8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9, CEB
I have found a lot of hope in sharing my life honestly with others. I have people that I go to and I talk about the struggles that I have in my life, in my marriage, in my work, in whatever. They talk me through it. They give me a sense of what is normal, or what is acceptable, and what is not. They help me see where my blind spots are and what my contributions to various problems are.
In marriage, my wife and I deeply trust my parents. I often go to my dad to talk about whatever problems we’re having in a given week. He gives me wise counsel. Brittany often goes to my mom to do the same, and she does. Mom and dad probably talk to each other about our problems and brainstorm how best they can be helpful to us. And they are always helpful.
We don’t hold anything back from them because we wouldn’t get the best possible counsel if we did. If they have the full honest picture then they know best how to respond. And we benefit. This has been my largest source of hope over the last couple of years because it’s such a perfect example of how community works. We bring honesty and allow other people the opportunity to help us learn and grow. Other people help us focus on what is pure and holy. They help us find a way to live a godly life. We work together to live lives that reflect God. This is what it means to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, as Philippians advises.
Hope can be found in the difficulty of sharing struggle and working towards a solution. It’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding. It’s rewarding to give someone an opportunity to truly know who you are behind closed doors. It’s rewarding to be known. Others can’t know us or be helpful to us in our discipleship unless we invite them in to our darkest struggles. But, when we do, we find hope as we live with nothing hidden.