I’m starting a Bible study tonight with a new group of ladies. I’m not good at meeting people. I suck at small talk – like, really suck. I need something to talk about to break the ice.
But I have this issue with ladies’ Bible studies.
Over and over I go to studies and we get to that personal question in the study guide and declare it optional. **best Texas accent** “We’re just gonna skip this one so nobody feels uncomfortable.” **beats head on table repeatedly** Really?
Being personal is THE POINT!
1. How do you reveal your heart if you don’t share what you’re struggling with? When we only share our victories we give this false sense of achievement. Nobody really lives that Victorious Christian Life junk. Not really. No one’s life is as perfect as it looks on Facebook.
Everybody’s got heartaches, baggage from the past, hurts, offenses, feels slighted or neglected or is abused. They’re lonely, feel rejected, had a fight with their spouse/teenager/boss, are afraid. Everyone says things they wish they could take back, has regrets, secret struggles just between them and God. Everyone! Not that you should verbally vomit to every person who pauses to ask how your day is, or constantly be a Debbie-downer, but what a disservice never letting anyone see that we struggle.
2. The good times are made sweeter by the memory of the sad times. There’s value in those dry times, the mourning, the sorrow, the suffering. There’s a whole level of authenticity we miss out on by hiding those experiences from others. Sharing those struggles and what they’re teaching us brings meaning to the sorrow and suffering.
But let’s not make anyone uncomfortable. I mean, Jesus never made people uncomfortable…
3. There’s value in that pause, that “I don’t know what the right thing to say is” moment of terror because hopefully at some point you stop worrying about what the right thing to say is, and just share your heart. “Wow – that sucks.” Offer a hug. “What can I do?”
Most of the time people just want to be heard. To be seen. To be missed. Don’t shush me – show me I’m accepted no matter what I’m struggling with, that you have my back. Let’s stop presenting only one side of the picture. Let’s be honest.
“I can’t talk to so-and-so, they just wouldn’t understand.”
Know what? I bet so-and-so would understand what you’re struggling with, because there isn’t a limitless range of emotional options to humans. Maybe she doesn’t know what it’s like to have her husband cheat on her, but I guarantee she understands rejection and betrayal. The problem isn’t “will she understand” but “will her heart show up.” Listening doesn’t mean you take on their suffering, but it requires courage to hear what their heart is saying and genuinely sympathize.
Do you agree? Maybe you’re like me and have no problems sharing a lot of things, or maybe you keep everything to yourself because we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry? Help me see your point of view.
Today we’re supposed to create a list of things that would have to happen for our dream to come true. I’d need money not just for travel, but to replace the lost income while I was gone. I’d need accountability for the time I was there – since I planned to go on my own. At the end of the list, I’d have to write – My kids would be OK on their own for that time. My youngest is 11. I think this is one of those trips that’s for another season of life.