2 Cor 4:2,6 (NIV) We have renounced secret and shameful ways... For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
I don't know about you but these days I look around and I feel overwhelmed. I see stories of addiction, sexual abuse, mental illness, violence, etc and I wonder what in the world is happening. I had a conversation with my grandmother about some of these things that were weighing me down and she said that these things were not so rampant in "her day". I got to thinking. Is that true? Are these issues new?
I would argue that they aren't new at all. Those issues have been around for as long as people have been around I'd guess. I don't think they are more common today, I think people are getting BRAVE and talking about them. History tells us that many atrocities happened long ago, I think the difference is that for many years people were silenced. These were things no one was expected to talk openly about. When we keep secrets, eventually they will have to come to light...eventually whether they are spoken about or acted out, they come out.
For decades, maybe centuries, people have dealt with all of these issues in silence. They were inappropriate things to speak of and so they got shoved away, deeper and darker, and in that darkness they fester, they begin to cause rot and decay, the decay spreads and spreads until eventually something comes to light or the rot takes over. I think this silence and suppression of these issues has caused the infection to grow, it becomes a cycle and the only way to break that cycle is to get honest, open up and address the issues.
An abuse victim shoves their fears and feelings down until they grow and the abusee becomes the abuser, a person struggling with mental illness shoves the shame away until the illness takes over. A person struggling with addiction continues to feed the addiction until that addiction brings death and destruction. We can't keep on keeping' on this way...we need to be brave, we need to bring it all to light. We live in a broken world where terrible things happen and we need to talk about them. It is time to break the stigma.
I think there are far too many of us carrying around hurts and traumas that we are not meant to carry alone. I don't know why these things happen to so many, but I know we were never meant to try to handle them alone. I've been criticized for being so open about my mom's suicide and my own struggle with depression and anxiety. More than the criticism though I've had people share stories with me that they had previously been unable to share, people who've contemplated their own suicide but found hope in knowing they aren't alone. My mom's birthday was yesterday and I can't help but think that if she had felt she could share, if she could be honest and bring that darkness to light she might still be here today.
Friends, you aren't alone. Whatever your struggle, you are never alone. When we get brave and we share our souls and the deepest darkest parts of them, we allow light to shine into the darkness and the light will cause growth, the rot and decay will stop and true growth and healing can take place. I think for many generations stigma and taboo won, that must end here. No more shame, no more stigma, no more taboo, you are loved and you are not alone. I urge you, whatever your struggle, whether addiction, mental illness, sexual abuse, abuse, anything, reach out to someone who loves you well, bring the darkness to light, take back your power, God can bring beauty from the ashes of any circumstance, but as long as it remains in the dark it will fester and the infection will spread, so bring it to light, let the light shine out of the darkness, I am here, I am with you and I am always honored when you share your stories with me so feel free to email me if you aren't sure who else to share with.
Let's leave a better world for our kids and bring it all to light!
Mat 5:14-15 (Phi) "You are the world's light; it is impossible to hide a town built on top of a hill. Men do not light a lamp and put it under a bucket. They put it on a lampstand, and it gives light for everybody in the house."