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Being Honest in the Struggle (And Why it Matters)

Recently, I got some well-meaning (but bad) advice from a friend: Never write a blog when you are depressed, frustrated, or disappointed. Always put your best foot forward.


My response: Guess my writing career is over.


Here’s the thing; writing is therapeutic for me. It’s how I process. It’s how I regain focus. Putting words to paper forces me to reflect. It drags me by the ear like a whining kid who doesn’t want to face reality but must. Frankly, writing is a lifeline for me.


Does that mean that sometimes what I write is raw? Yes.


Does that mean that sometimes what I publish is ugly? Yep.


Does that mean that a week or a month or a year later, I regret what I wrote? Nope. Never.


Even my dark side (and we all have one), can shine some light on a shared reality: We are all broken. But as someone once said, light shines best through our broken cracks.



A highly respected and world-famous pastor told me thirty years ago, “Always share from a place of victory! People need hope, and they find confidence when they see you as an overcomer!”




I love that man and still deeply respect him, but people find hope when they see and believe that no matter how messed-up their life is at the moment, they are not alone in their mess.


People need to hear from me (and you) that it is normal to struggle. It’s okay to wrestle with huge questions that you may not ever have an answer for on this side of eternity. People are desperate to know that being desperate is not a death sentence. They want to identify and relate to others who are feeling what they are feeling and fighting what they are fighting.


If you are a leader, a blogger, an author, or (and wait for it) . . . a human, please don’t hide your pain. Please don’t be afraid to be real and raw. Please let people see your struggles.


I’m not encouraging you to wallow in your misery without hope.


I’m not saying you should always be a Debbie-Downer (or Sour-Sam).


But if you’re bleeding. Bleed.


If you’re hurting. Hurt.


Let people see your humanness.


Real is not wrong.


And then, as you process and ache and curse the darkness, let the Light of Life pour through your brokenness. That is the path to hope for you and for others. Our weakness is a portal to God’s presence and power demonstrated through cracked pots like you and me.



David said, “Yep, I’m in a dark valley filled with scary things like death, but that’s not the end of my story. So, I choose not to fear evil, ‘cause I know I’m not alone.” (Bubna paraphrase of Psalm 23:4)


I love the Psalms of David because he consistently moaned, groaned, and complained, but he never got stuck there.


I write because it helps me get unstuck.


I bleed publicly rather than privately (in both my blogs and my talks) because I want others to know they are normal and in good company.


I share stories of hardship and struggle because that’s where we often find ourselves.


In a battle.


In the dark.


Confused and afraid.


But not alone. Never alone.


You see, our suffering makes Jesus shine, and He’s the only hero in our story.



“My grace is always more than enough for you,

and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.”

So I will celebrate my weaknesses,

for when I’m weak I sense more deeply

the mighty power of Christ living in me.

2 Corinthians 12:9  (TPT)


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Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Mary Sayler

    Good word, Kurt! God wants only the best for us, but sometimes that means going through tough times to get there. For example, about one-third of the Psalms – the beloved prayer book for Jews and Christians – are laments, which typically end on a note of hope as the writer remembers the goodness of God, which is what you’ve done.

    One of the things I love about the Bible – and about your writings – is the honesty. No cover-ups, just truth and hope.

    I’m also reminded of a verse we recently studied in my Bible study group – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God,” 2 Corinthians 1:3, WEB.

    May God continue to bless your writing life in Christ.

    1. KurtBubna

      Hi Mary, I love that verse in 2 Corinthians. So good. So true. Thank you for the addition to this post. You are loved!

  2. Cary Edwards

    Nail meet hammer.
    Been a tough few weeks, and your words are right on (even though they effectively resolve nothing).

    Sometimes that’s just the point though. As believers we are to encourage one another. I often think the story of the footprints in the sand is a horrible representation of what Jesus wanted from us! When a person is down and hurting, is just when we should see countless numbers of feet prints around.

    Sure God will, and can carry us… but is that what He instructed? Sometime our suffering is used by God to test someone else’s faith.

    “They will know you are my followers by the love they see you have toward one another”

    Discouragement is only for a season….

    Love yah Brother.

    1. KurtBubna

      Good insights! Thanks for adding to the conversation. Love you too bro.

  3. Suellen Boyd

    One of the things I appreciate about you when you write or preach is your honesty and transparency. Real life, real struggle. and through it all how jesus is always enough.

    1. KurtBubna

      Yep, I love it when people truly see that Jesus is the hero!

  4. Becky

    Thank you for not taking the bad advice and please continue writing!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you for the kind words!

  5. kelly stoutenborough

    I would like to believe this also means being real with loved ones who hurt your feelings? Intentionally or not? This is definitely food for thought as I process thru some emotional turmoil with an adult child of mine..well she is in college so not fully grown adult as she thinks but neverless said(more like text is more correct) some hurtful things to her father & me recently that I’m struggling to overcome….her viewpoint of “poor me”.. no did anything to help me get where I am at… dare I use the word entitled(?) It hurt the things she said & what she feels… I’m just unsure how to process(?) or react or what….

    1. KurtBubna

      Family is tough at times, but honesty with love (truth and grace) is the best path even when it’s difficult. I would suggest you give it a little bit of time (to think and pray), and then have a family talk to resolve this issue. Praying for you…

  6. John Nichols

    Your openness in writing what’s in your heart has blessed me in so many ways. Thank you for the courage you display in sharing the realities of your life. So many times I find myself nodding in agreement with the thoughts you’ve shared and feeling encouragement as I realize I am not the only one who struggles.

    Write on, my friend!

    1. KurtBubna

      So appreciate your kindness and encouragement, John. You are a good brother and friend.

  7. Debi Stoker

    Thank you for reminding me it’s important to be “honest and real” Even though I know the battle has been won and we are Victorious in Jesus, life can and is filled with unexpected twists and struggles that we all face! Sharing and Facing them together makes us stronger!

    1. KurtBubna

      Thank you, Debi, for your encouragement and insights. Love you!

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