I have a question for the guys today: how comfortable are you sharing your burdens with other men? When I wrote about accountability partners, I encountered a problem I did not expect. I didn’t have a personal photo that would work. So, I searched for a stock photo of two guys studying the Bible or praying together…or, well, anything along those lines really.
It was a challenge to find one and exemplified something I knew but hadn’t mentally processed until now. Men don’t like to open up to each other. Growing in our faith together sounds great on paper but in practice we keep to ourselves. Our joys, our weaknesses, our fears: those all stay bottled up inside. My inability to find a photo reflects this reality: men don’t like sharing our burdens. However, it runs contrary to what Paul teaches us in Galatians 6:2.
Sharing Your Burdens
While this verse is a part of a much larger narrative in Galatians 6, what jumped out at me were the last five words. The context of the surrounding scriptures is restoration and sowing life into others. In other words, we were designed by God to “do life” with other guys. When we embrace this, we’re fulfilling God’s intention for male spiritual leadership.
We men tend to miss out on this, thinking we’re self-contained islands that can handle anything on our own. Don’t fall into this trap! Instead, here are three ways to share each other’s burdens.
One of the men at our church started a prayer group on Wednesday nights. While not exclusively made up of fathers, their mission is to pray for a list of prodigals: friends and family who need reconciled back to God. When this group first met, we had a list of about 30 names. As I write this, it’s grown to almost 50.
50 souls in need of Jesus and this doesn’t even scratch the surface. Naturally, my heart is moved for this prayer group. But the depth of my compassion changes when I think:
“What if my kids were on this list?”
The father in me suddenly comes out as my perception changes. My burden becomes deeper and the urgency becomes immediate. This is exactly how they feel for their loved ones who are on this list.
So, do I really share their burden for their lost loved ones? It’s my prayer the answer for all of us is “YES!”
Seeing the Need
I love my wife, naturally as husbands should, but hear my heart as I explain. Recently, we arrived at our Wednesday night service early as I had some technical things to address. Steph and the kids went to the fellowship hall without me. When I finally walked over, she was missing. Eventually, I found her in the kitchen helping to prepare the meal we serve on Wednesdays.
We have a group who serve regularly in this capacity, but on this particular evening the workload exceeded the available hands. Steph jumped in without hesitation. She saw the need and responded accordingly.
Her act of service met the need, but also had an unintended side effect: she spent time connecting with other ladies in the church. And even more so, she had fun doing it!
She missed my Bible study as she helped clean up, and I missed having her in class. But by recognizing and meeting the need, she demonstrated her compassion, her empathy, and her leadership.
How many of us men would have done the same?
Sharing your burdens might sound as if we’re unloading our troubles onto other people. For the most part, the original Greek word means “burdens.” However, one of the definitions is “abundance” and later in 2 Corinthians 4:17 the same word is used to describe our reward in heaven.
Guys, when we share the abundance of God’s handiwork in our lives, it connects us to and encourages others. I recently discussed a miracle from several years ago hoping it would encourage those in similar situations. I share the burden of parents facing PPHN because I’ve been there and I’ve seen God’s miraculous intervention.
Our story can give someone else comfort. Who can you strengthen today?
Just so we’re clear, I don’t really fit the mold of a traditional husband. “Changing my oil” translates to a visit to an oil change shop. I’m also the same guy who blew up both his water softener and water heater within the same week.
I’m not a handyman. Although I have tried bacon-on-a-stick.
I’ve struggled to connect with other guys in the past because my interests are atypical. I pick hockey over football, video games over outdoorsy activities, and running over bulking up. But do these or other activities define what it means to be a man?
I don’t think so. Rather, am I leading my family spiritually? Does my wife know when I’m hurting? Do I have an accountability partner to help me grow? Am I relying on others to encourage me when I’m down?
Don’t be an island unto yourself. Sharing your burdens with others is true strength. Will you join me in trying to be better friends, better fathers, and better husbands?
5 things we get by serving others
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