Too Personal to Share?
Have you ever thought about calling it quits? Throwing in the towel? Walking away?
Sure you have. We all have. Because the reality is: Life is hard.
Parenting is difficult.
Marriage can be a struggle.
No matter where you are in the world today, it’s hard to find and keep a job.
When you try to deal with problems and the accompanying feelings of depression, stress or anger in isolation, life only gets harder.
But when someone shares in your struggle, the weight of those difficulties on your heart and mind diminishes. When we talk about what’s on our hearts and minds, very often, we can learn practical, real-life ways to solve or deal with our problems at their root—which is in our hearts and souls. It’s because life is hard that we need to be brave enough to share our stories.
Life’s difficulties transform the way we live and think. And they are exactly the kinds of things we don’t share because, “it’s too personal.” And so, we talk about our children, or sports, or if you happen to be in Ireland, you talk about the always-safe topic: weather. The outcome of all this small talk is social connections in churches, instead of meaningful relationships that can embolden us to love and live like Jesus. When we don’t share our honest, sin-scarred stories, we present the illusion of perfection. And that hurts us (the church and the individuals that comprise it) in several ways:
- Keeping up appearances is stressful, exhausting work. Seriously, who has the time and energy to pretend to be faultless?
- The false belief that everyone else “has it all together,” causes people to expect they’ll be judged rather than loved by their church family. Instead of risking to expose their weaknesses, they “fake it” at church, knowing that when they get with their friends in the real world they can be themselves. How sad is that?
- When Christians are hurt by or are grappling with sin, they feel they have no one with whom to share their struggles. When everyone around them is (and always has been) “perfect” whom can they turn to that could possibly understand their mess?
Outside the church, talking about T-ball or whether or not it’s going to rain this weekend is fine, but when we stop there we miss out on opportunities to make an eternal difference in people’s lives.
When we share our struggles and how God has comforted and pulled us through hard times, our relationships can be stronger and our Christianity more effective.
How have you been helped by hearing someone share their real-life struggles? Leave a comment below.
Do you know what your stories are? Need help discovering them or putting them into words? Read Get Personal.