Trish, an Intake Coordinator at our Corporate Office, sees day in and day out the pain and shame that many of our applicants are carrying due to secrets from their past. In her role at Mercy, Trish encourages applicants to bring their pain into the light as they walk through the Mercy application process. As a mom, she is intentionally teaching her daughter to keep open communication with the supportive influences in her life and challenges other leaders, parents, and mentors to do the same!
I was sitting with my daughter the other day talking about her school, her friends, and some experiences she was having with them. As is pretty typical for us, it became a sort of “What Would You Do?” game. We began talking through examples of potential situations. I asked her what she would do if a friend asked her do something at school, and then keep it from me.
“If the friend said it’s not important to tell your mom, would you keep it from me?”
My daughter simply responded, “No, I would tell you.” I really wasn’t expecting what she said after that. She said, “Well, you shouldn’t lie because I am not supposed to keep secrets from you. We don’t keep secrets from each other.”
WOW! I wanted to jump up and down and scream, “Yes, you are exactly right, way to go!” I promise though, I kept my cool!
What she knew in her heart was that secrets are not good, ever! I realize, with all assurance that the rest of her life circumstances, people, and the enemy of her soul will be after the innocence of this very statement. In a social media world, where Facebook and Twitter allow us to boast every detail of our lives, we are fooled into believing we don’t keep secrets and the whole world knows our whole lives. That is simply not true!
You see the very nature of a trap is to not look like a trap. In fact a trap’s very purpose is to entice the prey into a trap, unable to see the trap until it is too late. We are enticed daily to keep our secrets safe by never telling anyone how we really feel: that we are hurting deep down inside, that someone did something bad to us, that if we tell, no one will love us. We believe keeping our secrets to ourselves will keep us free from experiencing hurt and pain. Then the trap door closes tight, and we can’t get away from our secrets. There is an immense amount of pain, confusion, depression, hurt, and shame that come along with our secrets. We get deeper and deeper trapped by our secrets the longer we hold on to them.
Secrecy is at the very heart of abuse, bitterness, depression and self harm. As an Intake Coordinator at Mercy, countless times I am told stories from young women that experienced abuse and were told never to tell anyone. They hold onto this secret for many reasons, but unwilling to tell someone their story, they grow more and more bitter, angry, depressed and sad. Many of them are currently attending churches, a part of youth groups, and going to bible studies. They have families who love and care for them, and yet they are trapped within the cycle of keeping secrets to themselves.
Secrets and the negativity they bring are the work of the enemy. This is how I know the enemy is all for secrets: John 3:20 says “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” I see often that the devil has shut the mouths of our youth. He has closed off the rooms of our houses with shut doors and devices. There is no longer a safe place for anyone within the home to share their fears, their hurts, or their successes because we are distracted by TV shows, social media time and separate meal times. Therefore, without even knowing it, we have cut ourselves off from relating to each other.
We are in need of conversation again, real life face-to-face interactions with people. We are in need of allowing our family members to express sadness, anger, hurt and pain in a safe environment, along with their successes, joys and memories. We are in need of listening to those who are hurt and broken. We are in need of being real with ourselves, being real with other people and allowing others to be real with us. Real life isn’t posted on Facebook for all to see; real life is being lived out in dark corners of streets and houses. This life is one that is being trapped into darkness and in desperate need of the shining light of Christ.
How can you step into the light and share the secrets you’re holding onto today?