By Tami Boesiger
The license plate hung at a slant off the back of the beat-up little truck, a couple pieces of old wire hanging on for dear life as it swung ever so slightly. If it weren’t for the word I saw there I would have thought it unremarkable, but there it hung, making this bold announcement to the world on a dented old pickup.
As I passed, curiosity got the best of me and I snuck a peek at the driver. He was a young guy, I’d guess not yet 25, hair buzzed, clothes too big and very dirty, tattoos gracing his sleeveless arm. He looked angry, like one of those punks on the cop shows who whip out a gun because they’re scared and want to make a statement. Except this kid made the statement with his license plate.
We’ve all known the feeling, haven’t we? But this kid felt it so strongly he paid extra to put it on his license plate. It made me want to cry. This angry, tough-looking guy I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley, reduced to five characters giving a glimpse of the struggling boy within.
How many people have I passed on any given day whose hearts bear the same message? I think of the efficient checker who rarely looks at customers and carries a chip on her shoulder ensuring you don’t ask. There’s the young mother feeding the infant at 3:AM, so sleep deprived she can barely work the TV remote, doing her best to gear up for another day of sticky fingers and fighting toddlers. Or that person whose problem is too deep to articulate, who knows their spirit feels off and has prayed for God’s deliverance only to land in the same funk again. There’s the family who’s suffered another layoff or the grandmother who’s devoted her whole life to her family, now busy with their own lives, leaving her feeling bored and lonely.
It’s me some days too, when the phone doesn’t ring or my efforts seem unappreciated, when the plumbing’s screwed up and the car won’t start, when the words are hard to come by, or the pain of working through the junk feels like too much. It’s the days I’m tired of the busyness, or don’t know how we’re going to pay for everything, or I am all too aware and weary of my humanness.
The truth is it’s hard to live on planet Earth. Have you had those days when the cloud won’t seem to lift, when it takes everything you have to muddle through, when the dark is more familiar than the light? Have you trudged through life assuming no one cares, feeling alone, but too afraid to say anything?
Have you felt 4GOTN?
Reach out FOR help.
You don’t have to go it alone, friend. There is help. When it’s so dark you can’t see straight or think clearly, reach out. Know you are loved by a good God and countless others. Let someone lead you to the truth. There is a way out. We are available to you at the CORE. We can help you stay safe and unravel the messy emotions and persistent thoughts stealing your joy. We will walk with you, listen attentively, and make sure you understand you are not 4GOTN.
Reach out TO help.
If you’re in a good place right now, your cloud currently dissipated, consider this a great time to express your love and appreciation to the people who mean something to you. Make that phone call. Set up that lunch you’ve been talking about for months. Tell those you love how much they matter. Don’t let the moments pass. Make sure the people you care about do not feel 4GOTN. God charges us to this in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind . . .”
Reach out to the ultimate Helper.
No matter where your spirit is right now, defeated, determined, or despondent, cling to words of Truth. Know that as a child of God, you never walk alone. His promises are sure and real. He says,
. . . My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
. . . In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
You may feel weary. You may feel burdened. You may feel troubled. But you are not alone. Help is a phone call, an email, a text away. You are loved. You are valuable. You matter. You are not 4GOTN.