I tend to be a very private person.
Okay, maybe that sounds weird coming from someone who writes in a public forum, processing life and thoughts on a blog that just about any Joe or Sally can read.
What I mean, at least partly, is that when I am struggling with some great difficulty or painful issue, or when life gets too big and hairy, I tend to hunker down, pull in, and close the blinds. I need to process things internally before I can deal with them externally. Only after a period of quiet reflection and several long, deep breaths am I able to open my eyes to the help that is mine in the friends that God has given me.
That's changing, though. I'm not nearly as private as I used to be.
I enjoyed lunch with a friend from church recently...not one of those bosom friends, but still a gracious, godly sister in Christ that I have known and loved for several years. During our meal, she asked rather cautiously about a particular issue that my family has been confronting and struggling with for a long time. "Well, I hesitated to ask you about this...I didn't know if this was something too private and sensitive to bring up."
"Sherry," I replied, "if there is anything that I am learning in the midst of this, it is that I can't afford to be private. Everything has to be out on the table. Secrets kill. We need the prayer and encouragement of every available soldier."
Not to say that we all need to go indiscriminately publicizing the nitty-gritty nasty details of the struggles we face. I'm not saying that at all. But we do need to be open, honest, transparent, and vulnerable with someone...with family, with trusted friends, with our church family. And we certainly do not need to labor at maintaining some facade that hides our hurt, that proclaims to the world a lie that everything is fine.
Of course, there's no guarantee that those we confide in will respond appropriately. They may be judgmental or critical. They may offer unbiblical counsel. They may exacerbate the problem. They may even gossip or make light of our trials. No way around it, life in this fallen world is just messy!
But I need to learn to be honest about my struggles, and my sister needs to learn to relate to me in this with grace and integrity. And vice versa. Sanctification isn't a Lone Ranger process for any of us - we truly are all in this together, learning from each other's trials, mistakes, wisdom, and experience. And we can't even begin the business of pointing each other to Christ and to the much-needed balm of Scripture if we simply hunker down, pull in, and close the blinds.
5 days ago