The Path of Freedom (part 8)
There’s a verse in the bible that tells us we should confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed (James 5:16). It’s a verse I read a lot before I started this journey, but I always held it at a distance. Why? Because to me it seemed so difficult. The idea of sharing my heart with God was one thing, but talking with a human about my secret struggles was a completely different story. That is, until I thought of it as fly fishing.
I know very little about it, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. And from what I’m told, it’s not a skill one can learn easily. There’s a great deal of instruction involved and it takes time to understand the many components to become successful at fly-fishing. One of the comments I’ve heard from people who are learning is that it takes time to understand how to cast the rod. In fact, most folks spend hours, if not days, learning how to cast in an open field before they ever step foot in a river. Why? Because one must learn how to develop their own cast. In other words, they have to develop a rhythm. Rhythm, defined by Merriam-Webster is: “movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements”. Can you see this picture in your mind? One hand firmly gripping the rod and the other controlling the line. Back and forth like the constant tick of a metronome. 1,2,3; 1,2,3; 1,2,3…you get the idea. If not, take a look at the photo I added to this post. This may help.
Okay, now what does this have to do with confessing our sins to each other so that we may be healed? I believe the connection is rhythm. Think of my story. I hit rock bottom and decided that my only option was to confess all my sin to Maty. That happened on a specific day. It took several hours and there were a few weeks of follow up, but we could pile all of it into a specific period of time. The confession started and then ended. Therefore, it couldn’t be classified as a rhythm; it lacked the regular recurrence part. But what I learned in walking on my path of freedom is that confession had to become a daily part of my life. I needed to learn how to develop my own rhythm. My own cast. I had to grip the rod with one hand and control the line with the other. God had to teach me how to develop that natural flow. I had to learn how to speak out what was going on in my mind and heart to Maty in a way that would bring forth healing. And one of the best parts was that Maty started to develop her own cast. She expressed the depths of her heart with me as I shared with her. Then, like the predictable tick-tock of well-tuned grandfather clock, we developed a rhythm of confession as a couple.
Now keep in mind that it took time for us to learn how to confess to each other. To continue my fly-fishing example, it’s like God met us out in an open field with our rods, which was James 5:16. Our goal was to “fish” together in a beautiful mountain river, but first we needed to learn how to cast. It was difficult and awkward while learning what confession looked like. There were times when I wanted to quit because it was hard sharing the shameful and embarrassing thoughts that I dealt with (and still do). But as we forced ourselves to cast (or confess) back and forth every day, we developed a habit that over time created an atmosphere of openness and honesty. We learned how to grip our James 5:16 rod with one hand and control our confession (the line) with the other. The ever-amazing teacher, the Holy Spirit, was with us the entire time to guide and encourage. After many days of practice together, we slowly started to see our own rhythm develop. Soon we were striding back and forth, casting side-by-side in a beautiful motion.
So just like catching fish is the goal of the person fly-fishing, healing is the promise for those who confess their sins to one another. I’m living proof of this. Today is day 423 of my journey and I can tell you that after developing my own rhythm of daily confession as a way of life, I am walking in a level of healing that I never thought was possible. Not only for me as an individual, but also for my marriage.
P.S. Fear not, we're also going to address the following circumstances in a future post/video conversation: (1) I'm married and my spouse has no interest in hearing my secret struggles; (2) because he/she won't partner together with me in a rhythm of confession, there's no hope I'll ever be able to live in an honest and transparent relationship; or (3) I'm not married, so who do I talk to?
P.S.S Remember that I chose not to confess to Maty for over nine years because I was terrified she would have rejected me and therefore, I made up the scenario in my mind that it would be better to keep silent and just confess to God. This approach will never lead to true healing.