I grew up in a house with my two brothers, my dad and my mom. With four guys and my mom being the only female, there was not a lot of emotion in our household, as I’m sure you could imagine. I think most guys are similar, but I don’t think anyone in my family would consider themselves a talker or at being particularly good at just expressing emotion in general. When I was a teenager and I got home from school everyday, mom would ask me how my day was. I don’t think there was ever a day in which I didn’t respond with either “good” or “fine.” I think there was an element of that which was just me being a teenager and not wanting to talk about things with my parents. But still today, when Jennah or anyone really asks how my day was, that is still just my gut response. I don’t do it intentionally, but I often genuinely can’t really think of much to say about my day.
I know this is probably shocking to most people, but I’m not really an emotional person. I tend to think and act more logically than emotionally. When things happen in life, I think I tend to process them mostly internally. I don’t always intentionally refrain from talking about my feelings or what I’m dealing with, but it’s just not something that comes naturally or something I always want to do. That is pretty much how I’ve been all my life.
Recently, I started dealing with some tough situations. As per usual, I kept it to myself. Over the months I continued to work through it and things got better. Then one day, a close friend of mine from college wanted to talk. This is someone who I talk to on a regular basis and have spent a lot of time with. They filled me in on the tough issues they’d been dealing with recently. Turns out, they had been going through a very similar situation to me for months now. All this time someone this close to me was fighting some of the same battles I was; but neither one of us ever knew until things had already gotten worse than they needed to.
In John 13:34-35, Jesus is talking to His disciples and says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jesus told us to love others like He did, and He told us that other people will know we belong to Him based on how we love each other. One of the best ways to love others is to help them in times of need. If we never speak up to others about what we are going through, though, there’s no way they can help bear our burdens like we are told to in Galatians 6:2–“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
I often don’t talk about my emotions or struggles simply because I just don’t feel like I need to. I legitimately think that I am doing just fine. That may be the case, but even if it is, there is still much to benefit from by being honest with others about what is going on. I was able to see some of my struggles in a new light, thanks to the different perspective my friend provided me. If nothing else, when you are willing to be honest and talk to others about what you’re dealing with, you may help someone else out by letting them know they aren’t alone in their battle. So often people think they are the only ones who are struggling with something. When we are willing to be honest and let someone know about our battles, that can be the encouragement someone needs to reach out for help.
God placed other people in our lives for a reason and He doesn’t intend for us to deal with our issues alone. We are supposed to be loving others and caring for each other. To me, it so often feels like it is just easiest and more comfortable for me to deal with my issues myself, internally. That’s not what God intended for us, though. We are not alone in our struggles. You can certainly help yourself when you open up to someone so they can support you and pray for you, but you also never know who you will help as well just by opening up and letting them know that they aren’t the only person with struggles.