Reaching Out Instead of Shutting Down

I have a tendency to shut down when I’m experiencing troubled times. I remember when we lived in Denver I almost had a panic attack after I had Liam (in fact, maybe I did have a panic attack or two). I felt overwhelmed and out of control. But I didn’t reach out. There are probably a few girls I can think of that I could have reached out to - but I didn’t. Maybe it’s my introverted nature or my stubborn refusal to ask for help (perhaps that’s where Isabel gets her Miss Independent attitude from). 

Last night I was feeling overwhelmed again. There’s just a lot going on and I’m trying to keep my head above water and trust in God. I was rocking Isabel to sleep for the night when I felt it all hitting me. All I could do was pray and let the tears fall as my baby girl slept peacefully in my arms. When I emerged from her bedroom I found Alex in the kitchen washing dishes (bless him!) and just hugged him. I wanted to pour my heart out. I wanted to tell him about all the thoughts that were clouding my brain. I wanted to let him know of my worries and disappointments. But, again, I didn’t really reach out. The most I could muster was a simple, “I’m sad.” Those two words didn’t truly describe my state of mind but it was all I could manage at the moment.

Today I read a devotional about “true community.” The writer said that true community happens when we fully expose ourselves. We need to be willing to let people see our junk and walk in the light. It makes sense and I definitely long for this true community. I know that I have real friends that will love me and walk along side me no matter what I share with them. I am thankful for that. But even knowing that I have those amazing friends I still find it difficult to unload my burdens. This culture is sometimes so busy. I don’t want to interrupt someone’s work day or intrude on their dinner cooking time. But it has to be done - I have to reach out instead of shut down. I know what happens when I shut down. I know that I am prone do depression and anxiety if I separate myself too much from community. I don’t want to go back there, so I will try my hardest to foster true community by being real and reaching out.

What about you, friends? Do you find it easy to reach out? Or do you tend to shut down more? How can we be better about cultivating a true community that promotes walking in the light together?