Since writing about some of my very deep, personal struggles on my blog, I have noticed that my friends (and sometimes people I don’t even know well) have started sharing their own struggles with me and with other people in their lives.
One friend told me she’s ready to seek counseling and is open to whatever God wants to show her through it. This decision came after reaching a point of desperation overwhelming enough to cause her to see that she might not be able to do it all on her own any more.
Another friend admitted to me a few days ago that things in his life were out of control and seemed hopeless. I don’t know any details, but he is considering talking to someone about it because it’s eating him alive.
A girl I don’t know very well but keep in touch with also admitted to me that she’s had a hard time her entire life forgiving her parents, both of whom abused her, and moving on into healthy relationships with the people she loves.
Of course, it’s natural for people to feel more comfortable opening the doors to their own dusty closets full of skeletons if they feel that you’re not going to be disgusted by the dry bones, or worse yet, festering wounds. If you share your own shameful secrets, God might use you to unlock the doors of countless others. If you keep the doors locked and hide your painful past, He will find other ways to convince them to clean out the dark spaces and make way for healing, but you may miss the chance to see the transformation. This is what I did for years–I refused to open all of myself up, buried my pain and secrets, and blocked God from shining through my cobwebs.
For me, removing all the padlocks and airing out my proverbial basement cleared the clutter out of my brain. It freed me to focus on other things–beautiful, truthful, hopeful, and joyful things. It let the Light in and emptied spaces that had been occupied by sadness for way too long. It swept away the decay, and lovely little things began to grow in its place.
Spring cleaning has been good for my soul.
I’m praying it will be good for my precious friends as well.