Everyone wants to read for two reasons: either they’re interested in the topic—cars, sports, or real estate—or they feel like the writer understands them and can offer them insight on their feelings (loneliness, marriage, or pain).
Writing for the first group of people is comparatively easy. You become an expert on something. You pour time and energy into studying and developing your knowledge on a subject, so you can constantly mine the wealth of information to teach valuable information. It’s a lot of mental exercise and it takes great determination, but it doesn’t require much heart.
It’s much harder to reach people through their feelings and relational experiences. To write about pain really, really well, you must live through pain. To understand how it feels to be lonely, you must have no friends.
Connecting on an emotional level requires experiencing emotions and learning how to communicate them. You have to engage your heart.
It’s hard. It’s draining. It’s scary to be vulnerable. The emotional labor of empathy is enduring and processing your own pain, then feeling it again for someone else. And that is not easy.
Sharing joy is wonderful—but sharing struggles is what brings people together and helps them grow.
If we can share struggles and together bring them to the One who experienced all pain for us, hard stuff still might not be any easier. Life might not get better overnight. But there is One who sees, Who has given His life for us—and He’s given us each other, to learn from and experience with.
And that is worthwhile.