The scene gets repeated hundreds of thousands of times each day. Two people meet over lunch, coffee, or some other relaxed venue to catch up with each other on what has been happening in each of their lives.
If the relationship is one that has stood the test of time and trustworthiness, conversations flow easily from one topic to another, from deeply personal concerns or beliefs to the latest fads or headlines. Each feels pretty safe as a result of previous conversations and confidences that were not betrayed.
It would be wonderful if that were common for our times with one another; but more often than any of us would like to admit or recall, we discover the person we entrusted found it too tempting to keep our conversation only between the two of us. Most of the time we learn about the breach. If the tidbit shared was relatively inconsequential, we are fortunate. We DO make a mental note, however, and find ourselves reflecting on what else we might have shared that could be more significant.
Within the Christian community, information can often be repeated or shared under the guise of a prayer request. Certainly there are times when the motives are pure. We know someone is facing a cancer diagnosis and we want anyone and everyone to be praying and we skip the request to not share with anyone else.
Early in our walk with Christ when we look at fellow believers as mature and trustworthy without question, we can be naïve and openly share information with those who may not be safe for us.
For some who hear, they are tempted to share or use our information to in some way make them feel more important or special for being “in the know” and passing it along to others. We don’t always receive the acceptance, understanding, and encouragement we hope to hear. Sometimes we hear what seems like religious jargon that fails to show the person really heard our heart.
Others of us tend to be very closed to share much of anything about ourselves. The result is usually that we have very few relationships and despite our fears about sharing, we may feel lonely and unfulfilled by the relationships that we do have.
What is the answer?
We need to grow in our discernment, learning from our observations of the person we are sharing with and also from our past experiences. That can also mean getting beyond our adolescent desires to have one “best friend” we can share everything with.
Each of us is a complex, unique creation, and no other person can hear, understand, or relate to every aspect of who we are. That will not usually be the case except with “the” best friend we can have who will never betray us and understands every aspect of us more than we do — the Lord Himself.
The snare the enemy sets for us is to let our feelings at the moment dictate what, how much, and to whom we share. Even before hearing there is any betrayal, in those cases we can often regret how much we let roll out of our mouths.
That nudge to “spill our guts” is even stronger when we have not first done so in our time alone with the Lord. We all can often benefit from talking through something or processing something with another person, but it is key to remember to not neglect sharing it first with the One who hears us best and loves us most.
If we fail to grow in discernment, we fall into another enemy snare and close ourselves off. Liz Curtis Higgs notes,
“Discernment is needed. But for most of us, the greater danger is being close minded instead of open hearted, staying home rather than venturing forth, playing it safe instead of taking a risk.”
ALL relationships involve some level of risk, but God designed us as relational beings.
Perhaps the key is once again to learn to hear His voice, trust His leading, and know He will be there even when we mess up.
14 thoughts on “To Share or Not to Share”
Pam, this is a super powerful post that resonates with me. I publicly share a lot of my life and personal struggles in an effort to create a safe community for others. However, I am becoming less and less inclined to share these things with real actual people in my life. It is a strange dichotomy of sorts that I haven’t quite figured out. But this post is prompting me to think about it more. Thanks for sharing and linking up.
I know I need to keep information private that’s been shared with me if it’s been shared for that very reason. I do find that a bit hard but respect that I have been trusted like that.
Thanks so much for joining in the 2nd Life This Week in 2020 and next week the optional prompt is 3/51 Remember This 20.1.2020. I do hope to see you link up too. Denyse.
Thanks so much for sharing, Denyse and I will try to remember that and look to come back.
That quote from Liz Curtis Higgs is gold. laurensparks.net
I tend to share everything with my trusted friends. After reading your post (and thinking about my word for the year – “humility”) I believe maybe I should share less and listen more. thank you for helping me think about my word, Pam!
I think there are friends we can share at great levels and some only can handle deep levels. In my own life what I would want to share or process with someone would impact which friends I would share with. One very dear friend is in a similar season of life and things related to that for either of us is shared most easily and we have been friends for 30 years. Another friend is one with whom I share deeper spiritual things with because she is one whose walk with the Lord is similar to mine in development. When I was younger, I expected one or two friends to hear the whole gamut if I needed to talk and now I do things differently and it also allows my friends to bless me greatly and me to not overburden anyone.
I think it is also important to ask yourself when sharing something big if the person can walk with that burden of knowledge alone. Is it fair not to give them someone to help them walk with that news?
There is a huge difference with someone posting it to social media or blaring it to all your social group. However, I know when I’ve shared big news with someone, that person may need someone else to “process” that news with and as long as it is discreet I think that’s fair. If you choose your confidants wisely you choose people who can manage to share only when they need to work through something with someone who lets it end there.
I’ve shared with people who processed with others and I recently went through a situation where someone got news they weren’t prepared for and shared it with me. It ended with me. However, this allowed the person who shared to process and be present for the person who will need support going forward.
It isn’t always about gossip or attention seeking. Sometimes when we share big things the person we are sharing with is overwhelmed with the news. If chosen wisely having someone to work through that news can produce a better support system for the person who originally shared the information.
Very good observations. Thank you. I would agree with you and also that the need to make those choices wise are great! Your friends are blessed to have someone with the integrity you clearly have.
I have a couple of trusted non-judgemental friends who are a “vault” for me as I am for them.
This is perfect for me as part of my “lingering” this year will be to not only listen more but also to share more. I tend to be the friend who collects talkers as friends; I listen, they talk. ha. It’s often easier for me to give my attention and ask questions, instead of thinking of things about myself that would be interesting or helpful to share. So I can see how your advice can work on both ends of the spectrum. Thanks, Pam!
What a keen observation of yourself, Lisa! I spent the last 25 years of my professional life listening to others and I tend to do that pretty easily, but I also desire to be known and I hope to have more within my circle who ask me good questions (NOT “How are you?”) to allow me to share a bit more. Can’t wait to see what this year’s focus word for you results in for you.♥️
So tend to share with a few trusted friends true. Our need to share diminishes when we share it first with God. We do need discernment. If I don’t want everyone to know, I need to be wise in who I share it with. I have a few close friends I trust, and they are the ones I share the most with.
You appear to be a wise woman indeed, Theresa. Often it takes we girls/ladies longer to learn this than is best, but the Lord uses it all.😊
Beautiful sentiment and love your heartwarming pics!