Keeping Secrets

lights

I guess we all try to hide things once in awhile. Even me.

Now it is pretty rare that I try to hide anything from my husband. But a little while ago I did just that. I should have known better. I am the kind of person that if I do try to hide something, it will be found out. I really shouldn’t even try. But maybe that is a blessing in disguise.

Let me start from the beginning–

We were leaving for Texas the following day. My agenda was packed as I tried to think of all the things that needed to be done before an extended time away from home. My daughter had just gotten married and we were going to Texas to help them get settled into their new home. Understandably, my mind was going a million different directions. To top it off, it was a gorgeous day. Since my college days, days like that have always been perfect for loud, fun music. And so, as I ran errands, my radio was blaring (good music, of course!) and I was singing at the top of my lungs. I was bopping to the beat and speeding through a road in town when I happened to see flashing lights in my rear view mirror.

Those lights were for me. I knew it as soon as I saw them.

I pulled over immediately and, quickly assessing that I was probably considerably over the 25 mile speed limit, knew without a doubt that he was going to give me a ticket. (Now, I’d like to add here that I wasn’t intentionally going over the speed limit. I just got so distracted that I forgot the speed limit on that road. Oh, how I hate when that happens!)

Fifteen minutes later, I was pulling away with an expensive ticket and a couple of points. I will add here that the policeman who pulled me over was a very nice guy and for that I was very thankful. But, nevertheless, I got the ticket that I certainly did deserve and went on my merry way.

On my way home, as I pressed very lightly on the gas pedal, I started thinking about my ticket. If I didn’t tell anyone, there wasn’t really any other way that anyone would find out about my ticket. No one was in the car with me and there were no familiar faces in the few cars that had passed me while I sat on the side of the road. Perhaps I could keep it under my hat –at least for a few days. Maybe after we got back I would mention it.

I went home, paid the ticket, and kept the whole thing to myself.

During our trip, I had a couple of very good opportunities to mention it but decided I didn’t want to ruin our vacation with that kind of bad news, so just kept quiet. This is actually not typical behavior for me and I am not sure why I kept so silent. It’s not like my husband would scream and throw things at me. He’s actually a pretty reasonable guy. I guess I just wanted to avoid the teasing and scolding that was certain to come when I did spill the beans.

As we pulled into our driveway a week later, we were not in the best of moods. It had been a very long day of travel and it had not started out well (another story for another day!). It was also not ending well. We both grumpily pulled our uncooperative, stiff bodies out of the truck and started unloading. Our youngest daughter quickly unloaded her stuff and then wisely disappeared.

As I made a trip into the house, I noticed the answering machine flashing at me. I ignored it for awhile, but after I had done a bit of unpacking, I decided to push the button. Unfortunately, my husband was in the room at the time.

“Yes, this message is for Leslie in regards to the speeding citation she received…”

My heart sank. So much for keeping a secret around here. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Eric’s ears perk up as he started listening intently.

Apparently, the police officer had not assessed the correct amount and I owed more than what the ticket said.

Doesn’t it just figure?

The timing really couldn’t have been worse and upon hearing that message, my husband gave me a pretty hard time (remember –we were both a bit on the irritable side).

So why do I share this here? Why embarrass myself further?

I guess it’s because I learned a little something about keeping secrets.

I should have just told my husband what happened right away. Honestly, I am still really not sure why I didn’t. But once a few days had passed, it was just easier to not say anything. And it got easier and easier. Now a speeding ticket is no big deal in the scope of life.

We laugh about it now and, of course, there was little time lost in making sure the whole family knew about Mom’s speeding ticket, but, even so, I am glad that I don’t have the burden of a secret even that small hanging over my head. There is such great freedom in truthfulness.

I would guess that some of us are keeping much bigger secrets than speeding tickets today. There are many secrets that are keeping us from living our best Christian lives–

Affairs/Infidelity

Crippling Debt

Alcoholism

Prescription Drug Addictions

Eating Disorders

Gambling Addictions

Abuse of All Kinds

And so many more…

But here’s the thing—while that horrible, dark secret lies within you, you are locked in a prison so tight it may as well have iron bars. You feel hopeless as Satan whispers insidious lies in your ears; telling you that you will be in this place forever, that change is impossible.

Secrets have caused so much torturous pain through the years. They have caused broken marriages, suicides, and hopeless families, all held imprisoned by the unutterable secret. Bitterness bubbles in the soul and the darkness overwhelms those who hold on to awful secrets.

But with confession comes light and wonderful freedom! First, we should pour our hearts out to God and tell Him everything. He is waiting for us. In fact, He already knows every bit of our secret. All of it. Nothing is hidden from Him.

And then we should consider telling someone else. Now, I don’t suggest that we announce our secret to the world on Facebook. But if we can find someone that we trust– a family member or a dear friend–and can share the secret, I think we will find the strength and the courage to work through our dark, lonely, terrible place. God has designed us to need each other and to encourage one another. Somehow, it helps when just one other person knows our secret and can encourage us to take the next step.

But choose your confidant wisely. Be sure it is someone who is a godly example and lives according to God’s Word consistently.

Life is hard enough without being imprisoned by a dreadful secret.

And there is so much hope! No situation is too big for God. Oftentimes telling a trusted Christian brother or sister will help us sort through the thing that looks insurmountable, giving us the courage to take the next step and unlocking the bars of hopelessness that have kept us imprisoned.

If you are someone who needs to share a long-kept secret, I want you to know that I am praying specifically for you today. I am praying that God will give you the courage you need to share your heart with just one other person. Freedom is often just one conversation away.

 

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