By Nancy Virden (c)2023
It seems that secrecy frees us from not having to face consequences. When we are victimized, secrecy deceptively promises to keep the past in the past and to allow a normal life.
If we are the victim-maker, secrecy lies to us that we will never have to bear honesty and pay for our crimes.
The first step of openness is to fall off a figurative cliff into the unknown. We must be introspective, consider the feelings and experiences of others, and finally, put the secret out there for others to see. This has worked best when I involve a caring person to walk through it with me.
My tendency is to hold everything tight and loosen only what seems safe at the moment or for the sake of others who need to hear. That never works out well. The holding tight part causes me angst and pain. The result is waiting until I must explode or burying it so deep it begins to call out for escape through overeating, overshopping, or excessive anxiety. Yuck and no thank you.
Yet learning to practice openness requires the discipline of, well, sharing. Rarely do I feel safe opening up about my feelings, behaviors, worries, or successes or failures. Nonetheless, keeping everything bottled up has nearly killed me, so, clumsily much of the time, I try.
Someone once said that we are only as sick as our secrets. Interesting thought. Here is my challenge to you:
Tell God. He knows everything anyway, so start by telling Him. If you ask, He will help you put it into words and will offer insights you may not already have. Do not be surprised when He prompts you to put your faith in His Son, Jesus.
Spend quality time (and put a time limit on it) thinking about what your false beliefs about your secret may be. Victims, were you actually at fault? If you played any role in your own pain, will you forgive yourself? Victimizers, did anyone or anything actually make you cause harm? Have you been ignoring the sacredness of other humans?
Tell a person. Counselors, therapists, and mental health coaches are to hold everything confidential unless you or someone else is in danger. By being brutally honest you set yourself free to explore the real promises of freedom and peace. You set others free as well. If you are a perpetrator, turning yourself in will save potential victims.
Allow inner change to take time. Once we become disciples of Christ Jesus the work in us takes the rest of our lives. It is a joyous work with many rewards.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
3 My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
4 I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
5 I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.
7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
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