I am a private person.
Raised by a lawyer and a preacher's daughter, I understood early in life the importance of not sharing every piece of information to which I was privy. I am by nature an introvert, so I am not inclined to tell others everything I personally feel or think, either.
Being a private sort of person is not a bad thing. Scroll through your Facebook feed, and I bet you'll encounter at least one post or picture to which you will respond, "Too much information! Keep that to yourself, Sister!" Some people seem to have no appreciation for privacy (their own nor others') at all!
Being a private person is not a bad thing. But there is such a thing as being too private.
I have been reading in 2 Corinthians this week. I feel like God wrote these words especially for me, preserved them across the ages, and then delivered them to me at exactly the moment I most needed to read them. (I LOVE how God's Word does that! Outdated? Obsolete? Irrelevant? Not on your life!)
In Chapter 1, Paul tells the Corinthian believers that if he is afflicted, it is for their comfort and salvation. If he is comforted, that, too, is for their comfort.
Paul's struggles and joys were not designed to be experienced alone, in private. Paul and the Corinthians shared in one another's sufferings and in one another's comforts.
"Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort" (v. 7).
If Paul had been an overly private person, if he had insisted on keeping his afflictions and his comforts to himself, his commitment to personal privacy would have been a hindrance to his own spiritual growth and to the growth of other believers.
What does this mean for me?
My suffering is not all about me. My struggles, my trials, the hardships I face - these things are for the sanctification of believers around me, too.
My comfort is not all about me. When God strengthens me, delivers me, gives my joy in the midst of trials, answers my prayers - that is for the edification of my brothers and sisters in Christ, too.
As much as I would like to keep these things "private" - to keep them to myself - I must not. Instead, I must go public, open the door of my heart.
* * *
In 2 Corinthians 1:11, Paul writes: "You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many."
Insofar as we share one another's burdens, we multiply exponentially God's blessing on the church and the thanksgiving such blessing elicits.
I may be a private person, but I cannot - I must not - keep such abundant goodness to myself.