A secret is a truth we want to hide or conceal from others. However, when we try to keep the secret from ourselves, it is denial. The truth is too difficult for us to deal with. But, the more we try to hide a truth, the more it cries out to be heard. Truths we try to keep from ourselves are the ones that cry the loudest.
We've had many foster children through our home. Lynn* became adept at lying because she believed her own lies. When she would do something wrong, she would tell herself a story with her own slant and would thoroughly believe it.
Nathan* had a Ph.D. in deception. Even when cornered with all the facts and two witnesses, he would swear that everyone else had their facts wrong.
In both cases, they kept secrets from themselves. It was easier than facing the truth about themselves. They made their own truth, and they kept the real truth secret for as long as possible.
We guard our secret truths, conceal them, hide them. For many, the truth is more difficult to face than grand efforts at trying to keep it secret. There are secrets we keep from others and secrets we try to keep even from ourselves.
Those we try to keep from ourselves are the most difficult to control. They want to rise to the surface, even though we try to shove them down into the cellar and throw things at them to keep them quiet.
Sometimes this looks like more things we think we need to do, sort of like trying to outrun the secret. Other times it is expressed in self-destructive, addictive behaviors. We throw things at the secrets like: drugs, alcohol, food and more food, sugar and more sugar, absence of food, throwing up food to keep others from knowing we are eating too much food, pornography or buying more things.
One thing I know about truth: It will be heard. It may take years, decades, lifetimes, but it wants to be heard, even if just by ourselves.
Telling the Truth
The opposite of keeping secrets from ourselves is sharing our truths and embracing them. Mine will be different from anyone else who was present for portions of my life. No one has been in my shoes for every day, of my life. Even if they were walking alongside me all the way, every moment, they do not have access to my brain, my processing system, my filter through which I experience the world.
I can't remember the details of every scene in my life. I can remember many sights, sounds, tastes, feels, smells of houses, places and things. They form the backdrops for the scenes to unfold. I can remember many scenes almost verbatim, like a movie played in 3-D, surround sound on IMAX. It is so real I can reach out and touch it. I can remember how the scenes impacted me—some negative, some positive. This is my truth.
Truth Changes Me
Remembering these and writing about these doesn't change what has occurred in my life, but it can help me understand how these things are causing me to do things I really don't want to do today. It's not just remembering these things that can be impactful, but interpreting how those were seen through my lens as a 3-year old, 8-year old and so on into adulthood.
It changes me as I allow God to help me process through each situation which I've shoved into a supposedly secret compartment of my brain. It is then that I can begin to unravel the truth from the secret and bring it into the light of day.
I am like Lynn in that there are things I remember completely and those I tend to fill in of my own accord. This is dangerous if you are a 64-year old still seeing through an 8-year old's lens. This is why I must bring God into the equation to help me understand how to embrace the emotions I felt as a child, forgive situations I would rather not face and go forward understanding God will comfort, teach, protect and provide for me. He will be my companion, the one who understands my deepest needs and the one who tells me who I really am.
Tell the Truth
Unlike Nathan, I do not have a Ph.D. in lies. I'm not very good at it, even though I will admit having tried it a time or two. I see the truth about my life very well. I've learned the best way to keep my story straight, it simply to tell the truth. The more I tell God's truth about me, the more my ears hear it. and the more His truth becomes a part of me and changes me.
This is the truth I am understanding today. It is not about living in the past, but seeing what life-giving truths to carry forward to the future and what death-bringing lies to release. I give God memories which only bring me fear, shame, guilt and rebellion and take hold of His truths which bring renewal, restoration and revival.
I have been memorizing Scriptures since I was small so I rationally know the words. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32) are some of those words. I thought that as long as I knew the facts about Jesus I was fine.
The word "know" in this verse goes a bit deeper than just head-knowledge. It's more about knowing it in the depths of our souls and making it a part of the very fabric of our being. It's when we experience for ourselves the truth, as it says in The Message, that Jesus' truth will free us.
It's when we deny how He is leading us and go off on our own way, choosing not to be accountable to God, anyone else or even ourselves that we become captured by our own desires. We are supposed to deny our own selfish interests and step into the truth of what God is telling us will be beneficial.
The truth will win every time. Knowing it, reallly experiencing it, will set us free. We must give up secrets. They are doing us no good. Instead, step into the light of God's truth and live.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.
This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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