Hardships

Why I Don't Tell You About My Life

Emilie Vinson March 20, 2015

“How are you?” a dear friend asked cheerfully as we waited for church to begin.

The truth? I was not doing well.

I was frustrated with my job, some health issues had flared over the past week, and I was tired. I had walked in to the auditorium close to tears.

But there was only a split-second to decide how I would respond.

I could feign strength and answer with a socially acceptable, “I’m fine,” like I normally did. Or I could be honest and risk becoming emotional. The reward would come in feeling known by my friend, and having someone to lean on as I struggled.

I don’t mind helping others through hard situations, but letting them help me is hard. If I let others in, I risk feeling like a burden or even being hurt or disappointed by them.

If you’re like me, here are three things to consider as you have opportunities to be open with those around you.

  1. Some people aren’t safe. Don’t feel the need to be open with everyone. Some people are more able to listen well and be gentle with you than others. And, being vulnerable with many people can be hard, especially in seasons of pain. Find one or two people to talk to whom you trust.

    Had someone else asked how I was doing that Sunday, I may have told him or her that I was fine. But because this particular friend is someone I trust, I let my guard down. My eyes filled with tears, and we talked about how I was really doing. She was able to listen, empathize and know how to pray for me as we headed into the next week.

  2. Beware of people who show no weakness. Every one of us has areas of brokenness in our lives. We often choose not to show them, but they’re there. While it’s easy to think that our strengths can benefit others most – even in seasons of personal struggle – sometimes our commitment to appearing strong can shut the people around us down.

    Vulnerability breeds vulnerability.

    Expressing your weakness and “burdens” can be a gift to others. By being open, you give them permission to be honest about the places they struggle, too.

  3. Being emotional isn’t a weakness. Don’t allow a fear of showing your feelings to keep you from letting others in. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to express swirling emotions. This is a sign that you’re alive and human, not a sign that you’re weak.

    In fact, being honest about how you’re struggling as you go through a hard situation is a brave response. As you open up, don’t feel the need to summarize or gloss over what you’re feeling; it’s okay to be honest with yourself and honest with others about your emotions.

God is reminding me that I was created to do life with other people – with His body.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor,” it says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

God created us to walk alongside each other, to lean on each other, to cry with each other, to rejoice with each other, to help each other up and keep moving forward.

I like doing that for other people…and I need to let other people do it for me.

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