Recently I was at a conference where a friend of mine who I respected shared some pretty painful failures in his life with a group of men.
He shocked me in a good way.
I never would have thought my friend had such struggles in his life, to me he was a strong, stable personality, at least from what I had seen before. When he shared about what happened and how he struggled, it changed my perception of him and my attitude towards him.
No, it didn’t make me think that he was “soft” or “worthless,” on the contrary, it made me think that he’s human, that he has similar struggles to me, and that he’s pretty brave and humble to share them.
After that experience I realized that many people I know may have significant pain and failures on the inside which they either never or very seldom share with others. If you’re one of those people then I’m writing this post for you!
I want to give you a few reasons why you should share your pain and your struggles with other believers. Before I do that let me tell you why I think it is that we often don’t want to share these problems with others.
As one who also doesn’t like to share his failures I often use the excuse;
“I don’t want to complain”
While certainly some people are experts at turning their complaints into “prayer requests” and others always seem to have a fresh batch of problems to pour down the open ears of the next available person, I believe there is a healthy way to share our problems with others.
In order to share your problems without turning them into a list of list of gripes and grievances I suggest you consider the following.
- Share your problem with God in prayer first.
- Share with those who know you the best and love you the most, they can usually see through your motives and tell you quicker than anyone else if you’re just firing off a list of annoyances.
- Share your problem and then be quiet, allow your friends opportunity to speak into your life.
- Share your problems without trying to “prove” that someone mistreated you.
- Share your problems with a sincere desire to know God’s will and walk in God’s will.
- Before you share your problem ask the person/people you are talking with for permission.
Now let’s get to those reasons why we need to share our struggles with others
1. It helps others know they aren’t weird and they’re not alone
Often in sharing your failures you will do a great service to others. The Apostle Paul was not afraid to share his personal struggle with sin with those in Rome (Rom 7:15).
Many people feel that they alone struggle with this fear or that emotion, or a particular sin. Chances are they aren’t alone! Knowing that other people struggle in similar ways can be a great encouragement.
That means by sharing you are helping others!
2. It gives others opportunity to offer you help
Believe it or not there are probably several people around you now who would love to help you if they only knew what it was you are struggling with. Helping each other when we are in pain is what the Body of Christ is all about (1 Cor 12:26)!
Yet there’s something about human nature that loves to quietly soak in our problems and then say, “nobody understands me, nobody can help me, nobody loves me.”
When you share your problem you give others opportunity to help and trust me you might be surprised from whom that help comes.
3. It encourages understanding
As I shared with you earlier, hearing about my friends struggles changed my attitude toward him. Not that I had a bad attitude before but rather that after I heard of the tough situation he went through it soften my heart toward him. It helped me to understand him better and it may change how I relate to him in a very positive way.
4. It shows others that God can use our difficulties
Trials are one of the of key ways that God grows us (Rom 5:3-4). Yet in the middle of those trials it’s nearly impossible to see how God could bring any good out of it. This is one of the most compelling reasons why you should continue sharing about your struggles even after they are over.
Sharing how God used those problems in your life in order to produce spiritual fruit can provide just the encouragement someone else may need who is currently walking a deep valley.
5. It keeps you humble
If you’re like many Sunday means grabbing your godly garments, donning your salvation smile, and locating your liturgical lingo. We spend a lot of time and energy building fig leaf hedges to hide our struggles and sin. There’s only one problem, those figs leaves grow best in the narcissistic soil of conceit and deceit!
Some painful weeding with the hoe of humility will uproot that hedge and bring down your pride. There’s nothing like sharing your failures with others to pull us down and set our feet firmly on the ground of the meek and lowly.
6. It helps you realize that you can’t do it on your own
The lie that we can be truly independent is one of the greatest deceptions of Western culture. Too often we want to do everything on our own. We want to figure things out for ourselves, solve our own problems and not inconvenience others with them.
Not only is this approach impossible, it is unbiblical (Gal 6:2).
7. It aids you in thinking through the problem
Finally, I believe that when you share your problem with others, it help you to process through the situation again, maybe in a way you had not seen it before. I found this to be true in my life many times. Often when I have a difficult situation I will talk it through with my wife first and often that solves it!