Once upon a time, I was a college student in a fifteen passenger van traveling to I don’t remember where on some mission trip or conference or something. What I do remember is that another one of the passengers in that van was my boyfriend at the time.

And I remember (of all things!) some random joke of his to that fully loaded fifteen passenger van about me. And I quote:

“She toots when she sleeps.”

Hilarious, right? 

I’m not one bit scarred, friends, so don’t get worried. Everyone in the van would surely have known that the boyfriend in question would have had no idea whether or not I toot in my sleep. 

And just in case anyone outside of southern America needs translation? In this context, ‘toots’ is a polite way of saying she passes gas. That may have already been obvious, so let’s move on.

I’m sharing this example to make a quick point: when I talk in this post about “Negative Disclosure” that is NOT the type of negative disclosure I’m referring to.

You still with me? Good.

So. Our pastor and his wife were over for a visit the other evening and he said something very profound. So important that I think it could have downright changed the trajectory of our marriage:

“Negative disclosure leads to greater intimacy.”

I am not sure I’m quoting him perfectly (whereas I’m sure about the sleep and tooting thing.) However, I am sure I’ve got the gist of it here — and the idea is really the main thing I want to communicate.

I think one of the greatest tools the enemy of our souls has in his arsenal is the strategy of making us feel isolated. He whispers things like this:

You’re the only one struggling with this. You should be ashamed of yourself. If anyone else knew it would completely change what they think of you.

The choices you’ve made, the things you’ve struggled with are proof that you’re worthless in the kingdom of God.

What happened to you was really your fault and it’s proof that you’re worthless.

God could never use you to build His kingdom. He only uses people who have it all together.

When we bring these thoughts into the Light, we see how ridiculous they are, right? Yet somehow, while they’re in that fuzzy realm of unspoken stuff we’re trying to stuff down deep, they still have power. 

In the Light, the deep and real Truth of God, we know that we ALL sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. 

We also know for certain that God delights in using the most broken people for His glory.

David, the king caught in adultery, which he tried to resolve with arranged murder? He wrote so many of the Psalms that connect our hearts to God’s heart — and have been connecting hearts to God’s for a couple thousand years.

Moses murdered an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite and then ran off into the wilderness… and God delighted in using him, flawed and broken as he was, to deliver the people of Israel.

Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife. Jacob tricked Isaac to get Esau’s blessing. 

The list goes on but you get the idea — God is in the business of helping broken people do beautiful things for His glory. Therefore: you are not disqualified.

So what about this negative disclosure thing?

Those words breathed life into Mark’s heart, and mine. He chose to be honest about things he was struggling with and I had the privilege of listening and rejoicing with him at our good God — faithfully working to deliver us. I got to be honest about things that were bothering me that seemed big — but when I brought them into the light, they became minuscule and lost their lie-whispering power.

The power of our enemy works best in the darkness.

We storm the gates and take back those strongholds when we bring things into the Light.

This is not just a word for those who are married. We need deep and meaningful friendships where we can be honest — really honest — about our struggles, our fears, and the things that are keeping us from fully walking in the Light.

Negative disclosure isn’t about admitting you have bad breath in the morning — it’s about being willing to tell the truth even when it’s not the pretty, all-put-together truth you want other people to see or hear or believe about you.

I’m struggling with addiction. I’m fighting suicidal thoughts. I find myself drawn to places on the internet I know I shouldn’t be going.

These are examples of the negative disclosure we don’t want to bring into the Light… but absolutely should.

Give these words a good read through or two:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” {2 Corinthians 10: 3-5}

What is Paul admitting here? We are still humans made of flesh. We are tempted. We fall short. We do what we don’t want to do. But how do we fight? We take our thoughts captive, because every action starts with a thought. Before you stand up to get a glass of water, you have to think about being thirsty and tell your brain to move your arms to give you balance to stand to your feet to put one foot in front of the other, and so on. 

The lies we believe are trying to exalt themselves against the Truth of God.

While the world says our sins make us worthless, our God says He created us and we are worthy.

While the world tells us our failures prove us fools, God has consistently shown He chooses flawed, failing individuals for great tasks in His kingdom.

I’d like to invite you to search your own soul today. Is there a whisper of the enemy that is making you believe you are not fully worthy of the love of God? Or not “good enough” to deserve good things? Or not “holy enough” to do things that matter in God’s economy? 

Is there a sinister whisper in your ear? Ask that question and then begin to bring it into the Light. This can be as simple as turning to your spouse or a friend or a sister or someone near and saying “I am really struggling with _________. I’m not sure why, but I think maybe it’s because I think ______.”

You might be surprised to find your friend will say “Me, too.” Or you might be opening a door for them to feel like they can also be honest about their own struggles. 

It turns out negative disclosure — being honest about things that are important, but aren’t easy to talk about — can be incredibly positive for your relationship with others, and for deepening your faith in our merciful, loving God. Honest disclosure will deepen your man-to-man and man-to-God relationships–and that is a beautiful, wonderful thing.

While the enemy loves to find the sheep that is isolated and stranded and separated from the flock, our decisions to be honest help us to lock arms with one another. They pull us in and deepen our sense of community. This changed sense of identity can break chains, friends!

Go for honest friends. It truly is a Life-Changing kind of Magic — maybe we could even say it’s a sort of Tidying-Up for the soul.



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