|Posted on August 5, 2019 at 7:45 AM|
Are you willing to share your story?
I’ve always tended to be a fairly private person. When I was growing up I don’t recall many discussions about other people’s problems, even for related family members. I was encouraged to not ask questions about other people’s lives. And although I don’t recall ever being TOLD not to share our own private stories, somehow it seemed to be implied that we just didn’t do that.
As I grew, I watched other people live their lives. I did have some close friends, but I wasn’t super close to a lot of people, and I tended to view most people’s lives through rose-colored glasses. I didn’t see any “dirty laundry,” and it seemed most people had pretty good Leave it to Beaver lives where the biggest problem anyone had was getting punished for skipping school. (Caveat - this was in the era before reality TV shows!)
So when it came time for me to deal with my own serious life challenges, I didn’t talk much about them. Oh, my close friends knew, but the rest of the world did not, or maybe I just thought they did not know. I lived in my own little world, holding my pain close, thinking that I was one of only a few that had major trouble in their life.
It wasn’t until I went on a weekend retreat that my eyes started to open. I listened in disbelief as several women shared their personal stories of pain and agony. The floodgates opened and I cried profusely as I was carried along with each speaker through her experiences. I had no idea so many people had issues.
By the end of that weekend I was completely spent emotionally. But I had learned that I was not the only one who had experienced something painful in her life. These other women did not have perfect lives like I had thought, yet they had managed to come through their brokenness and find healing in the midst of their sorrow.
That weekend I learned many things: It is perfectly normal to have problems in your life and screw up. You CAN find forgiveness for your mistakes. And you can make changes to put the scarred past behind you and become a better person.
I learned all this because some women were willing to tell their stories. Their individual experiences may not have been the same as mine, but their willingness to share their trials and how they found hope gave ME hope. I was not alone in my problems! Others have gone through situations much worse than mine and made it through. And I realized I could make it too.
In time, I was also able to share my story. And when I did, it helped me travel further along the path of healing. Since that retreat encounter many years ago, I have been a speaker at a number of subsequent retreats and I have shared my experiences with many individuals and groups who have faced challenges in their lives. My purpose has been to offer them hope – to show them they are not alone, and that resources exist to help them work through their issues.
What about you – do you have a story to tell? Would you be willing to share that story with at least one other person this week? I encourage you to try it. And if you need someone to listen to your story, let me know – I’d be happy to listen.
Sometimes sharing our stories with others is a beautiful blessing – not only for others, but for us as well. Share your story!
Have a blessed Monday!
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