Every single time we get more news about someone doing something they’re not supposed to, my heart breaks a little more. And it’s not so much that I’m disappointed in the person or persons involved (although I am, a little), it’s that I just can’t believe people still think they can do whatever they want, whenever they want and never get caught.
Guys, write this down: what you do when no one is around will eventually be found out. It might not be at first, but it will be. It’s inevitable.
We all hide. We do things when we’re alone, do things on the internet, do things when we think no one is paying attention that hurt us, that hurt others. Sometimes the damage is immediately apparent. But sometimes–and this is where things tend to get out of control–we don’t get caught immediately and so we keep doing this thing we’re not supposed to do because we got away with it.
And then we’re in too deep and getting out–whether we want to or not–doesn’t seem like a possibility.
I don’t share much of our addiction story details, mostly because they’re not wholly mine. I’m a secondary character in that mix even though I say it’s our story. But something that Chris said to me once when I asked how being a drug addict for years and keeping it a secret in our marriage even worked stuck with me and I think about it often.
He said that on the night of his bachelor party, he and his friends went camping and brought a large assortment of drugs. It was a night of indulgence, supposedly his “last hurrah” with these friends and drugs before he started walking the straight and narrow as a married man.
Except that the last hurrah wasn’t the last hurrah and he always had “just one more time.” This one-last-time thing went on for years until he eventually got caught.
I know that mentality too well myself. If I realize I’ve spent too much money on groceries or at the mall, I have this little part of my brain that says I can spend just a little more before I stop. If I’m making bad food choices, I don’t stop after a bad meal, I keep going for the next meal too because it’s just one last time before the diet starts again tomorrow.
While my indulgences don’t have huge ramifications that disappoint people and destroy lives, I can see how easy it would be to keep doing things like spending money or eating more and more food if I didn’t have a husband who asked where all the money went or clothes that got tighter and tighter. My vices aren’t easily hidden.
But the easily hidden ones come out too.
The thing is we all mess up. We are all flawed, damaged, broken people. It’s what we do with the mess up that can make us or break us. Messing up and asking for help, seeking forgiveness, and trying to repair the damage will still be long and painful. But it will get better, we’re promised that. Healing and forgiveness are powerful gifts from God that we can’t understand or fully comprehend. But if we don’t do those things–if we don’t stop, ask for help, cry out to those that love us the most, do battle against our struggle–we can bring destruction down that will ruin. Ruin lives, marriages, trust, love, friendships, children, memories, businesses, respect, and a million other things.
I can’t even begin to imagine how I would have reacted if one day Chris had come to me, confessed his struggle, and asked for help. I think I would have still been hurt–so hurt–but maybe we could have avoided our separation and the arguments that still echo in my ears. I felt like he wasn’t authentic in his want for change because he got caught as opposed to felt convicted to change. I felt he was just saying things I wanted to hear to save his own butt instead of wanting help getting out of the throngs of addiction.
You know enough of our story to know that through God’s grace and mercy, we survived. Every time I hear another story on the news of secret lives, secret accounts, secret pictures, I pray that God will shower grace and mercy on those people no matter how appalling their secrets. But I do wish they would have stopped hiding and asked for help; I do wish for a different end for their story.
I wish that for you too–whatever you’re hiding, whatever feels too broken and dirty and shameful to be brought to light, I want you to find someone who loves you well and I want you to ask for help. I know that seems scary. I know that seems like it can do so much damage. But let me assure you, seeking help is infinitely better than being caught. There is going to be destruction and consequences and pain either way, but it will be less painful and less messy if you stop hiding now. I think that lesson has been pretty apparent in the media recently. Let’s stop waiting to get caught and start seeking light.