You know that feeling that comes when you’re about to have people over and you realize the house is a disaster? I’m convinced my family gets more accomplished in a thirty-minute power clean (insert: freak out because they’re on their way over) than we do in an entire month. Pick up all the toys, start the dishwasher, scrub the toilets, light some candles and voila! It doesn’t look like a zoo full of animals live here! Most of the time, that also includes us stuffing all of the “I don’t want to deal with that right now” things and the “we definitely don’t want anyone to see that” stuff in a room and close the door. We call it the “off-limits” room.
We do the same thing with our lives. We show up to church on a Sunday morning all put together or we post our selfies on social media of the moments we’re eager to share and have people see and “like”. But the mess, we keep locked up in a room we won’t let anyone into. Sometimes the people closest to us don’t even know what’s behind the door. We refuse to let anyone in, even Jesus. We pretend He can’t see what we’re hiding. It reminds me of Adam and Eve in the garden “hiding” from God.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:1-8
When they take that bite of the apple and realize they are naked, shame enters the scene. Immediately shame tells us to hide. Shame thrives off of secrecy. Darkness is the territory where the devil torments us. We have to let the light in and watch the shadows disappear and the torment cease. We have to stop hiding our past mistakes or current struggles in order to find the freedom and wholeness we were meant to walk in.
When you continue reading from the story of the very beginning, Adam says how he was afraid so he hid. The first words of God’s response are three words that ring in my ear on the regular:
“Who told you…?”
“He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:10-13).
When you are hiding in shame or overcome with fear, pause and let your Father ask you, “Who told you…” Who told you that you were a failure? Who told you that you had to do that? Who told you that you’re too far gone? Who told you that you were a mistake? Who told you that you were worthless? Who told you that you cannot change?
Before the truth can set you free, you must realize which lies are holding you hostage. Find the source of the lies, find the entry point and let your Father walk back into the beginning and say, “Who told you?” We don’t want to live our lives based on what the father of lies has led us to believe, but we want to follow our heavenly Father to the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
When we talk specifically about our sexual struggles– whether it be soul ties, porn addiction, flashbacks that aren’t from Friday but from past trauma and abuse, the inability to see our worth and value, body shaming, whatever it may be… it is important we ask God to take us back to the beginning. We need to find the introduction of the lies. Where did this start? When did this begin? Often we find we are not responsible for how it started, but we are responsible for how it ends. With the love of the Father, the power of the cross and the friendship of the Holy Spirit, we can rewrite our stories, change the narrative, and find a happy ending.
Your past does not have to dictate your future.
Ask yourself today, does my past hold unwarranted power over my present? If your answer is an obvious “YES!”, today is the day to start the process. If your answer is, “ugh, maybe, I think so,” that’s where you start. Be kind to yourself, ask the Holy Spirit to walk with you and show you where to begin. We don’t have to let the sickness from our past feed into our present. The dark room where we’ve tried to hide everything won’t work forever. Let the light in, you won’t regret it.
Stay tuned for the blog “The Process is Part of the Promise” if you’re not sure what to do next or ready to get started.