The Hard Stories Need You to Listen

Yesterday, we talked about how we listen to the hard stories.

The ones we’re afraid to share.
The ones we think no one will listen to.
The ones so painful we have spent a lifetime clutching them close and protecting ourselves from the pain.

But what if your story, your journey through healing, your tale of redemption — is exactly what someone else needs to hear in order to heal?

Revelation 12:11 says “they have defeated [evil] by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.” That’s a two-part strategy. First, Jesus and his sacrifice for us makes it possible. Second, we respond by telling our story. Sharing our personal experience is what gets us engaged, draws us in, and keeps us focused on helping someone else instead of feeling sorry for ourselves.

But here’s the kicker…

The process of story-telling has two sides too.
First, the people telling the story.
Second, the people willing to listen.

What hard stories are you refusing to hear, because listening might make you feel exposed or vulnerable?

Is there someone around you who has been trying to share something deep or painful, and you’ve refused to listen? Someone who needs you to be a safe person they can trust?

As I’ve answered God’s call to speak out and share more of my story this year, it’s been far from comfortable. Sharing a survival story like mine isn’t easy. It’s terrifying to be this vulnerable and not know how people will react.

I’ve been reassured that the transparency is worth it, by the outpouring of messages from others living in similar painful and hope-lost situations, who have found encouragement.

I’ve also felt shaken when the occasional critic expresses judgment because the truth is uncomfortable, sometimes unbelievable.

Some people aren’t safe audiences.
They don’t like hearing the truth.
They’d rather you kept your story to yourself, nice and safe and unthreatening to their comfort zone, loved away behind the walls of a closed heart.

As you #ShedTheMask on your journey to living with one face, and you find the courage to tell your story, consider asking yourself if you are also choosing to listen.

Who might need you to listen to their testimony, encourage them to share, and stand behind them in support while they find their voice? Who is waiting for you to be a safe audience for the early telling of their own painful story?

Your willingness to listen might be their launchpad for a whole new horizon of healing.

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