Gospel Relevance

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Why Christians Should Speak Openly About Their Struggles

I love hearing the success stories of guys like Lecrae, John Piper, and Tim Keller. I get so encouraged when I hear about how God is using them. This is true. But this is also true: I feel ten times more encouraged when they talk about their struggles than when they talk about their success.

Why Christians Should Speak Openly About Their Struggles

Photo Credit: unspalsh.com

This rang true again recently. I sat in a room with over 10 guys as we listened to a pastor speak on leadership. Many quotes, statements, and sentiments were made that inspired me. I learned a lot. But then there was one moment that had me on the edge of my seat, that had my eyes glued into the pastor’s soul — and that was when he spoke of his struggles.

“You mean to tell me you’re human, too?”

Now I feel connected to you.

See how that works?

Sharing your struggles will help you connect with people.

Listen, you don’t have to hide your pain and hurt, your past failures and flaws. They don’t define you. Jesus does. And you might think that you need to hide your weaknesses, because showing them diminishes credibility. But that’s not true. In fact, the opposite is true: vulnerability creates intimacy, and this leads to credibility.

Plus, God wants you to minister to people. “Blessed be God … who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction” (2 Cor. 1:4).

One of the purposes of your pain is to help others with theirs.

If you don’t speak about your sins and flaws, your impact on others will be limited.

And there’s lots of people around you who could use your help.

Just consider these statistics on depression.

Statistics on Depression

1. It is reported that 1 in 10 Americans are affected by depression.

2. Over 80% of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment.

3. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30% every year.

4. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression.

Time would fall to mention anxiety and loneliness and other forms of emotional instabilities. The point is, there are people in your life who are hurting, and one of the ways to get people to talk about their problems is to talk about yours. And by talking about your pain, you will better connect with people.

Share Your Struggles

You might think that you don’t want to share your burdens on people because you don’t want to weigh them down. But consider these short words from Paul: “Bear one another’s burdens . . .” (Galatians 6:2).

How can someone bear your burdens if you don’t tell them? And how can you bear someone else’s burdens if they don’t tell you?

You are not a burden. Your problems are. And if you’re in a good church, their will be people around to help carry the load as you likewise help carry theirs. God has set things up to where we need one another.

The church together can help. Maybe it’s a sermon series on suffering, or free gospel-centered resources, or creating non-profit organizations or whatever. Whatever it is, a good place to start is to admit that while Jesus has it all-together, we don’t. Sharing our pain will bring us closer together. As Lecrae once said, “I’m not a Christian because I’m strong and have it all together. I’m a Christian because I’m weak and admit I need a Savior.”

Share your story with someone today.

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  3. Why I Always Feel Depressed on My Birthday

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.

7 Replies

  1. Same thing here David- the posts and articles that helped me the most were those when the writer openly shared his/her struggles- it’s often a big encouragement to know we are not alone. Thanks for sharing !

    1. Hi, Stephanie. Couldn’t agree more! Feeling alone is not a good feeling, and knowing that others are going through the same thing often brings joy and encouragement.

  2. Out of Silence Now

    Thanks for posting on this topic. I found your post encouraging especially this part
    “You are not a burden. Your problems are. And if you’re in a good church, their will be people around to help carry the load as you likewise help carry theirs. God has set things up to where we need one another.”
    I think people often don’t share struggles because they do not want to be a burden. For years I did not let people know I was going through some tough times. I would act like I was happy with my life as is. Being this way caused a lot of damage that God is slowly allowing me to see. It has taken some time for me to become comfortable with admitting that I’m struggling to others. To let someone see into your life requires trust and humility. My question is what should you do when you have shared your struggles and it falls on deaf ears? In my case that kind of reaction would make me shrink back and cease to share future struggles.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this part too
    “One of the purposes of your pain is to help others with theirs.” In my current struggle I know what is needed by someone going through the same thing. I began writing down the scriptures that I found encouraging. I see the need to be a good active listener who follows up on what someone has said. It’s amazing how just being physically present with someone who is struggling can be so encouraging. My question is what would you say to someone who does not have strong support from their Christian community?

    1. Hi, Camika. I agree that it takes trust and humility to share your life with others. When we share things with people, it can hurt when we feel as if it fell on deaf ears. My challenge for myself is to ask: Did that *really* fall on deaf ears, or is that just my perception? Is the problem them, or is it really me? Total depravity affects us all and it’s not easy to deal with people. But I’m always reminded of Paul’s words to the Colossians for situations like this: “Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive” (Col. 3:13). Paul wouldn’t say to “bear with one another” if people weren’t hard to deal with! If I were you, I’d stay in the community you’re in, pray for people to help bear your burdens, and pray that God would help you apply the power of the gospel to this area of your life. The last one is crucial. Hope that helps.

      1. Out of Silence Now

        Thanks

  3. Church leaders, most often, are scared to reveal their weaknesses. They fear for their job, they fear they will loose respect. In my seminar, Spiritual Battle Plan, they hear my story of a long struggle with lust. Then often men in their congregation are admitting the same. At this point, sometimes they feel the permission to open up and admit their own struggles. We desperately need men and women of courage to step out and make themselves vulnerable enough to show the church how to overcome.

    1. Yep. Hence why I’m encouraged when Piper and Keller share their battles.