Lately I've been a bit self-conscience. I sometimes think that when someone asks me a question I keep coming up with the same answers or referring to the same things. I worry that people may think I'm self-centered, that I have tunnel vision, or that I can only talk about certain things. I've been participating in an adult study group at church. We'll watch a video, then attempt to answer questions as a group from a corresponding workbook. We'll discuss questions about the video we watched or related scriptures that we read or then try to answer the really tough questions. The ones that ask you about 'what specific situations can you relate from your own life'. That's when it gets hard. No one wants to be the first one to answer. No one wants to be transparent or vulnerable by putting themselves out there, but after a long awkward moment of silence someone steps up to the plate and gets things rolling.
When the question is 'what has been a tough experience in your life when you felt you persevered?' it's only natural for me to talk about beating cancer. But then I wonder if everyone is tired of hearing about my past situation. If my 'thing' was beating cancer or coming from a divorced family then that is my story and my life. Someone else's may be dealing with grief or coming out of an abusive relationship or beating an addiction. Should we be quiet and not share our stories? I don't think so.
I learn so much about other people by listening to their stories, therefore learning more about myself. There are situations and relationships I can't talk about because they're not my life. I can't pretend to be something or someone I'm not, that's not God's plan for me. He made me who I am, He sent challenges my way so I could become stronger, He has put people in my life so I could learn, and He continues to help me find my way. I'm still unsure about things. I'm still impatient. I still have a difficult time not giving myself down time (but I'm working on it). But in the end I've come to the conclusion that we talk about what we know. That's when we'll be the most honest and real. Anything less than that is a waste and being phony. Not something any of us want to be. I'm thinking it's all about creating a balance. It's one thing to share what we know, but it's entirely another to stop and listen to someone else. That's when we really learn.
What do you think? Do you have a hard time opening up with people and being totally and completely vulnerable and honest?