Why is it so hard to share our junk when we’re in the middle of it?
This week I got real and shared something I’m currently dealing with. Not something I’ve already gotten through. It is something I’m dead smack in the middle of dealing with. And it was terrifying.
But you know what? After I got it out there, it didn’t seem so bad. By sharing it in the present tense, the fear began to dissipate. As soon as my struggles were validated and I received encouragement, it didn’t feel so ominous. And here’s what I’m learning about this.
Fear thrives in isolation.
Think about it. The secret you’ve held on to your whole life feeds off of your fear. It gets stronger when it has you alone with your thoughts. The longer you keep it inside, the more terrifying it becomes. The most deceptive part is that we believe we can protect ourselves and others by hiding it. Our fear magnifies issues to the point where we think if we share it, our lives will fall apart.
I play this video game called Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. When you start the game, the first line says:
“All warfare is based on deception.”
That’s quite prophetic for a video game. You don’t overcome truth with lies. You overcome truth with half truths. The quickest way to ruin an economy is by flooding it with counterfeit bills.
Deception is what the enemy uses to keep us from sharing our present tense struggles and confined in fear. He doesn’t whisper blatant lies in our ears. He whispers half truths. “You should be ashamed of yourself. When people find out, they will reject you. No one will forgive you for what you’ve done. You don’t deserve a second chance.”
He takes the truth of what we’ve done and whispers shame and condemnation in our ears. Fear overtakes us and we hide it away inside of our hearts. We isolate ourselves from others and it forms an emotional cancer in our hearts that eats away at us.
I don’t know about you but I’m tired of hiding. I need help. I can’t do this on my own. I’m determined to share my present tense struggles because I know this will get me one step closer to a past tense fear.
I might not share them all in a public forum like a blog but I’m ready to share them to a small circle of people I trust. And honestly, I don’t recommend sharing all your present tense struggles publicly. That’s not what “transparency” is really about anyways.
Today, I have one exhortation. Look around to the people closest to you. Take a moment to push past the responses of “I’m fine.” Rather than asking, “How are you doing?”, ask specific questions. Ask them “What’s the biggest thing you’re struggling with right now?”
Sometimes all you can expect from a generic question is a generic response. When you ask a specific question, many times it’s enough to elicit a specific response.
Some of us just need permission to share present tense struggles. Sometimes it’s hard enough to admit things to ourselves. It’s so much harder to admit something to someone we feel isn’t truly concerned enough to ask a specific question or care about what we’re going through.
Sharing our present tense struggles causes us to be vulnerable and real in our relationships. It fosters a sense of intimacy, trust and holiness in our friendships. It’s where we go from shallow relationships, to the deep parts of who we really are.
Past tense stories will never strengthen present tense relationships. Let’s live in the now!
When is the last time you shared a present tense struggle?