Monday, April 20, 2015

In the Secret

Let me ask you something: Are you keeping secrets? 

Or are secrets keeping you?

We've all got secrets. Most of us are managing our lives by them. They are the things we don't want anyone else to figure out about us, the things we'd never dare say in public, the truths screaming at us from the mirror we'd rather not look at. We hide them from our friends, from ourselves, from our God in the hopes that one day, we won't have to, but in the realization that today does not feel like that day. 

It may not feel like it, but today is that day. Right now is that moment. This is your chance. It's time to start untangling the ball of lies you live your life around, starting with...your biggest secrets.

Here's our mistake. See, most of us want to undo the ball from the outside. We want to start peeling off little secrets and see how the world handles them. It's the kinds of little things we might be mildly ashamed of, but we'd probably still giggle at if anyone ever found out. They once mattered a great deal and now seem so inconsequential, wrapped up as they are around the so-called bigger things. We might even wonder why this or that little white lie ever meant so much to us in the first place. Why would anyone worry about a silly little thing like that?

The trouble is that this doesn't get us anywhere near our bigger secrets. It just makes them...bigger. Okay, so the world can handle my silly little things. It turns out, that gives me no confidence at all about how the world will handle my big things. My life-changing things. My dirty things. My broken things. It turns out there's a big difference to me about the things that make me feel "not good" and the things that make me feel "gross," and the not good things don't give me hope for the gross things. 

Sorry. They don't. 

But neither does living my life wrapped up in a ball of lies and secrets, in a tangle of stories I'd rather not tell, in a web of whispers I hope never get heard. That doesn't do anything for me, either. It just keeps me tucked away from all the things I want to be - the woman I want to be, the friend I want to be, the disciple I want to be, the minister I want to be, the very essence of all I want to be is tucked away in this ball of secrets. It's not enough to live peeling the layers off from the outside; I'll never get there. You'll never get there. 

What we have to start doing is unraveling our lives from the inside out. We have to start pulling out our biggest secrets first. Then the silly little things get to be the silly little things, and we get to be something so much greater.

I wish I could tell you how all this works, but I can't. It's something I stumbled upon without even realizing it until I woke up one day and knew that my very heart had changed. It's what happened when I dared to take out my biggest secret and lay it bare before God and this world, invite Him to speak it, invite Him to touch it. Invite Him to heal it. It's what happened when I found, for reasons I could not explain, myself giving myself to this secret every day and exposing it to more and more light until one day...until one day I woke up and I wasn't afraid of being found out any more. Then all my silly little things became silly little things, I laughed at myself, and there was tremendous joy. I started touching that which is holy inside of me, at the deepest level of my being, and I knew: In a place in which there is no secret, there can be no fear. Only joy.

I could have spent my whole life living little secrets. I could have spent my days unwrapping my string from the outside. And it all would have been wasted. Because at the core of it, I still would have been asking the same question that was never being answered; at the core of it, I still would have been wondering who I am. And if that's okay. And if that's not okay. And how it gets to be okay. 

It's from these deepest places that we do our asking. That's why the surface sillies never matter much. It's why they don't make a difference. They're safe, so they're not like our secrets. Not like our real secrets. 

There's an old song that says, In the secret, in the quiet place...I want to know You more. And that's it. That's the heart of it. From our deepest, secret places, that's where we're always asking. That's where we're always faintly whispering - God, are You here? Can You...say something? Can I...know you? Is this...too much? Am I...not enough? It is here in the secrets that we wish to know.

And it is here in the secrets that we often fail to ask. 

And it is here, in the secrets, that we must begin our asking. With our boldest questions. With our greatest fears. With our dirtiest stories and sacred shames. It's here that we have to start asking because this is the only place that's ever going to know. This is the only place that's ever going to hear God whisper back. This...this place that doesn't ever feel like it's the only place that's ever going to feel okay if it really is. 

So lay yourself bare before God in the asking. Put your secrets before Him. Not your silly little shames, but your hardest of hearts. Put your big ones out there. Put your greatest fears in the space between you and see if He won't draw near. Come to Him in the secret place, in the secretest of secret places...come to know Him more. Here.

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