In telling my story like I did a few weeks ago, I was forced to confront many secrets I'd been keeping about my life-- many of them brought to light for the first time. To say that has been painful is an understatement, but it is also a victory over several weapons Satan has been using to manipulate my thoughts and beliefs.
Also, a mentor of mine recently challenged me to confront a "secret" I was keeping from a friend. I quote secret because that's truly not how I saw it; I would have admitted that I probably wasn't telling the whole truth, but I never considered myself being secretive or manipulative. However, my mentor wrote the following words to explain effect he's seen secrecy have time and again on relationships:
In relationships, unaddressed things gain power over time. Whether it's in relationships between people or the relationship between a person and the Lord, the enemy inhabits shame, guilt, and fear and uses it to erode an individual's usefulness to God and to destroy his or her joy.I realized that by being afraid to share myself and my feelings, I was keeping the relationship on a superficial level and setting the stage for Satan to foster fear and manipulation later on down the road. In spite of every fearful natural instinct in me, I told my friend the truth. Honestly, initially it was hard on both of us, thanks to some severe miscommunication (which I firmly believe was Satan trying to destroy a relationship that glorified God). But we were committed to working through it, and ultimately it opened a dialogue that ushered in a new level of freedom, openness, and trust that I, honestly, have rarely experienced.
Since then, God has opened the doors and opened my eyes to the importance of honesty in several areas of my life. This isn't to suggest that we should bare our souls to every schmuck that walks by, but how many of us are truly honest with those we love and want to grow closer to? If anyone else is like me, they're afraid that by revealing their true selves and feelings people will respond with disgust or rejection. And at times that might happen. But God has used several people in my life recently to show me that honesty and vulnerability is a beautiful thing, and in holy relationships can reveal the heart and love of God.