My poor mother had no idea what was going on but was brave enough to open herself to the plight of a teenager.
Reference: v.14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. (NIV Bible)
Explore: I can remember one time in Year 8 when I was having some troubles with the girls at school. I had moved to a new school and breaking in to friendship circles was proving to be quite difficult. As with all teenagers, my troubles at school flowed in to my home life and my mother quickly picked up that there was something wrong. She cornered me in my bedroom one day and asked me if I wanted to talk about it. My poor mother had no idea what was going on but was brave enough to open herself to the plight of a teenager. But from my point of view there was nothing my mother could do. What was the point of talking about it? It wasn’t like she could make the girls at school like me. And so I told her not to worry and that everything was fine. She paused, no doubt wondering whether she should just let it go, and then said, “There’s a saying that goes: ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’ Sometimes you can feel better about things just by talking about them.” Even though I was only a teenager I was smart enough to know for myself that just by saying words was not going to change my predicament. But, Mum had put herself out there and showed that she cared, and so I told her about what was happening at school. I don’t remember her giving me any profound friendship wisdom and to my great relief she didn’t turn up at school to confront any of the girls at school, but I do remember feeling a lot better within myself once I had shared my problems. Maybe there really was something to that saying.
Application: We all experience many different trials in our lives. Whether they are life changing trials or just minor inconveniences, they still affect us in different ways. In this fourth chapter of Philippians Paul encourages us to share our burdens, just like my mum did. In verse six he says to share them with God and then in verse 14 he shows that he has benefitted from sharing his troubles with others. It’s so easy for us to bottle up our issues and keep them to ourselves. There are some things in life that we just have to deal with and no one can do anything about it. However, while I can not explain it fully, there is something powerful about sharing our burdens. Whether it is laying them out before God, a trusted friend or even a professional counsellor, there is something helpful in sharing. While our troubles and burdens do not completely go away, it’s almost like a problem shared really is a problem halved.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for always being there for us to talk to. No matter how great or minor our burden is, we can share it with You and You understand. Amen.
Are you carrying a burden in your life at the moment? Who can you share it with?
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.