I have skeletons.
I don’t specifically talk about a lot of them, but it’s not because they are hidden away in the proverbial closet. When God brings a lady to me that would benefit from hearing part of my story, I openly share those moments when life sucker punched me or I chose to act in a way that wasn’t God’s best.
This is not something that came easily to me, and truthfully I still hesitate before I confess my failures and shortcomings.
- No one likes to look foolish.
- None of us wants to be thought of as less than.
- And I certainly don’t jump at the chance to admit how out of control I sometimes get.
So, what is the point of sharing? And how can we do so in a manner that glorifies God even when the choices we made do not?
A BREEDING GROUND FOR STRONGHOLDS
Father, don’t let her leave us farther from You than she was when she arrived. Use us to draw her in. ~Carrie Daws, Crossing Values
When I feel led to share something that doesn’t paint myself in the best possible light, I tend to hesitate. Fear fights for control followed closely by shame. I know I’m powerless over how the other person will view me if the truth comes out, and the reality of my poor choices gets hopelessness nipping at my heels. WIll I ever change?
It’s the perfect formula to breed a stronghold.
Because fear loomed big for most of my life, I now actively choose to fight it. Please understand, this does not come easily to me nor do I enjoy the battle. I’d much prefer to hide in a corner and ignore it all. But I’ve learned that hiding only increases fear, so I step forward with whatever courage I can muster and expect God to show up just like he did in all the Bible stories I love.
It often seems like a constant, never-ending battle, and I get weary. But on the other side is freedom: from my fear and shame and powerlessness and hopelessness.
And the wonderful benefit? My fight often inspires another to step up, exponentially increasing the wins over strongholds in the women around me.
AN INSPIRATIONAL SCENE
If you’ve seen the movie Wonder Woman (2017) then I can probably just say ‘No Man’s Land’ and you’ll know what I mean. For the rest of you, this scene in the movie that was almost cut entirely is a favorite among fans.
Most of this DC Entertainment movie takes place during World War 1. The crucial scene where Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) truly embodies the superhero occurs on the front lines outside of a Belgian village. The Germans have been holed up in the small town for over a year, taking the occupants hostage. The Allies are 300 yards out, entrenched, and unable to cross the muddy field.
Rescuing these people is not what Diana came to do. She and her companions are on a bigger mission to save thousands of lives from a new biological weapon. But the desperation of the few who escaped the Germans is more than Diana is willing to walk away from.
It’s what I’m going to do. ~Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman (2017), No Man’s Land scene
She sets her mind on the task in front of her. She determinedly steps forward, alone, into No Man’s Land. Within moments, her companions follow her. And then, the rest of the Allies join in.
It’s a beautiful scene—one I watch with tears in my eyes because it reminds me exactly what God can do when I step up and step out.
3 KEYS TO SHARING SKELETONS
The key is to do it God’s way.
1. Check your heart.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
Checking the motives of our heart should be one of the first things we do in any situation, but it can be critical when you are sharing the skeletons in your closet.
Ask yourself, “Why am I sharing this? Is it because I believe the Lord is asking me to share it? Or because I want to draw attention to myself, the pain I’ve been through, or the battles I won?”
2. Be Honest, but Check Your Transparency
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6
You also need to be sensitive to the person you are talking with at the moment. Just as you wouldn’t share the same details about where babies come from with a six-year-old that you would a sixteen-year-old, you need to adjust your story according to the person before you.
Consider their personality, the traumas in their life that you know about, and their sensitivity to details, as well as their mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity.
3. Focus on what God did, not the wrong done
Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ. Colossians 4:3
Outside of my husband, a trusted counselor, and perhaps one or two very close friends, some of the details of the skeletons in my past will never be shared by me. Why? Because the awfulness of what’s happened is not the point of my story.
The point of my story is God and His redeeming power. He took a mess and bathed it in love and grace. He taught me forgiveness, showed me mercy and filled me with compassion.
No one needs all the gory details to be able to hear and see the wonder of what God has done in me.
At some point, every Christian must decide how much he trusts God. ~Carrie Daws, Crossing Values
Sharing with others where you’ve done wrong or been wronged is scary. It can be an opportunity for Satan to oppress us into silence if we let him, but it’s also a place where God can do far more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Are you willing?
If you like to read fiction, check out my Crossing series. Four books that explore emotional and family healing. What if God made you for more?
For years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she’s ever known before.
Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she’s entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of fairy tales she watches for cracks in the façade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge. Or could she be wrong? Could they be genuine? Could this family hold the key to what she’s seeking?