Be Uncomfortable

Have you ever noticed how little we share our problems openly?  Are we afraid of judgment?  Are we too prideful to admit we have struggled?  Is it that we are embarrassed and want to hide? 

Whatever the reason, WE NEED TO STOP!   In fact, I dare say that we should be okay with being 'uncomfortable' because that is where we will comfort those who need us most. 


Several years ago I was giving a talk in church and I kept feeling prompted to talk about several things that were VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.  One of those experiences was my adoption experience and the other was (and still is) something that still makes me squirm when I talk about it.  In fact, as I am writing this I am hesitant to even mention it… but here it goes.  I struggled with cutting/self-harm all through my life. [Note:  I haven't done it for many years but I would be lying if I said that the thought doesn't creep into my mind when I am going through something particularly difficult to deal with emotionally].


So here I was… getting the feeling to talk about something that the world doesn't understand and makes everyone uncomfortable to talk about it.  I told my mom my prompting… and she looked at me horrified and said "Well, maybe you can share that in your area but I don't think it would go over so well in mine".  OH-KAY… Now I'm more uncomfortable talking about it.  


The big day arrived and I had decided that I would give a 'general' experience and NOT tell them that it was about me.  But as I was standing in front of that room something happened… I found myself telling the stories in FIRST person.  Yep, I told them it was me.  


After my talk I was standing around talking to a couple of friends and in the background was a woman I had never seen before.  She was dressed in a lot of black and had sadness in her eyes.  I could feel that she wanted to talk to me alone.  I finally wiggled away from the others and the first thing she said was "I can relate" and then she lifted up the sleeve of her shirt to expose bloody gashes up and down her arm.  We then talked for a few minutes about it and she expressed that she was getting help but that she really appreciated me talking about it.  


My dear friends, let's BE UNCOMFORTABLE together.  As we open up and share things from our past, we will be exposed… but we will also allow others to find solace in knowing they are not alone in their challenges.  


Now I also want to give you a warning… you will get strange looks.  Some people will NOT know how to handle it.  And you might even hear rude comments from people who are extremely uncomfortable with your topic… but please know – that is THEIR issue, not yours.  I cannot even begin to tell you all of the times I got a strange reaction, or silence, or weird comments.  It is part of the process and hopefully they will someday learn to be uncomfortable, too, but if they don't – we shouldn't judge them but just let their reactions fall by the wayside as we continue on our path of helping others.  


A couple of years ago I was struggling with opening up about things in my past.  I had gotten some strange reactions from people and desperately wanted to stop sharing.  I sat down and prayed.  I asked God "WHY do I need to share these uncomfortable things?  Why? "  These words enter my mind:


"This experience is no longer yours"

"Okay, Father.  Let me see if I understand" I said. 

I flipped through the questions. 

"If it's no longer mine… then whose is it?" 

Answers filled my mind.

"Ahh… I get it.  I've gained all I can from this experience and now it will be used benefit someone else. Right?"



What do you think?  Can you do this with me?  Let's be exposed and fearless.  Let's reach out to those that are silently suffering and feeling alone. 



Have you felt the need to share some uncomfortable experiences?  How did it feel?  What are your reactions after hearing someone share a painful experience?  Do you judge them or feel closer to them?