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On Secrets

I need to be honest. I don’t like revealing my struggles.

There’s this thing called perfectionism that gets in the way. I’m not even honest with myself at times. If a problem starts to simmer in my life, I put a lid on the pot, walk away, and hope it doesn’t boil over.

But, inevitably, it does. And it’s never pretty.

Last year, I met a friend for coffee at our favorite cafe. I was looking forward to sipping my macchiato and enjoying our usual conversations about the beautiful things in life – how God was moving, new opportunities, and upcoming vacations.

It was going well until she asked me about a struggle. Not just any old struggle, but a sin pattern I’d been dealing with for at least half a decade.

My heart raced. My head spun with a flurry of ideas about how to avoid telling her the truth: I had wrestled with it that very morning.

I shifted in my stool and looked out the window. The moment felt like an eternity.

What would she think if I told her it was still a problem? I wanted to say I’d made progress – that I’d conquered it and moved on. After all, I already felt like a fraud for claiming to love God and have this in my life. I didn’t need someone else condemning me, too.

I was at a fork in the road. Would I sustain the secrecy with a half-truth or invite my friend into the raw essence of my hurting?

With a deep breath I filled my lungs with courage and let out the words.

Hard words. Real words. Honest words.

I kept my composure on the outside, but inside I was writhing. Off my tongue rolled things I promised myself I’d never share. I paused, bracing for the shock and disappointment in her reaction.

When I looked, my friend’s lips peeled back into a soft smile – the kind that says, “It’s okay.” The fear and tension pressing in on me fell to the floor like dust. And with the purest grace, my sweet friend proceeded to encourage me.

God’s design is ironic. When we let others into the unlovely places, we make room for more beauty than we’d ever expect.

This is exactly what the Lord reminds us: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16a)

Revealing a broken part of me felt icky that day, like trudging through mud. Yet, a moment that could have further buried me in isolation became one of great encouragement because I chose to let her in.

I don’t want to hide in the convenience of concealing my dark spots. Even when it doesn’t feel good, I long to be real about how I’m doing with those who love me. Lord, may we not be women who cover up our troubles with niceties but women who admit hardship with courage.

Trudge through your mud with someone you trust. Something beautiful is on the other side, I promise.

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