Recently I wrote about how God helps us in our difficulties can be used to comfort others. Providing comfort isn’t the only way our difficulties can help others.
One of the big things that seems to stop people from getting help with stuff (whether their sin or suffering that isn’t their fault) is feeling like they are living something no-one else is experiencing or could possibly understand. In reality of course there is nothing new under the sun. It’s is exceptionally unlikely that what we experience is bizarre enough for us to be the only one who have experienced it.
Jon Acuff came up with the phrase “the gift of going second”. Anne Jackson also expands on it beautifully in her book Permission To Speak Freely. The idea is that when we are willing to talk about our struggles, failing or pain, we make it easier for others to share and begin the road to healing. We spare them the awkwardness of being the first one to raise a difficult topic. I have seen the gift of going second come to life a lot lately, both as a recipient and a giver of the gift of going second. God used the honest sharing of some friends to get me talking about and dealing with some stuff I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Having someone be willing to be vulnerable start the conversation really does make a difference, particularly when it is on topics people don’t normally talk about.
Of course there is discernment that has to happen about who to share with and where the line is between helpful sharing and way too much information. Speaking out can also be scary. Those things are worth working through so we can help others on the journey to healing and wholeness.