I stand in front of a sea of faces at the (in)courage meet-up in Springfield, Missouri. When I was asked to be an emcee at the event my initial response was, “This scares me silly!” I considered giving in to my fear. Letting someone else do it. Handing the microphone right over. But then I remembered one little phrase.
You’re not the only one.
You see, I had been telling myself that the other women at the event would have it all together. Their hair would be freshly highlighted, lip gloss perfectly applied and their lives (as well as kitchen cabinets) would be in proper order. They would show up overflowing with good cheer and never once think about hiding behind the cupcake tower. Unlike me.
But then I remembered how Jesus has been showing me that we are all more alike than different.
We are all broken. We are all beautiful. We are all in need of grace. We are all glory-reflectors. We are the paradox people.
So I showed up and said something like this to the crowd, “We’ve come here tonight to find ourselves among friends, as (in)courage says. And C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Friendship is the moment when one man says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'”
If that’s true then the starting place for this evening is to stop believing the lie that we’re the only one.
Look around this room.
You are not the only one who has struggled with an addiction.
You are not the only one whose heart has been shattered by a divorce.
You are not the only one who is worried no one will like you.
You are not the only one who wonders if God is still listening.
You are not the only one who desperately needs a night away from dirty laundry and loud children.
None of us have it together but we are all better together.
This is what friendship means — it’s saying even if the specifics of our lives and stories are different we both understand what it means to be human and we choose to do life with each other rather than apart.
I also shared that I’ve begun saying, “You’re not the only one” in another way too. I have said it to myself with the capital letters: “You’re not the Only One.” In other words, “You are not Jesus.” Last time I checked no one else on the planet is either.
This is excellent news because it means we don’t have to save the world. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to take care of everything and everyone all the time. There is Only One who can do those things and He’s quite good at them.
It also means there is Only One who is truly deserving of our glory and our honor and our praise. Our lives are not about us. They are about Him. Yes and amen.
I eventually stepped off the stage to hug necks and, of course, find the coffee and cupcakes. The frosting alone was worth not letting the lies and fears win. I hope you won’t let them win either. So just in case you’re facing something hard or scary in your life today, I want to whisper one more time: You’re not the only one. And the Only One who can do the impossible is right there with you — the most faithful friend of all.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
We’re not the only one….calls us to give up two things – the comparison game. I love the quote by C.S. Lewis, “What you too?” Comparison is one of the deadliest traps the enemy tempts us into. The other thing we need to give up is, like you said, striving for perfection. Jesus is the Only One who can be perfect. If we could do it (be perfect) on our own, we wouldn’t desperately need Him. Great reminders this am.
Thank you, Bev, for these words that speak to my soul 🙂 Grateful to God for you, sweet sister.
Julia Melatis says
Amen to that!
Thanks you Holley, you have been a blessing to me. I truly needed that word.
Continue to do the work of the Lord. Hope one day we can truly have coffee together.
Jane Callahan, Austin, TX says
As always your writings speak to my heart & comfort me in ways I can’t even begin to tell you, but you know. I know you know because we ALL can & DO SO IDENTIFY with what you speak to us from your heart & from Jesus’ love. Thank you, beautiful you!
Michele Morin says
My heart stopped when you added the capital letters.
Like our sister Eve, we try to take on the attributes of God and find ourselves sinning.
Thanks, Holly, for both of your messages today.
Well said Michelle!
Beverly Christensen says
Michelle Morin…I like to think that that what Eve did was the greatest gift of courage she and Adam could have done for us all. Staying in the garden would have been a stale lifestyle. No progression, no learning right from wrong, no experience to truly learn how to discern good from bad, no way to judge God from Satan. Adam and Eve could have stayed in paradasiac innocence, but there would have been no joy because there was no pain. No happiness with out sorrow. We needed this earth life to have opposition and choice so we could show God our love and true devotion.
Thank you for this word. I am single and have been alone all my life, except for God who walks with me everywhere. No I am not the only one who struggles with loneliness and loss. Also, thank you for C. S. Lewis quote, which I can now quote as I encourage others in my travels.
I struggle with loneliness too. God is my constant companion – he gives me strength and perseverance! Thanks, friend, for saying how you feel ~ you’re not alone.
Thank you for sharing and pointing out we are all more similar than different, we all have fears, doubts and we are Not the Only ones that feel these things from day to week to a year. The reminder that Jesus is right here with me is very comforting sometimes we need reminder as we get so wrapped up in our feelings it is good to leave those feelings with our Lord, Your right you know our Lord is the best friend of all and He has my back and yours too x
Cherlyn Kelly says
Dear Holley, thanks so much for this article. I’ve been working in prayer ministries for over 15 years and the church I’m currently in is a five fold ministry. Since we have moved into our new church the practice of casting out demons had started for deliverances.
I know God is all powerful but this type of thing scares the mess out of me and then I feel like I’ve let God down in trusting and believing in Him. I deal with depression and PTSD, my son was murdered 11 years ago, and I’m tired of feelings of always letting God down. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for over 20 years and the Lord de!ivered me 20 years ago. My daughter still has not forgiven me and she has also told my granddaughter about me.
I know I can’t be the only one afraid of the ministry of deliverance but people say I’m not a true Christian if I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do.
Being fearful does not affect your salvation. Jesus paid for your sins -period. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved (Acts 16:31, see Romans 10:9 also).
Fear does affect our walk with the Lord. Ephesians 6:10 says be strong in The Lord and in the strength of His might. “The strength of His might” raised Jesus, defeated Satan and death (Ephesians 1:19-20). It’s His strength and might that works in and through you. It’s all about Him – and we just get to run to Him, and talk and listen to Him (prayer & the Word).
Cherlyn, be encouraged that it’s not up to you – there is grace! Take time to rest in Him and be quiet before Him – that is healing for our souls. And, lest you think I have it together 🙂 I am struggling with broken relationships – marriage and children – but the Lord is teaching me and giving me grace. And I am willing for Him to work and to heal – although sometimes the healing is painful too.
Cherlyn, my heart goes out to you!
You’ve been through so much, I pray your daughter will find forgiveness and be drawn back to you.
I don’t want to steer you wrong, but I’d sure consider finding a different church if you are not comfortable with what they’re doing. I can’t say what they are doing is wrong, but I don’t think it’s a matter of not trusting and believing God. I’m definitely a Christ follower and I know that would make me uneasy. God seems to work in many different ways but I don’t think He expects us to be involved in things that are ill fitting. Read Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message! So refreshing!
Jean Marie Bauhaus says
I agree with DJ. You’re under no obligation to stay with a congregation whose practices make you uncomfortable — not in a convicted of sin way, but in a “are we really sure this is a Biblical practice?” kind of way. I had to leave the church I grew up in after God opened my eyes to how unscriptural many of their practices were, and it wasn’t easy. I took a lot of flack and endured a lot of accusations of not being the right kind of Christian, even from my own mother. But God gave me grace and led me to a much more suitable church situation.
I would also say that anytime someone says “you’re not a true Christian if you do (or don’t do) X,” that’s a red flag that you might be dealing with some misguided theology. I would encourage you to be like the Bereans and thoroughly test everything you’re being taught against scripture to see whether it lines up. And I will also say that I have experience with “deliverance ministry” and no, you’re not the only one who has problems with it.
Being afraid is just an emotion. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good Christian. I feel if you have qualms about what they preach or how they act then leave the church and find a new one. Prayers for God to give you guidance in this matter. I pray your daughter will forgive you and let go of the past. You will be in my prayers.
Jennifer Frisbie says
I’m so glad I didn’t let the fear of NOT being the only one keep me from joining you ladies that night. Such a blessing! <3
Needed this today. Difficult morning getting everyone going. Thanks for reminding me that I get to do life with my husband and children. What a blessing!
Jessica Mathisen says
Amen! Wow I needed this today. Thank you for using your words to remind us of the truth that the enemy so often wants us to forget.
You know how much I love this!
Kathleen Burkinshaw says
I so needed to read your post this morning! Thank you
Nina Mago says
Praise the Lord. I needed this. I was so much deep in comparison game. I am truly encouraged by your article that You are not the only one. I praise my God who doesn’t expects me to be perfect but come to Him just as I am. Yes I have been wonderfully created by my Creator and I am unique in His eyes. I praise Him. All we need is our perfect Saviour!!!
Ashley Fields says
Thank you, Holley! I needed this today.
This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much
Linda Schutte says
Holly, I always love to hear what God has put on your heart to say to us! He knows what we need to hear! I have felt inferior to others since I was just a child! Always feeling unliked and never quite good enough! I developed something they never diagnosed between first and second grade that caused my face to be disfigured so when I went back to school all the kids called me a monster, that is something that stays with you and satan makes sure that it does!! However, we have a mighty God and He gave me a wonderful angel in my second grade teacher whom I will always be thankful for! She tried her best to make me feel beautiful on the inside and to make things special for me and teach the others to except me for who I was! Today, I try to see myself as He sees me and knowing His love has come a long way in healing and I have of course forgiven and prayed for those who did not know what they were doing! I struggle at times, but I know that Jesus is the only perfect One and we all have our crosses to bare! Thank you Holly! Xoxo
Dear Linda, You are an inspiration to others who have some disfigurement one way or another. As you said it is what is on the inside of us that is more important than what is on the outside. God bless you and keep you happy and positive always.
Mary G says
WOW I needed this today as I stumbled once again over the same issue. I think I’m the only one for so many things; your writing was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you.
Billye Westin-Flores says
Thank you fo for your excerpt It was very very enlightening and enjoyable.
Oh Holley, I praise the Lord for this beautiful word; for your sharing what He has given you. I needed this so much today as I struggle to lean on Him in the midst of loneliness and broken. I am not the Only One and Jesus is so good to console and comfort our souls by His good Spirit, helping us to keep taking the steps that defy the lies and grow us, giving us testimony to His glory. May we each keep our eyes fixed on the Only One who can save, open to His tender love and grace 🙂
Monique Hernandez says
Thank you for this lovely reminder this morning. I missed church yesterday and hope I can escape the funk I already feel in.
I missed church yesterday too! I know what you mean.
How awesome is God that we get inCourage delivered to us!
Laura Thomas says
I love it when someone actually verbalizes what everyone is really thinking… in this case, that would be you, so thanks (on behalf of the ladies in that room!) The “What? You too…” thing breaks down so many barriers and reminds that we are all in the same boat, all on the same crazy ocean with its swells and storms and stillness. Thanks for this lovely reminder of the Only One who is perfect 🙂 Blessings to you!
Julie Garmon says
Every single time I speak, I look out at the lovely ladies and think, “They can’t possibly have any problems. They have perfect lives, and they’re not going to understand what you’re going to tell them.” Such a lie.
Beth Blamick says
Wonderful post about the sisterhood of women…and the constancy of Christ in the lives of believers. Thanks for the reminder!
Thank you so much for this. Gods perfect timing… I will need this later this week when I start my new job! Praying for self confidence:)
wow Holly, that made cry. good tears!
I don’t think I will ever forget your message… really really meaningful to me!
Pearl Allard says
Love this! Two hopes in one statement. Thank you!
Thank you this! Used it to share love to a sweet friend who is struggling.
Linda Kirsch says
So needed this today. Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone nor do I have to save the world. Jesus already did that!
Kayla Rinker says
It was a blessing meeting you at the meet-up in Springfield! You are so right! I love taking a deep breath and remembering that only Jesus can save people. It’s my responsibility to point (to Him) and pray… and that’s it. What a relief it is!
This was on time perfect. I will be sharing in Twitter etc. So happy to read this because it really is a great grounder to actually boost my confidence! Thank you Holly.
I would have enjoyed hearing your talk. To see the woman relax when they heard your powerful words. The Lord blessed you with them. Thank you for sharing.
I just love your writing style. You always know the right words to say at the opportune time. I love the C.S. Lewis quote What! You too? It is so easy to feel like we are the only ones who________. We don’t have to be perfect–Praise God. He loves us just the way we are warts and all. Just be yourself and let God do the rest.
Joanna @ Modern Ruth Project says
It is funny that as our world has grown more connected, more transparent through media, we instead feel greater disconnect and loneliness. Yet none of us are alone. We all have each other, the church, and Jesus. Thanks for the encouraging thought!
Praise God we aren’t the only ones. I’m going through a difficult time with a relationship with my daughter. She revealed to me how she is being dis honest to a big gathering of people. She knows as her Mom I would not be able to attend this gathering. Her Dad and I tried to speak to her about how it’s not to late to turn from this and live in the truth but she chose not too and won’t even speak to us. Her Dad and I know we need to be obedient to God and stand in the light and truth. We both feel so abandoned, hurt and disappointed in her actions. Unfortunately this isn’t the first time. We continue to love her and pray that her heart will open to Jesus. We are loving and caring parents. We are not giving up hope that she will understand that being in love with Jesus is the place she will find all she needs to fill her up in that empty hurt place that causes her so much destruction. I am blessed to know I’m not the Only One out there with a relationship issue with my daughter. I know of God’s mighty power and love. I have seen him in action and I continue to believe he will in his time bring healing to our family. Please pray for me and my husband that neither of us will allow bitterness and resentment to take root in our hearts because it’s something we have to guard. Considering our daughter has done many terrible things to us that I never could have imagined she would do over the past 16 years to hurt us. Holley you have spoken to my heart and I know God uses you as a vessel to help people realise we are not alone. Thank you for loving like Jesus and allowing him to use you to get his message out to people who need to hear it. You are such a blessing to many people. You are loved!!
catherine camp says
Thank you Holly. I needed this today. X
Thank you! I know God is dealing with me about joy and obeying. I have been feeling uneasy, going to meet with friends-ish that I haven’t seen in 19 years, since my Army days. I am very different. Inside for sure, but outside as well. Feeling insecure
Thank you so much for this gift yov’e given me today Holly..!! I needed to hear this message and the reminder that I’m not alone. Jesus is the Only One who can help me daily with all the challenges I face. If I may share and ask for prayers please. I’m an only “only” adult child-daughter. I’m 55 years old & most days feel like I’m 5. My dad died in 2012. I moved in with my mom almost immediately as she wasn’t a healthy 72 yr. old. My moms health begin to fail quickly. A huge turning point was in July 2014 when she had double pneumonia. She was hospitalized, 5 days while in she had a code blue & her heart stopped for 2 1/2 min-5 min. is brain dead. After a 3 month stay with in-patient rehab we finally returned home(I never left her side). Since then she’s been hospitalized 7 times. Most recent was 12/27/15, which changed our lives forever. She fell bsckwards from a standing position onto the concrete when I picked her up from dialysis. Mom sustained a 1″ skull fracture with a subackranoid hematoma-aTBI-Traumatic Brain Injury. God spared her from brain surgery to stop the swelling. Doctors told me mom had a stroke which caused her fall. At this hospital stay mom had a few more strokes;and, 2 massive seizures. All of which mom doesn’t remember. The final “blow” was the diagnosis of a combo of Vascular Dementia & Alzheimers. We are at home where I’m mom’s sole caretaker & I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my mom!! I do feel like I’m the only b/c the closest relative is 5 hrs away & never calls or visits. Unfortunately, May 9th marked the 32nd year of me living with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. My motto has & will remain “as long as I can walk, talk, and drive my care, I’m good”. Holly, I’m am more than grateful God gave you the ability to speak to women log all ages b/c I am truly blessed reading your God inspired messages. Thank you and Many Blessings.
I feel and understand your pain. My mom died in 2009 from dementia, and strokes. My dad has had a myriad of health issues mostly dementia related. It got so bad that I quit my job last June and assist in the care of him. Now my dad is living in a second assisted living memory care unit. It took putting him on hospice and watching him deteriorate (mentally) and be hospitalized. He was in four different places before March of this year. Now that his medications are changed he is doing fine for the moment. No falls for a while-praise God. He had 8 falls in 2 years. I truly understand where you are coming from. You are blessed to be able to live with mom at home and care for her.
Prayers for strength and healing. Also think about using a hospice to help you out some. The RNs can come in, check your mother out (vitals) etc. and communicate with the doctor. That would prevent you from having to take her anywhere and have a possible fall. Plus you can call them at night if something happens. We did this for mom even though she wasn’t on death’s bed. The other good thing is that one hospice worker came weekly and gave mom a sponge bath & shampoo. She fixed her hair nicely.
Praying for you sweet sister!
Thank you Iguana for this sweet & informational reply. Thank you as well for your prayers as they are greatly needed & appreciated.
Marie Cloud says
You have been such an encouragement in my life since I found this site a couple months ago! Thank you so much for boldly proclaiming the truth! 🙂
Julia Melatis says
It was wonderful to meet you that night, Holley! I wish I hadn’t been so tongue-tied when we met.
It is so freeing to know we aren’t the only ones! And it was amazing to jump right in at a table full of strangers and instantly feel connected because the one thing we do all have is Jesus. I overcame a group of fears just getting there.
I’m not usually one to drive so far from home by myself, especislly bevsusr I tsnd to get sleepy and fsll asleep on ling drives. It was a 3 hour drive for me, which turned into over 4 because I had to stop every hour to refresh myself, but I did it! Then staying overnight by myself in a hotel has always been nerve-racking. But I truly enjoyed every moment of the driving, visiting with everyone at the meet-up, and even slept like a baby in hotel room. I am so glad I made the trip! Thank you for.being real! That is one of the best qualities a leader. Not being afraid to be yourself in front of others and sharing how God helps us overcome!
Meg Weyerbacher says
A truly great reminder. I love the two fold saying. Holley you are such a blessing in my life, pulling out the things I have thought and wondered and actually speaking out about them. You are like the big sis I never had woot woot!
This is beautiful and I needed to hear it now… thanks for sharing
Gigi Murfitt says
Bless you, Holley. A beautiful reminder that I am not the only one. And the Only One will continue to show me the way.
Thank you for this beautiful post.
Jane Callahan, Austin, TX says
I feel the same, Gigi!
Just this morning I had to do something “afraid” and I changed it to “we”, myself and Jesus. Your post today was just what I needed…to know I am not alone in my fears. Thank you for being you Holley. You are truly a blessing from God for so many of us. God bless you my sweet dear.