“I go to these places, and I am the life of the party. I am loud, fun, and people like me, but when I get in the car, the silence overwhelms me, and I realize that I am miserable.”
In a moment of self-honesty, Chad came online looking for answers. It was a Saturday morning, and although he had an active Friday night, he had become incredibly aware that his search for a “good time” had left him empty and wanting.
This is the line that caught my attention… “The silence overwhelms me.”
Hidden in the activity, the drinking, the flirtations, and the celebration was loneliness and pain. However, it didn’t show itself until everyone was gone, the volume was turned down and the distractions were put to bed.
Interestingly enough, it was that sense of his own misery that led him to seek Jesus. It was that sense of aloneness that allowed God to break through.
Chad represents so many people in our lives who are having fun on the outside but struggling mightily on the inside.
Their polished mask says, “I’ve got it together,” and their demeanor says, “Not interested.” In the right moment, under the right circumstances… even if just for a minute, the wall will come down, the mask will fall off, and they will reach out just like Chad did.
So, how can we be ready for those moments?
- Pray for the Chads in your life and tell them you are praying for them. Ask God to reveal their misery and emptiness to them. Ask Him to reveal their need.
I don’t want to see those I love struggle, but if a moment of challenge will bring them to a place where they will consider the One who holds eternal answers, I will watch for the opportunity pain can create and trust in God to bring them home.
Christians make a couple of mistakes in this regard. Either they tell their friend they are going to pray for them and forget to do it or they pray for them and never tell them. I believe it starts with prayer, but there is great benefit in lovingly tell someone that you are praying for them. It plants a seed of “God cares and He is present.” So don’t hold back: get to praying, and let them know that you are.
- Make yourself available. There will be times in the life of the Chads we know when they hit rock bottom. In those moments, they are open and teachable because they are miserable and struggling. If they reach out and find a voice of Godly reason, that moment can change their trajectory. If they don’t, chances are, they will forget their revelation and fall back into the same old patterns. It is imperative you make yourself available, so that in those moments, they think of you.
Random offers of support and help lay a foundation (the key is to come across as caring, but not as judgmental or controlling). “I just want you to know that I am here if you ever need to talk or if you need anything.” Don’t assume that they heard it the first time and have that information stored away. Assume that your Chads won’t remember when they need to, so say it often, in different ways, and in encouraging tones.
Also, it is important to listen to the Spirit’s nudges. You may have a passing thought to reach out. Don’t ignore that. It might be the exact moment that a Chad needs to hear from you. Send a text: “Hey, thinking about you. How are you doing?” That will never be considered intrusive, and it may just lead to the conversation you have been longing for.
- Be Transparent. The lifestyle of our Chads (especially if people have projected expectations of faith or spirituality on them) carries a cloak of shame and guilt. Shame comes with a dialogue that says, “I am a screw up. No one likes me. I must be the worst person in the world.” Therefore, it is very important that you break down that wall. People with shame hanging on them look at people who are living with purpose and conviction and assume they have always been perfect, don’t know what it is like to fail, and can’t relate to them. That is the reason it is important that you let down your own mask that says you have always had it together. Don’t brag about your sin but let them know you understand feeling lost and like a failure. When appropriate, share your mistakes, and always try to connect with their emotional struggles. That will make you more approachable, which is key as you want him/her to come to you when they are struggling.
People who feel pressure to be the life of the party are hard to crack, but when their mask falls, they crash hard. When they are dancing at the club or entertaining at the party, they might not be open to a discussion about God’s plan for their lives, but in the moment when the “Silence is overwhelming” they will open up to both you and God. Be there in that moment to see God transform their heart.
Sean Dunn is founder and president of Groundwire, a global ministry with the mission to lead every youth and young adult into a personal relationship with Jesus by leveraging current media channels to connect with them wherever they are. More than 116,000 made commitments to Christ through the organizations efforts in 2020. For more information, visit www.groundwire.net.