What do you do when you’re buried deep under a thick layer of lies?
How do you get out of a false life you’ve burrowed into?
When is the best time to come clean?
Let David be your guide.
David, the ‘Man after God’s own heart’, had extensive experience with this. After he raped Bathsheba and found out she was pregnant (2 Samuel 11), he did everything in his power to cover his tracks. He brought her husband home from war and tried to get them to sleep together; and after her husband wouldn’t, David went about getting him drunk enough to try to push him into it. When that didn’t work, David plotted with his army to have her husband and his company moved to the front lines, where they were abandoned to die at David’s order. Then he married Bathsheba.
He thought he was in the clear. He had that temporary relief of not being caught.
Which is when he was confronted by his friend Nathan (1 Samuel 12).
I tell you this to let you know that you’re not the first to live a covered-up life, and you won’t be the last. I can remember (with a sinking feeling in my stomach), the years I spent in hiding. I will give anything to not go back to that place.
So, what do you do? How do you go about getting out of hiding and into the open?
Listen to David reflecting on this topic in Psalm 32.
‘I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.’ Psalm 32:5
Acknowledge – The first thing he did was to simply come to terms with his reality. To acknowledge is simply ‘to know’. David came face to face with his problem. He stopped trying to pretend it away, and instead looked his reality square in the face.
Before you go about telling someone else what’s going on, you’ve got to see it for what it is. I’d encourage you to write down your hidden life on paper. All of it. Feel free to shred, burn or dispose of the paper after you’ve written. The main thing is that you get it down in front of you.
Uncover – The second thing he did was to stop covering up. He stopped lying, pretending, sneaking, and hiding. Instead, he took the veil off and let the chips fall where they may.
This is not easy, and it’s extremely helpful if you have someone to walk with you through it. You will be terrified and relieved, anxious and free, overwhelmed and lightened.
Stop erasing the text messages and your browser history. Put an end to the lies you are making about where you were and what you were doing. Start living in the freedom of truth telling.
Confess – This is a bible word, and you may have your own ideas about what it means, but simply put, confessing is simply ‘telling the truth’. James tells us to tell the truth about ourselves and our failures to others on a regular basis (5:16). Find some trustworthy friends, mentors, counselor or group, and begin telling the truth about yourself.
This takes some practice. At first, you’ll still want to spin your story to make you sound like you’re doing better than you really are. Try not to. Try to let them know what’s actually going on inside and outside of you. What are the thoughts and emotions that are coming up? What is your situation, really? Let them know how bad or how good it really is.
Tell the truth.
As a mentor of mine frequently says:
Tell your story. Tell it all. Tell it often.