A common phrase haunts our minds:
“But what if somebody finds out?”
We panic at the thought that our deepest secrets might become known. Will our spouses still love us if they learn of our addiction? Will we still have a job if our boss knows who we are? Will our friends abandon us if our true nature is revealed? Will anyone love us if they come entirely to know us?
Few fears are as common as this one. In quiet moments we hear the voice, “but what if somebody finds out?”
Any time you hear those words, I can assure you it’s not the voice of God. It’s the voice of deception.
We think some things must be hidden. To be loved, respected, valued, and honored, we believe we must keep up a front of goodness.
Maybe not perfection, but an appearance of virtue. Because no one truly has their lives together, we hide. Afraid of being found out, we camouflage ourselves. We cover our weaknesses, deny our struggles, and downplay our hurts. We create a public persona separate from our private selves. It’s a double life.
As the gap between who we appear to be and who we are widens, the stress grows. The separation empowers our fears even more–“but what if somebody finds out.” We write a horror story of what will happen– relationships broken, shame, isolation, and loneliness. Our story only intensifies the fear, “but what if somebody finds out.”
What would happen if our struggles were known? If our weaknesses were revealed? If the facade of perfection faded away?
The truth? We would begin to find healing. The even more profound truth–we will never find healing until the struggles are revealed.
Secrets never get better. Time doesn’t improve them. Denying them doesn’t make them go away. We can’t ignore our faults until they suddenly disappear. Life doesn’t work that way, and God knows it. So, He invites us to do something that goes against our common sense. He calls us to confess–to willfully tell another person the very thing we are terrified of. This doesn’t mean the key to healing is to post our deepest secrets on Facebook. Discernment is necessary regarding whom we should tell. But the truth remains–healing from our deepest wounds is found through honesty and confession.
While telling others about our struggles is rarely easy at first, I regularly hear people talk about what a relief it is that someone else knows. No longer does a person feel the pressure to keep up appearances. They are now free to admit the truth and close the gap between who they appear to be and who they are. As the gap closes, wholeness is created. Stress is relieved. And we feel a greater sense of being.
This is the kind of life to which God invites us. It’s the kind of life from which we run because we are afraid. Do you wonder what is within you that needs to be told to another? Figure out what you are most fearful that someone else might find out. That is the very thing that most needs to be revealed.
“But what if somebody finds out?” I hope they do, because then you will have a chance to find healing.
PSALM 51:1-12 (NIV)
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
1. What is the hope about God?
2. How is that hope for you?
3. How can you share hope with others today?