Trench Coat Thursday (TCT) :: Dirty Little Secrets and Their Hidden Power

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*This is a post that was supposed to go up on Thursday. Better late than never!

If one were to do a tour of your mind what would they find there? I imagine that you might have some nicely arranged streets where you one can find all the important stuff you’re responsible for and maybe a flower garden blooming with conversations with people you love. A walk down a footpath might take me to a nostalgic place where I will find your memories, things you want to remember and stuff you can never forget. I might also take a sharp turn into the road where your hopes and dreams live – skyscrapers and stadiums; a house made of face-brick and a manicured lawn; a man on a Daddy date with his daughter; a cure for cancer. As I skip down the road, fascinated, I might bump into pink unicorns and hitch a ride on a flying saucer. You could let me in on some of your conspiracy theories and strange phobias and how you think the world might end. I will take a quick look at the guest list at Heartbreak Hotel and be surprised at the names I see and maybe tease you about it later.

I’ll nervously walk towards The Bad Side of town where there are more potholes than road and there is a brownish glow to the light. Where the air is uncomfortably hot and wet, humid, and there is sickly sweet smell in the air.

At that point, my tour would come to an abrupt end because no one except you can go there.

When I was in junior school my friends and I would gather and share our deepest, darkest secrets, we’d cross our hearts and hope to die if anything left the circle of secrecy. Back then it was stuff like “I steal coins out of my mom’s purse when she’s not looking.” and “I saw my sister kissing a boy at the corner.” We shared freely then but as we got older our secrets began to lose their innocence and we learned how to hide them with silence or big words that skirted the issue.

The older we get the better we become at keeping secrets. The secrets that we keep about ourselves might be more powerful than we think and their power is in the fact that they are hidden. What’s your dirty little secret? We all have stuff that we tactfully avoid talking about and secrets that we’ve hidden for so long that they have faded out of our memory. There’s a wide spectrum of them and they include stuff that we have done wrong and wrongs committed against us.

This does not hold true for everyone but I think secrets of a sexual nature are the ones we guard jealously. Because sex is so personal and powerful and still a mostly taboo topic.

Here are my thoughts on some of the power that your secret(s) may have over you:

1. Your secret(s) might be hindering your healing.
Some of us are people who suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and because we didn’t want anyone to know about it, we did not go to the hospital, quickly wiped the blood off with some tissue, popped a painkiller and carried on as usual. Our wounds have festered and become infected, even infecting different parts of our lives, slowly eating away at us. We might have hidden a secret because we thought the best way to deal with the pain or the shame would be to just move on and get over it. But the wound remains.

2. Your secret(s) might be ruining your relationships.
A part of the reason why we keep our secrets hidden is that we fear that revealing them will lead to us being rejected. But have you noticed how your secret keeps you from truly connecting with people because there is a wall of protection that you have put up around certain parts of your heart and life? It’s ironic. When a person gets close to uncovering your secret you become defensive or weird or you just withdraw. Some of us develop cover up strategies – we are very quiet, shy and avoid spending extended time with people. Others have developed larger than life personas – the loud one, the life of the party, shallow and gregarious. If we never open to those who want to love us, we might never discover the beauty of being truly known and yet loved.

3. Your secret(s) might be stealing your freedom.
One of the most common examples of this is when we share a secret with another person. Think of the little boy or girl who saw something he should not have seen and was sworn to secrecy in exchange for a reward. Or the abuse, rape or molestation that was coupled with a threat if anyone found out. These secrets are painful and real. And they also have a way of bonding one to the other secret-keeper. We are bonded by our fear, shame or guilt and even by our anger. That person may have some strange power over us. Some of us have paid the price of our freedom without even realising it.

There are numerous stories in the Bible of Jesus’s encounters with people who must have had many dirty little secrets. The book of John tells such a story:

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?”…

[Jesus ] said, “The sinless among you, go first : Throw the first stone.”…

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”

“No one, Master.”

“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Something powerful happens when we push through our pain and our fear of condemnation and open up our lives to someone who is trustworthy. Whatever your dirty little secret may be, whether it be your own wrongdoing or a terrible wrongdoing done against you, I’d like to encourage you, come out of hiding and bring them under the Light of the One who heals all wounds, who loves unconditionally and gives freedom to captives.

What are your thoughts? I would love to know!

Thanks for reading.
shula

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