We don't know if Simon even knew who Jesus was. Did they even exchange any words? All we know is that an ordinary person helped the Savior.  Through one simple, understated act, became part of the journey with Jesus."

And I'm reminded.

It's okay to need someone.

When the cross is too heavy to carry, but we still want to be faithful to see the journey through, needing someone isn't a shameful thing.


My therapist tells me experiencing anxiety is not cause for alarm. I'm headed in the right direction -- following my heart -- speaking in my full voice -- with Jesus. And with others.

He tells me if I went back to hiding and staying safe, I would experience no anxiety.

So, I think of Jesus and I imagine how His steps on the Via Dolorosa were soaked in anxiety, physically disorienting suffering, and emotional anguish against the sea of voices.

And I think of Simon who walked that hard stretch of broken road alongside him.

I close my eyes. And I think of all the Simons who have quietly crossed my path -- without my awareness God led them to help carry my cross when I could not carry it further any longer. And I feel a lump rising in my throat, different than the one that tells me to be afraid.  

My soul remembers I can make this journey ahead. Because there are kindreds walking this journey who understand.  Friends who went from being strangers to become brothers and sisters.  Friends who have made space in their lives to help me.  So, that I didn't have to journey so alone.

You know, words have been my trusted companions for many seasons of my life as a little girl.  I thought words were only a solitary comfort for me. But, He's transformed words to become a bridge from my heart to yours.  

Wherever you may happen to be, as you read this post, you are my Simons-of-words, carrying the burden with me, swapping stories and reading in between the lines.  We are fellow sojourners of faith with Jesus.

Take A Moment

Who are the Simons in your life that have won a special place in your personal history?

Who has carried your cross? Who has helped you in your life, whether in your spiritual journey or otherwise?

Who has prayed for you? Who has been there for you?

Who has been your Simon?

None of us can make it through this life alone. Even Jesus journeyed with trusted friends, many of which were killed because of their association with Him.

Take a moment and think of someone who has helped you along your journey.

Picture them. What they said. How they said it. What they did. How they did it.

Close your eyes and think of them.  Pray for them. As you do, thank God for them. Ask God to bless and protect them.

As you feel prompted, write them an email.  Or walk over to your drawer, find note card, pick up your pen and write them a message of thanks to them.

Take a moment to thank these understated people who have helped you climb the hill of life.

A Beautiful Truth

And if you're struggling to think of a Simon, yet longing to need one, dare to let someone know of your need.  Someone safe.  Someone who has walked a journey similar to yours.  

Pull someone into your story, so they can help you carry and lighten the burden.

I'm going to be sending today's post to some Simons in my life. And thanking them.

Because they've transformed my need for someone to become a beautiful truth.

And I'm no longer so lonely in my heart anymore.

We all need someone.

That needing is good because it creates space for God to enter in. And love us through others.

Thank you Jesus for walking the lonely road, so I don't have to walk lonely anymore. You've made it okay for me to need someone.  I'm thinking of you.  Thank you. I love you. You are beautiful to me. Amen.


Take a moment to be present in this moment.

Pull up a chair. Share a comment below. As you feel prompted.


{ Today’s post is part of Bonnie Gray's  Lent-inspired reflections called {The Journey} series. Click here for read the entire series.  Lent means "The Way of the Cross".  In other words, Lent is "The Journey". May the quiet space here in this blog post provide a moment for you -- as we explore these Journey-Inspired prompts together.}  

Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest. (Revell Books. Pre-order today. Release date: June 3, 2014.)   

Finding Spiritual Whitespace guides readers on a journey to create space in life to slow down, feed their souls, draw closer to God and enjoy rest.  Through heart-breaking honesty and practical insight, Bonnie chronicles her unexpected journey through anxiety and painful memories, to discover a better story for her life, one that makes room for God, for beauty and rest, right in the midst of our stress-frayed everyday lives. 

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind FaithBarista.com serving up shots of faith for the daily grind.  She is a contributor at DaySpring (in)courage and her writing has been spotighted by Christianity Today and nationally syndicated through McClatchy-Tribune News Services. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

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