I feel like I need to explain something about myself, because I’ve only recently begun to realize that people don’t think the same way I do. Surprise! Okay, I’m kind of kidding, because I do know that people think differently, but I didn’t realize they didn’t understand my way of thinking, and at the risk of sounding self-centered, I want to explain.
If you’ve known me for awhile or if we’ve had extended one-on-one conversations, you probably know some of my weaknesses. You have probably seen at least part of my struggles, and you probably know some of the doubts I wrestle with. That’s because I usually give out that information without hesitation, especially if you have showed a bit of your own vulnerability to me. But I realize some people might be confused as to why I so readily share those things. Here’s why–because I am encouraged when others share their own vulnerability, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This will sound mean for a moment, but when I hear that others are struggling with the same things I do or in the same ways I struggle, my first thoughts are thoughts of encouragement (to myself, I mean.) I think things like, “I’m not alone.” “Other’s have been here too.” “This problem is defeat-able.” “We can do this together.” That is why when someone shows a piece of their heart to me, my gut reaction is to show a piece of my heart to them, and show the same struggle in my own life. I will say (or at least think) things like, “Yes, I’ve struggled along those lines.” “That happened to me too at this time and that time.” “I deal with this too.”
What I’m realizing is that this doesn’t always come across as an encouragement. It either comes across as 1) trying to one-up their pain with my own pain or 2) giving them an excuse not to deal with it. That’s not it at all! My pain is no more important than your own, and even though some trials seem so much larger than others, I know that while you’re in them–they are all painful! What might be a small deal for one person, is huge for another, so to each his own. Also, if you are dealing with sin, there is no excuse to let it sit and fester. I only want to be there to help you.
Before I close, I do also acknowledge that my feelings above are not always the case. Sometimes I am in a bout of self-pity, I am too self-centered, and I talk before I listen. That aside, I only want to understand and be understood.
I suppose all I would like to say is that I really do care, I want to fight with you, and I’m sorry if I’ve ever hurt you by talking about myself instead of letting you talk about yourself.