Today’s reading: Genesis 46:28-34
One of things I find attractive about Joseph’s example is his authenticity when interacting with those around him. We see this throughout his life, but it’s especially apparent when his brothers and family arrive in Egypt. Joseph is ruling over Egypt, yet he isn’t fixated on his status and consumed with maintaining appearances. Although he initially hides his identity from his brothers (something I believe was quite uncomfortable for him), once Joseph is able to determine the state of things with his family, he lets down his guard. He is incredibly real and transparent with his brothers and Jacob as well as with his Egyptian colleagues and Pharaoh: “And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it” (Gen. 45:2). Here are a two more examples: “Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them.” (Gen. 45:14-15); “[Joseph] presented himself to [Jacob] and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while” (Gen. 46:29).
Life isn’t struggle free, yet for whatever reason, we tend to think that we have to present a solid front at all times. While it can be hard to open up and share what we’re feeling and how we’re struggling with other people, I’ve learned over the years that letting others see what I’m experiencing can be a good thing both for me and for the other person (of course, we must use discernment about who we share information with).
Here’s one example. I have a propensity toward anxiety, and there was a period of years where anxiety had a strong hold over my life. It was a miserable time. I was embarrassed and felt stupid and weak because I couldn’t control it. I certainly didn’t want anyone to know.
After living and dealing with anxiety “quietly” for several years, it did get better, so I decided to talk about this struggle as I was speaking to a women’s group. In the talk, I shared about God using anxiety—as painful as it was—to draw me closer to Him. I have to be honest, I was a little scared to open up about having anxiety with these women, but it was (and still is) a part of my life experience and testimony. I’m so glad I decided to open up that day because it was freeing for me to finally talk about my anxiety. But more importantly, after I spoke several women came up to tell me that they too suffered with anxiety, that they had not told anyone, and that the quiet struggle was awful. They told me that my sharing made them realize that they were not alone and that they could talk about their struggle too without having to be ashamed. Wow! I in no way expected that response.
All that to say, talking about anxiety and other struggles is now a regular part of my ministry. I love how God has allowed me to use the difficult, painful, and sometimes downright awful experiences to encourage and help others.
Do you tend to struggle with letting those close to you know how you are truly feeling? If so, why? How does letting people (particularly family and close friends) see what we’re going through foster relationships? What about helping the other person? Tami
Source: Tami’s Blog