Everyday, we meet people. Most people we meet, seem to have it together. You would never know what is going on behind the mask they wear for everyone else. I find this true especially at church.
You get up, dress nice, fix hair and makeup, and head to church. On the way there, you argue with your family and cut people off in traffic. When you walk through those doors though, you put on your prettiest church smile, and when someone asks how you are, you respond with "Great!" Forget that your husband lost his job last week, you were just diagnosed with cancer, had a miscarriage, or found out your spouse is leaving you.
No one wants to open up and share those things. We want to put on the happy face and pretend that nothing is wrong. We want to look like we have it all together.
I've found though, when I open up, it's amazing what other people will do. When they find out that my husband has a traumatic brain injury, and the journey that took us through, all of a sudden, people are willing to share their own struggles.
Suddenly, I'm not some perfect, put-together, have it all woman. I'm real. I'm broken. I've experienced tragedy and prevailed. People can relate to that. We are all broken. We have all experienced tragedy in some form.
I've found that people want to talk about their hurts, but they are afraid of being judged. But when I open up first, and share my honest struggles, it grants a free pass for them to do the same. I don't put icing on my struggles. I'm honest about what I was thinking. I struggled with how to pray, how to get through the day, how to stay married to a man who wasn't the person I said "I Do" to. I have real struggles, real feelings.
When I am open to share that, it's amazing what people will tell me. There's a sense of acceptance in their eyes. Not acceptance for me, but a feeling that they will be accepted by me. I see in their eyes that they can believe that I will understand if they share their struggles too. And it gives me the opportunity to share of someone else who will accept them no matter what they have done.
Over the years, I have tried to share Jesus with people. But I always got in the way. I went about it wrong. I tried to tell the story instead of share the love. In the last 2 years though, I've found that all I have to do is share my story, just open up. When I share what I've gone through, my struggles, it gives me an opportunity to share Christ's love without forcing it. When I set aside my agenda, God gives me the opportunity to serve Him.
Jesus said to love others. When I love others, His love shines through me. God has given me a story to share. He has provided me with an opportunity to love others through sharing the story He gave me. When I share this story, it provides me with the opportunity to listen to someone else's hurts. It makes me real again. All I have to do is open up.
What story has God given you to share?