Do you remember that feeling you had when you were younger, grade school or middle school even, when you saw two people whispering in front of you and they each stole quick glances in your direction? That feeling of dread and the knot that formed in the pit of your stomach? The feel of the sting of tears as they welled up in the back of your eyes and the lump as it formed in your throat. The painful feeling of lost trust in a person you thought was your friend. Or were you one that was doing the whispering? As adults tend to think we have grown past those pithy moments of our youth where secret sharing was all the rage, but I have to believe we still hold fast to some bits of those childhood antics. Why this?
Tonight in our Bible study we wrapped up a 14 week series on Christianity vs. the Cults. It was a fabulous study where we went into deep discussion on the different cults active in today's society and how they differ from the doctrinal beliefs of Christianity. Perhaps one day I'll give it a whack and share the cliffs notes of those studies, but don't hold your breath just in case. Anyhow, in tonight's wrap up we recapped each cult we had studied and then closed the study out with the appeal of Christianity. Here is where the discussion got deep and yours truly actually shared a lot tonight and listened even more. There were 6 points that we discussed, but it was point #3 that not only stood out to me, but really and truly rocked me to the core.
Simply - We can know God! Yes, that little statement was profound enough to begin a gamut of talk. I think this is something that we all take for granted; this personal one-on-one relationship that we can have with God. He is there for us each second of every day. He is there for us when we aren't being open to Him. He is there. He is here. He never leaves us. This is a very important point to digest and hold on to. I will be the first to admit, and this was a comment that I made tonight, that the hardest part about this point is that this kind of faith, this kind of blind trust, it requires action and will and choice. Because you see, God isn't tangible. He can't visibly sit across from you at the table, or next to you in the car, or wherever. Oh, don't misunderstand my thought here, He is here, He just isn't here physically. And that is the crux of the problem.
In case you don't know this about me, I'm a talker. I know! (It's alright I'll give you a few seconds to work through that revelation, just remember to breath through the laughter.) Anyhow, when the leader of the study asked us "Why do you think we can know God?" I answered with this, "because I know I can tell him anything. I can use words with him that would otherwise cut another person in half. I can use all that is ugly in my vocabulary and let him have it. I can share every single thing on my mind with him and you know what, He just listens. He just listens." Then another lady said, "yes, just the other day I was telling God to look at what these others were doing" (As in she was trying to point out obvious misconduct to an all knowing God. Newsflash...he knows!) However, that is NOT the message of this post. It is however, the reason I began sharing tonight. I shared secrets. Oh, not those kind, but the kind that held me to a level of accountability. I shared a character flaw.
Remember my opening question? I've been that girl. I've been the girl who has hated herself because she knew and felt people pointing and whispering about her. I've been the girl who lost her self-esteem because of this. I've been the girl who always felt less than good enough, thus I strove to please everyone so that they wouldn't share secrets about me. And yet, those pithy childhood antics, those feelings I accumulated didn't teach me what I needed to learn. No, a man did. A man that I love. A man that told me but a few days ago that secrets shared break relationships. Earthly relationships. This I revealed to my study group tonight. For me, when I am weak, I do not run to my God, I run to a tangible person and I share. I share all that is not right and not good. I share all that is hurting and painful and missing (in my pain-filled eyes). And this is where breakdowns begin. Breakdowns not only in relationships, but in the way the person you are telling sees the person concerned about in the shared secret.
People, I want to tell you that your friends, your relatives, your co-workers, whomever, they are not the ones to share secrets with. They are not the ones to tell the insecurities to, the perceived injustices to, the unmet expectations to, they simply Are. Not. God. You see, people want to take your side. They want to comfort you and help you and give you advice that may not be the best. But God, He wants to hear those secrets - FIRST. He wants to know about the troubles and the pain and the unmet expectations. You want to know why He wants to know? Because He has the bigger picture in the palm of His hands. He wants to take the ugly and distorted and filter it for you. He wants you to open up to Him so that you can exercise proper discernment. (As a disclaimer, if your secret is abuse of any kind...SEEK HELP!) He wants to do this to help you. This is what a loving God does.
While we had a classroom full of people tonight who were hearing a Bible study on Christianity, God was giving me a lesson on when to share secrets and with whom. He used that moment to answer a why question that I have asked repeatedly over the past few weeks. He used that moment to remind me that while we all make choices, I have power over mine. I have the power to chose to go to Him or to run to another. I take responsibility with this. I made an egregious error in my judgment; in my haste for instant feedback I did what was wrong instead of what was right. And people, going to God is ALWAYS right. Sharing secrets with Him is always right. Opening up to Him is always right. Why? Because He is just. He is fair. And He knows. He knew. He sees. And yet, He is still there.
Thank you Father for this lesson. I mourn what I lost in its learning, but I am thankful that I learnt it. While I will miss what might have been, I trust that God will take this lesson and turn it around. I trust that He will be sure to prod me at the right moments when I feel the urging to slip back into old habits. After all, I don't want to be the one pointing and whispering because I know all too well what it feels like on the other side of the quickly stolen glances. I want to create, build, and grow relationships, not share them to their death. One last thing, seeking advice and sharing everything are two completely different things. Always go to your partner first.