Our Stories Free Others To Share Their Struggles
Sharing our story (Our life's journey) is a powerful experience for both the sharer and the listener. Our stories inspire others and they help us better understand ourselves. Have you experienced how sharing a story can help free someone? What about how going first allows someone else to go second?
Years ago, I was in a tough spot in life when I struggled with a pornography addiction. I wanted to share this with someone, but I felt trapped and scared. I wanted out of this cycle of shame but I couldn't (on my own) take the steps forward.
Yesterday, I was listening to this podcast (Open Account, Family Secret) where the three children, whose father had a gambling addiction for three decades, share their story. The family secret left their parents in financial ruin, and when the kids finally found out about the addiction, it was devastating. When we're trapped, we can easily end up in this place of ruin when we don't get help along the way. While it was not as extreme as this example, I got a small taste of this in my own life.
Help came my way from an old friend when one day after years apart we met up for a movie. After it was over he shared his story. He also shared about his personal struggles, and the journey of redemption God took him through. By sharing, he created a safe place for me to listen and open up. The more he shared about his sin, the more freed I was to share mine. It felt as if he knew I needed to share, and I responded.
I had not openly spoken about my hidden sin, but I was relieved when God finally brought someone into my life. I was able to share without feeling condemned back into my cycle of shame. Instead, I experienced grace and love. It was from this safe place I was empowered to share. Back and forth we went as I confessed my struggles until five in the morning.
This was one a catalysts which became part of my journey to restore me to the place God had intended all along. I wanted this freedom badly, but I couldn't do it by myself. I needed help and I needed someone else to go first. That someone took the first step and shared his story.
It's no accident the last of twelve steps in Alcoholics Anonymous is to find and help someone else. Part of conquering our own struggle is to go beyond ourselves. So, I continue to share my story to help free others like my friend freed me, and like Christ freed us all.
In what area of your life could you experience freedom if someone allowed you to go second? Where are you sharing your struggles to help free others?