Happy Military Family Appreciation Month! In honor of this special month, please enjoy a free excerpt from Faith Deployed. . . Again (below), and a chance to win THREE special books: Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs, The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, and the brand new Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life.
Complaining versus Confession
by Leeana Tankersley
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
“We knew what we were getting into when we signed up for this marriage. We have no right to complain.” Have you ever heard or said that line before?
Some of us have gotten good, maybe even too good, at coping. We steel ourselves into this pillar of strength, and we challenge anything to penetrate our armor. Meanwhile, we may or may not be feeling that same way on the inside, underneath our self-protective layers.
The problem with practicing this kind of incongruence—the outside and the inside at odds with each other—is that we get used to living split off from our true selves. We become accustomed to denying what’s actually going on inside us, and this creates a person who cannot be honest about her pain, cannot let others see her weakness, and cannot tolerate any kind of authentic struggle in others.
This woman sends the subtle (or not so subtle) message to her friends and to her children that the real winners are those who suck it up and deal with it and never let anyone see them sweat.
How incredibly isolating this behavior becomes for everyone. Yes, others may see us as amazingly stalwart, but they will never see us approachable. This keeps everyone dancing around each other at a safe distance, never really able to offer help and support.
[Tweet “How do we decipher between complaining and true confession?”]
So how do we decipher between complaining and true confession? Complaining is all about staying stuck, rehearsing the injustices with no desire to see things differently, change behavior, or receive support. Complaining is about wallowing and whining.
Confessing is something different altogether. Honest confession is an externalizing of an inward conversation for the purpose of gaining insight, releasing a burden, or admitting reality. Confession leads to movement and helps us get out of the grind of merely coping. It opens doors to growth and change because it is an act of congruence. By externalizing—sharing—our true state of affairs, we are better able to receive the help we really need.
It’s risky to show need. Whether the need is emotional or financial or any other kind, being “needy” is kind of passé and, well, burdensome. I want to be the kind of person who flies through life with answers and resources and decorum and brilliant ease. I want to be a “have,” not a “have not.”
Still, I have a choice. I can cover up the depth of my need and miss an opportunity for true authenticity with myself, God, and others. Or, I can take a big risk and admit that I just might need some help and support. A friend once told me that when we share our burdens with others, the weight we are carrying is divided between those listening, and our load is immediately lightened. What a beautiful picture. Carrying and being carried.
Is my pride and sense of control keeping me from getting the support I really need?
Am I willing to listen to others and lovingly carry their burdens as well?
God, I want to be strong, but I need safe places where I can be weak, too. Show me how to allow someone else to help carry my burdens. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Ladies, be sure to join us for the Faith Deployed. . .Again online book club! It starts November 10–still plenty of time to find a copy of the book!
Please use Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win the three book bundle: Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs, The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, and the brand new Stories Around the Table: Laughter, Wisdom, and Strength in Military Life. NOTE: You need only choose one of the options listed in the Rafflecopter box in order to enter the drawing. But you may choose more than one to increase your chances.
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