#BreakingTheCycle: Sharing is Caring
If we take a look back at any given PBS television show in the past 30 years, there are probably hundreds of episodes of some giant fuzzy, furry, feathery character trying to impart life wisdom into our eight-year-old selves. And if it wasn’t a character, it was a nice man in a cardigan who invited us to be his neighbor every day after school. (I’m leaving Barney off the list because I didn’t like him then and my protest is going 20+ years strong) But regardless of the show, there always seemed to be similar themes; one of those main themes being that “sharing is caring.”
We sang along to the songs, even did those weird little dances. As kids, we were excited about this whole sharing business. Well, we were excited until it came to sharing something that we really wanted to keep all to ourselves. Then we would go from “sharing is caring” to “if you care about yourself, back off” (or maybe I was just a really aggressive child). Whatever the back story, one thing was consistent: we’re cool with sharing…until we don’t want to anymore.
Isn’t that thought process so familiar? We are so energized by opportunities and ventures until they cause some amount friction or uncomfortable growth in our lives. That’s when we start saying things like, “ya know, I don’t really know if this is God’s will for my life!” LOL! But all jokes aside, when things seem uncomfortable it is not our natural instinct to run towards the discomfort. It’s actually quite the opposite; we try to get back to a norm before we branch out again. So, sharing things we don’t want to share would be generally awkward and probably annoying.
And what about those things that are hardest to share in the first place? Not physical things like a room, money or food (even though food is a big one). I mean things like dreams, goals, aspirations and dare I say it…feelings (*in my spooky ghost story telling voice*).
I have a theory as to why our emotions are (one of) the hardest things to share. Partly because I believe we’ve spent most of our time being taught and told how to get past them (at least the negative ones) and not how to actually experience them. Some very well-meaning people in our lives did the best they could to make things “better.” When we were upset or sad, someone probably comforted us by telling us not to be mad or that “it’ll be okay.” But the expression of feelings probably made them a little uncomfortable, so they accidentally taught us how to stuff our feelings. From then on, sharing emotion became synonymous with being uncomfortable and hiding emotion became the thing to do.
But is stuffing our emotions deeper and deeper really the thing to do? Is it really “right?” And who defines what is right about our feelings anyway?!
Well, God had some pretty awesome suggestions.
Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
And these are just a couple of references. But the idea here is that we are healed and our load is made lighter by what we choose to share with others. Now, I’m not advocating that we start spilling the depths of our souls to the cashiers at Target (let’s keep some boundaries my people). But I do want to throw this question out there: If the creator of the universe and holder of all infinite wisdom knew we would need to share our feelings and stressors with other people, what makes us think we don’t need to share with others???
Chat with God
Which emotions are you most likely to keep to yourself?
What is it about those emotions that are hard to share with others?
What is your one sentence prayer in this situation?
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