Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secret Choices

I was raised in an abusive homes and abuse thrives on secrecy. While I've spilled that secret, I am still very private. Lots of times, I just don't even think to tell someone something. It doesn't cross my mind because it is "private." Perhaps a better word is personal.

I worked in ministry for 11 years. Hearing students' wounds was something to keep between me and God. (Unless, of course, there was any danger.)

Add to that the fact that I have an MA in counseling. By law and ethics, that stuff is confidential.

I don't think of myself as a natural gossip. I just don't tend to repeat very many things.

Knowing all of that, I am always a bit befuddled when someone tells me, "Please don't repeat this." Generally, repeating 95% of things wouldn't cross my mind.

There is a difference between secrets and confidentiality. A secret was the abuse in my family. Confidentiality is a professional thing. But the two blend together for me at times. Today, I've decided I don't even like the idea of secrets. They cost too much. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to tell everyone everything I hear. Rather, I have felt the sting of secrets kept today in a fresh way.

I won't air it here (that would hardly be right or fair), but I found out today about a secret choice a friend made. Had I known for sure the path she was considering, I would have waved big caution flags, jumped up and down to get her attention, and possibly made nuisance out of myself for a brief time. But I would have known it was her decision and after saying my bit, I would have let the issue rest with her. The sad fact is that no one seems to have known about this huge decision she was making. Did she have opportunity to share? Yes. She chose not to.

I am beginning to believe that if something doesn't fall into the fun surprise category that secrets are dangerous things. In this case, I think she knows it is a wrong choice, possibly even dangerous, but she was bent on doing it anyway. If you don't discuss it with anyone, you won't have to deal with anyone balking at the decision. It makes it much easier to go through with what you want.

But if you have to keep it a secret, do you really believe in your heart that it is a good decision?

Have I done my share of keeping secrets? Yes. And I'm not even talking about the abuse here. I've made bad decisions and gone on making them and keeping them secrets for a long time. Honestly, the heartache they caused was exponentially worse than any satisfaction or warped pleasure that came from the decision behind the secret.

So, if you are at a crossroads and are making a decision, please seek counsel from those who are wise around you. Yes, it is still your decision, but remember the above question. If it must be done in secret, is it really a good decision? God is a God of light.

Sorry for the sermonette today, but it has weighed on my heart since early this morning.

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mark savage said...

Excellent words and a wonderful challenge for all of us. Your writings made me think.


Sandra said...

I agree with you 100% that secrets are dangerous. I just had a conversation with one of my close friends about secrets and she mentioned that it's not a good thing to keep secrets because you just leave an open door for Satan to enter and torment you and once he has a hold of your thoughts you have to share the secret and in most cases ask God for forgiveness in order to be released from Satan's stronghold. Thanks for sharing.


Lelia Chealey said...

Beautifully and honestly written Amy...straight from your once wounded heart.
Great job my dear friend!
My husband always tells our 6 year old "Secrets don't make friends!" :)