Transparency: Sharing the Real You to Get Help and Give Help

“One after another, a half dozen people in the room named some of the worst things that had happened to them and offered them freely as a gift to the rest of us. In some cases, I had already known the cross a friend was carrying, but there were several weights I learned about for the first time that night. . . My friends moved on from offering conventional strengths and put forward their suffering as their contribution.” Leah Libresco, 56

It’s something we don’t consider often enough. But it makes a big difference as we go through a difficult time and someone else walks with us. It also makes a big difference for someone else who thinks they are struggling alone as we offer to walk with them.

Perhaps it’s happening to you. You face a challenge, but you don’t want anyone to know. You want to keep your secret. Those around you seem so whole and perfect. You don’t want to appear to be the only broken one.

Then perhaps you finally give up your secret. Or even better, when you’re still trying to keep up the appearance of perfection, someone else spits out their secret. You gasp in surprise and relief.

You too?

In sharing your secret or receiving someone else’s, you find a companion who walking that same path.

If we never share our secrets, we can never receive the help we need. And we can never give our help to others.

It seems hard. But it’s not a new idea. It comes from the pen of Paul in a letter of encouragement.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.” II Corinthians 1: 3-5

In our darkest times, we can find encouragement and compassion.

In the darkest time of a friend, we can be the encouragement and compassion God has already given us.

Show your true self. Give up your secret. Receive and give grace and help. Let encouragement overflow.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered came out in paperback on January 22, 2019! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

16 Replies to “Transparency: Sharing the Real You to Get Help and Give Help”

  1. Great thoughts, Nancy. I’m reminded that Paul speaks routinely on bearing one another’s burdens. It’s not an offhand comment he’s making. It’s a directive for our own good. You’re spot on.
    I’ve found a lot of freedom in confession and in sharing my pain. It brings comfort, forgiveness, peace, and strength. We need the community to be whole.

  2. I have found great comfort in sharing my sorrow with others. People have shared with me that they have experienced similar situations. We can learn a lot from each other. God is with us all and I believe He wants us to share our sorrows and our joys.

  3. Transparency is an essential component of the Christian walk. You shared the very proof text for the why of many of our trials. How can we encourage others unless we, too, have suffered? When I was in a very dark time, I became a part of a group, such as you describe. When it was my turn to share, I spilled out my secret for the first time, putting into words the violence that had been forced upon my body twenty years earlier. Wincing, unable even to meet their eyes, I awaited their condemnation, filled with false shame for something that was not my fault. This was long before #MeToo. Therefore, I was surprised by their immediate comfort, affirmation, and support. It was a turning point in my life, a life-changing moment. I was never the same. This is a powerful post, Nancy. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Thank you, Melinda. My heart goes out to you. Satan lies to us saying others will reject us for our trauma when the opposite is true. Thanks again for sharing and commenting. God bless!

  4. Receiving and giving encouragement in dark times is such a gift. God made us for relationships and fellowship with believers is an extension of His love for us. Land we can then extend this love to others, believers or unbelievers alike; we comfort others as we have been comforted.

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