Alone or With Others

I process my thoughts and feelings internally.

I'm more likely to extensively think about what I'm going to say, or try to understand an idea in my own head before speaking out loud.

That tendency to process quietly by myself plays out in different aspects of my life. If I'm going through a challenging time, I'll default to thinking about it, working through it, agonizing over it, and trying to problem-solve alone, without bringing anyone in.

Can you relate?

Let's not be fooled. That's not internally processing. In my life, such self-led problem-solving has been the result of pride and shame. Pride, due to feeling like I was (or should be) strong enough to handle it on my own...and that all I needed was to pick myself up. Shame, because of not wanting anyone to know what I was going through. And loneliness, feeling like no one truly understood my pain, or could offer any support that would actually help.

On Sunday, April 15, Nate Woznick shared a powerful message about discipleship, about intentionally walking alongside people who are also following Jesus and sharing life with each other. One of his takeaway points was about the need for humility and vulnerability in discipleship - opening ourselves up, and allowing others to see how we're living so we can grow and become more like Jesus.

Discipleship challenges the part of me that wants to hide away. Over the past year especially, I've been vulnerable with the two women in my discipleship group, sharing things that I struggle with, patterns of sin, hurts and frustrations. But also, joys and triumphs, successes and wins. These two women rejoice with me, listen to me, speak corrective truth, intercede for me in prayer, and spur me on in all aspects of my life. They encourage me in leadership, as a single woman, and in my career, just to name a few.

Photo credit  :  Ben White

Photo creditBen White

Sharing the joys is easy. Sharing the struggles literally pains me as I'm talking. I can't even look them in the eye sometimes.

But each time I share what's happening in my life, I'm encouraged to do it again in the future. I don't do it because I'm incredibly open and want to tell everyone my inner-most, deepest secrets.

I do it because I can't successfully address what I struggle with on my own.

God designed humans to be in community.

It is not good for man to be alone. -Genesis 2.18

And in James 5.16, I'm quite plainly told that community is a requirement for healing - ie, victory.

 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (NIV). -James 5.16

I would normally be the first to say that I'm "a private person." And there's nothing wrong with not wanting everyone to know your business. But if God is trying to use people to bring encouragement, correction, truth, and love into my life, secluding myself makes me miss out on those life-giving moments. And it makes me more susceptible to accepting the lies of the enemy as truth, and keeps me from experiencing freedom.

I’m so thankful for these women God brought into my life who accept me as I am, continuously speak truth over me, and help me see who God created me to be.

About the Author: Lis is an entrepreneur and a musician, hailing from the East Coast. She enjoys reading in the grass, and is always ready to engage in some improv. She may or may not try to outrun children in playgrounds so she can get to the swings first.