Written by: Sarah Walker
“You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true- these are the actions appropriate for the daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ and then do it.” (Ephesians 5:8-10 MSG)
My daughter went through a phase where she would wake me up in the middle of the night by screaming my name. I would go in to find her little head barely poking out of her covers. She would insist there was something scary in her room, as she pointed to towards different shadows on her wall.
I would then turn on the light to show her that there was nothing really there. I would then point out each object that had made the big scary shadows on her wall. Then, to lighten her mood, I would stand in front of the lamp and do a funny dance to show her how silly my own shadow could be.
In the dark, her imagination saw the shadows as something to fear. In the dark, we can’t see things properly, and what we do see can easily become distorted.
When we are living in the dark, without Jesus, we can’t really “see” what we are doing and how our actions and choices are affecting us. But when we invite Jesus into our hearts and our lives, His light allows us to begin to “see” things differently!
There was a time when I was living in the dark. I was living for myself, and what I wanted. When I invited Jesus into my heart, He brought me into His light and truth. He set me free from the guilt and shame that held me down, He changed my desires so that I no longer wanted to take part in certain activities, and He slowly and gently healed my heart of years of brokenness and insecurities.
“Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (2 Corinthians 6:13 MSG)
Even though I know that I live in God’s light, I sometimes find myself still standing in the shadows. I recently found myself struggling with my thoughts. I wanted to stop my mind from wandering to thoughts of selfishness and other things, but I just couldn’t seem to stop drifting back to those dark places.
I was ashamed of myself, embarrassed to put into words what was brewing beneath the surface. The more I held these thoughts in, the more they seemed to grow bigger!
“We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things – we’re bringing them out into the open.” (Mark 4:22 MSG)
One day as I was talking with a trusted friend, I got up the courage to share what I had been struggling with. As the words came out and my secret was exposed, I realized how laughable the whole thing was. It was silly – and yet, when I kept it inside for fear of bringing it into the light, it began to grow and become much scarier to me than it actually was.
When I am helping my daughter to see what the big scary shadows on her wall really are, she takes a breath of relief or giggles when she sees how something so tiny or familiar can appear to be such big scary thing!
Much like with my daughter, I was afraid of the shadows within my heart. They seemed big and scary, but once I got the courage to bring them out into the open, I was left holding something tiny and insignificant.
Sharing my struggles within trusted company took away the power my secret held over me – bringing it into the light revealed its smallness, in contrast to the greatness of my God!
The funny thing is, God already knows my heart and my thoughts! He knew where my mind was going. My struggles were not a surprise to Him, but I needed to confess them, I needed to let go of them. Openly sharing these things did not instantly take the struggle out of my life that day, but there was an incredible relief and peace that came when I stopped carrying the weight of it by myself, got it out in the open, and had someone there to help me through it!
“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16)