How’s it go?
Secrets, secrets are no fun.
Secrets, secrets hurt someone.
Confession: I am keeping secrets.
But before you start to wonder who “SweetAmandaLynn” reeeally is, I’ll explain.
I keep the secrets of friends, family and of counseling clients.
But I also keep secrets of my very own. The ones that I pray on, journal out and over-think the mess out of until I feel like they’re ready to be shared with my favorite handful of women. Once the secrets (the weaknesses, the struggles and the things the Lord is teaching me) start to air out in those circles of trust, they get shared with just about anyone willing to listen to what He’s up to.
That process is God’s way of helping me to get in on what He’s doing in my life. He’s shown me that even in a community-focused church culture, some things are better off kept between Him and I for a while. Then, when the “secret” is ready, He provides the bravery to risk being vulnerable in community. Because sometimes, the more people know about our secrets the more our real selves are magnified. And that’s a win, a risky win, but a win none the less.
Secret keeping and risk taking. (I should totally be a spy.)
I’ve got my dad to
blame thank for my secret keeping, risk taking ways. He too is one to mull over an issue of the heart until it’s ripe for discussing. I really admire his way of quietly disagreeing in which the other party doesn’t always need to loudly hear his opinion for him to feel “right”. “Not every hill is the one to die on” is his answer to how he’s been married for 27 years and counting. Those are his secrets.
Then there are times when he (and I) will gladly volunteer to be the rocker of the boat. In those times, the risk-taker in us does it’s thang.
I remember when I was dealing with a bully in elementary school and didn’t want to tell anyone about it (a dumb secret to keep). So, I prayed about it and was utterly convinced that it was a Satanic attack…because I was a church kid and everything that was mean was of the devil. The next step for my 9-year-old self was to tell Dad and ask him to pray that God protect me and keep my safe from spiritual attacks. His response was, “Sure honey, I can pray for you to be safe, if that’s what you really want…Or I could pray that God makes you so dangerous that no demon would dare mess with you. Which one is it gonna be?”
When we step out and share our secrets and our fears we can embrace each other in our humanity, flawed, and moving together towards our true selves with open hearts to God. It makes us braver…more dangerous. And I’ve found that if we don’t eventually take that risk and bring those things He’s teaching us to our community of faith; our struggles, our victories, our needs…then it’s a victory for the wrong side.
Not that any and all secrets need to end up on our church bulletin boards or anything. Some things are just for our souls and Jesus to know.
And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
For this introvert, that’s how processing and community works (most of the time). So friends, can we be the “transparent”, honest community members that our local church deserves while still having our just-me-and-Jesus personal relationship?
I think so.
This space, for example….I’m grateful for it and for whoever you are reading it. It means that I can be honest – but selective. I can say that my true self is expressed here but it’s not my whole self either. Because I can’t stop to edit or re-write my words in real-time. And that’s good because I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned a lot more from real life, grace-appreciating people who aren’t afraid to share their shortcomings than I have from any blog post.
So, if you’re a secret-keeper do so without shame. It’s perfectly OK not to share every working of your heart, but let’s take those risks and be vulnerable in community when the Lord leads.