This summer I attended a women’s workshop to wrap up of the Christian Virtues class I took in the Spring.
For one of the exercises, we paired up with a partner to practice sharing and listening skills. The goal was for the sharer to communicate a problem to the listener, who would then reflect back the problem and if possible, help solve it. The partners then switched roles and repeated the exercise with a different scenario. Some scenarios were fictional, but my partner, Sue, and I chose to use situations taken from our lives.
The situation I chose to share was from a pivotal and extremely difficult time in the 1990’s. When it happened I never shared my personal pain with anyone. Instead, I hid my pain, allowing the enemy to pull me into a downward spiral that lasted more than a decade, nearly costing me my marriage and my family.
During the workshop sharing exercise, Sue heard my pain without judgement, then gently offered me guidance and God’s love. More than fifteen years after the fact, I learned a valuable lesson:
If I would have done this years ago, I could have saved myself and my family lots of heartache!
Both are important roles we will play several times in our lives with various friends and family members.
How good are we at listening?
Most of us not good at all.
How good are we at sharing our feelings and pain?
Not much better.
How can we improve?
God loves us and puts the right people in our lives at just the right time. The challenge is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, so we can recognize the person who needs our listening ear or feel that gentle nudge when it’s time to share our own struggles.
By internalizing our pain to avoid embarrassment today, we may set ourselves up for future suffering.
We must be willing to share our pain, open up our vulnerabilities and risk bring judged in order to receive potential inner healing.
Don’t go thru your pain alone!
Look around. Reach out… God has given you a friend who will understand and walk with you.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.~Proverbs 17:17 NKJV