I ordered a London Fog, she ordered an iced mocha. We sat across from each other sipping our respective drinks wondering if it was safe to just unload or if we needed to do the whole “small talk” thing first. Thankfully, neither of us are all that good at small talk so we just jumped in.
She started, “you know that blog you sent me? Yeah. I feel that way too. Why are we like that?”
She was referring to a blog I had sent her earlier that morning. The blog itself was about singleness, but there was one paragraph that jumped out at me that I just had to share with her:
Typically when I have a bad week, I hate to burden anyone around me so I keep it to myself. Part of how I walk in pride is that I compare my situation to others around me, and to the onlooker if my trials are seemingly small and trivial, I tend to play down my emotions and feelings. (the rest of the blog can be found here)
Why are we like that? Why do we feel like we’re a burden when we unload on the people who love us the most?
After an hour or so of conversation my sweet friend and I decided that the main reason we downplay our feelings is because we’re afraid. Afraid that you’ll reject us if we tell you all the ugly. Afraid that you’ll grow tired of us. Afraid that our bad day will infringe upon your good day and you’ll be calling us “Debbie Downer” in your mind.
The truth is; we’re afraid because we have faced that kind of rejection. You too? A child learns not to touch a hot stove by being burned. And women learn not to trust people with their emotions the same way. Sadly, the world is full of people who will reject us, or grow tired of us, or just flat out stab us in the back.
Thankfully, the world is also full of women who will love us fiercely! Women who will walk through fire with you and pick up the phone every time you call no matter what the hour. Women who will guard secrets and share tears and hold hands and lean in close and whisper words that give life to weary souls. To keep these women at arm’s length because of fear is an injustice. To choose safety over vulnerability is a disservice to yourself. To choose isolation over companionship is just plain foolish.
We need each other. Plain and simple. We were created to live in relationship. And relationship means the messy days too. It’s not easy. It’s really hard to interrupt the dinner conversation with a quiet “y’all, I’m having a really rough week and need encouragement”. We convince ourselves that whatever it is that’s troubling us isn’t really a big deal, and that no one really wants to be bothered by it anyway. And instead of opening up our hearts and risking transparency with friends we smile and nod and wait until dinner is over to cry alone in our car.
And I don’t want us to live like that anymore. I don’t want us to consider ourselves a burden just because we’re wrestling with the deeper issues of life. Life is hard, and complicated, and sometimes frustrating. Let’s rejoice in the fact that God allows us to have relationships where we can love and support each other through all we walk through.
For me to act like I’m okay all the time doesn’t do me or anyone else any good. How can I minister to others when I fail to minister to my own heart?
Letting others walk with me and love me and know the real me ministers to my heart. It makes me healthy. It fills me up so that I can be poured out. It gives me perspective and strength and encouragement. Why wouldn’t I be willing to risk for that?
Friends, let’s be safe places. Let’s be vulnerable. Let’s risk being real. Let’s love each other well, even when its hard.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35