Lay Devotion with Kim Wu
“You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession, or childhood humiliation. Reveal anything—as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.”
These were the instructions printed on the postcards which Frank Warren distributed throughout the Washington area years ago, handing them out to strangers as well as leaving them in public places. This was the beginning of PostSecrets, which is now a popular Web site, as well as the title of a series of books containing selections of the returned postcards. When the books were published and sold in bookstores, people even inserted slips of paper with their own secrets written on them, leading many people on the hunt to find these books that contained the extra secrets.
Why are so many people drawn to participate, and then drawn to read them?
Most of us are carrying the burdens of secrets like these, made all the heavier by the feeling that we are alone in having them. Putting pen to paper and revealing them helps us see our common humanity.
But I think it is shame that drives us to keep many of these secrets in the first place. And wrapped up in them are the lies we have come to believe. Shame and fear tell us that we are unique in the struggles we face. Other people are managing better, and people won’t like us any more if they knew our secrets. So we hide in the dark with our secrets, and the darkness makes the lies all the more believable.
But in 1 John 1:5-7 we read, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Sheila Walsh, in her book “In the Middle of the Mess”, writes that when our secrets and lies are “brought into the light of God and then into the light of the community of believers, they lose their power. And perhaps this is because you cannot understand grace in the dark. Grace lives in the light; it pours out into those who think they are broken beyond repair. It pours out into us, showing us how much God loves us, how much He wants to have fellowship with us.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for your life-giving light. Help us to trust in your love, and to choose to be vulnerable with others. To live in the light you offer to the world. Amen.
Photo by Missy Fant on www.unsplash. com.