Choosing When and How to Reveal My Heart

“Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:2)

She jabbered on and on as we walked the trail. Suddenly, my new friend stopped. “I talk a lot,” she said, “but I don’t reveal much.” Although she didn’t know it, she had done just that. Even more, she was one step ahead of me.

I couldn’t fault her for keeping people at a distance. I was doing the same thing. On that very day, I drove to the nature park to get away from everything and everyone.

Frustrated. Disappointed. Exhausted. Depressed. I wanted to go away for good.

Chronic illness has a way of doing that to people, and I’m no exception. But God brought this complete stranger to walk the trail with me. We even talked about one of my favorite topics–nature. But most importantly, God clearly reminded me of the importance of sharing my burdens with others. Until that day, I had not revealed much to anyone about my most recent struggle.

Too often, I keep my conversations on a superficial level: The weather, current events, everyday matters. These things are easy to discuss, they break the silence in what could be awkward situations, and they offer a wealth of conversation starters. But they don’t reveal much. The weather can’t foster intimacy. Current events can’t create emotional bonds with others. And everyday matters can’t unite people.

Sharing my feelings with trustworthy family and friends invites them past my carefully-constructed façade. Yes, I struggle. Chronic illness makes me feel angry, confused, disgusted, fearful, helpless, and flat out sad. But by being willing to speak those words to others, they, too, become willing to shatter their masquerade and invite me into their real world. The result?

Relationship. Closeness. Intimacy.

This is what God called, “Carrying each other’s burdens.” This is what I call, “Revealing my heart.”

Prayer: Father, help me to open up to others when I am hurting, and help me to be available when others are hurting as well. Amen.About the Author:
Daphne Tarango is a thirty-something freelance writer and speaker who comforts others with the comfort she herself has received from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Visit Daphne’s website and sign up for her blog at: http://www.DaphneWrites.com.

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How have you opened up to others when you are hurting? What was the result?

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5 thoughts on “Choosing When and How to Reveal My Heart

  1. What a wonderful and very timely article to me today! Just last evening, the Lord brought an (almost) complete stranger into my life to share with me. My and her children are in a common activity together, but other than that, we don’t share much in common. In fact, she is of a completely different faith altogether (Islam). But last night, she became my unlikely conifdante. We started talking and she poured out many of her family and personal struggles with me, and I with her. We found out that we had a lot more in common than we would have thought!

    Does anyone else find that it is often easier to share with an almost complete stranger this way than it often is to share with a family member or close friend? It’s sad, but it is often this way. Close friends and family often may seem to judge you or even want to jump in and “fix” your situation. I find this frightening, and often back off and regret sharing things with them because of it. If only we could just listen to each other without judgement or trying to throw a “recipe” or “quick-fix” at the person sharing with us (or us them).

  2. Daphne – Thanks for writing this. I’ve been thinking about about this exact thing recently. For the last 6 years of being sick I have been hiding the pain & difficulties from my friends. I don’t see them often, but when I do I put on a brave face & deflect any inquiries with superficial chat. There are many reasons why I do it – to protect myself from them not understanding & making insensitive comments – so that they won’t think I’m complaining – because when I do see a friend I want to pretend for a few moments that everything is ‘normal’. But just recently I realised that I’ve been creating a barrier between me & my friends. They don’t really know me anymore because I never reveal my heart to them. I have been trying to protect myself from getting hurt but I’ve hurt myself by becoming emotionally isolated.

    I’ve also been thinking about how God wants me to open up to people and allow myself to be vulnerable & seen as weak because that is when He can be seen. If I am pretending all the time that everything is ok & I’m perfectly fine, how will people know that I am relying on God? (2 Cor 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us) Its going to be hard to begin to open up after all this time, but I pray God will help me!

    Julie – I can totally identify with people wanting to ‘fix’ my situation. It would be great if people could just listen & empathise!

  3. This article and the comments from Julie and Miriam are so timely for me. Thank you for sharing these words.

    I’m still stinging a bit from a recent encounter and trying very hard to both learn from it and clarify my own feelings. I consider myself to be a good listener and have done more listerning than talking over the years. Part of the reason for that is that any time I’m vulnerable with someone I feel I get insenstivity in response. That causes me to clam up and retreat. I don’t understand completely why this happens. Is it something about me that just does not elicit compassion in others? Or is it Satan’s way of keeping me from revealing anything to anyone?

    I really don’t know. Recently, however, I have begun to see that it really isn’t a sin to open up to people. For decades I felt that I should never do that and on the occassions that I did, I felt a great deall of guilt for speaking anything from my heart. A double standard because I was totally ok listening to others.

    Great article and comments.

  4. Pingback: Goodie Bag Winner #7, Revealing One’s Heart | Christian Media Cross

  5. Thank you for your comments, Julie, Miriam, and Sherry.

    Opening up is always hard, but with practice, I find it gets easier and easier. It also helps to have those “safe” people with whom I know I can share. I started out small–testing the waters, so to speak–and little by little, I knew whom I could trust and who still needed to gain my trust.

    I like to think of my feelings as jewels, and as far as it depends on me, I will try to protect them from injury or harm.

    Blessings, my friends.
    Daphne
    http://blog.daphnewrites.com

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