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Escaping the Secret Life

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2021 2:00 am

Escaping the Secret Life

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 18, 2021 2:00 am

Do you ever feel like you have to prove yourself worthy for God to love you? On FamilyLife Today, hosts Dave and Ann Wilson talk with author and speaker, Sharon Hersh, about her book, "Belonging," and the life of addiction she knew needed God's healing.

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One of the things that keeps us from healthy relationships and marriage and our family relationships with others is the secrets that we carry is authoring counselor Sharon Hirsch.

We carry our secrets. They carry they carry into saying count spare feeling like a fraud not being able to connect with other people and so we don't feel like we belong, because were not our true self. This is family life today. Our hosts are David and Wilson on Bob Payne find us on what a family life today.com we do with our secrets with our shame our guilt.

How do we break the power they have over us and the impact they have on our relationships to talk more about that today was Sharon Hirsch stay with her and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. You guys know Matt Chandler.

The pastor in Dallas.

Matt is that he was part of the stepping up video series that we did the knees, a well-known pastor teacher he is. He said something one time that has kind of stuck with me. He said at our church we tell people it's okay not to be okay.

It's just not okay to stay there and I've always thought that's a great perspective and and it's a perspective I think all of us who are part of the faith need to acknowledge it's okay not to be okay anyone, that's the point were all a mess and we probably all be better off if we would acknowledge that we are and and I think what were to talk about here this week is the fact that this mess that is us. If we can be honest with ourselves and honest with God about that mess and and maybe start to be bold enough to be honest with one another now and I always wonder whenever I address this topic the brokenness of us which is absolutely real and sometimes so despicable you can't believe it's in your wife because we see it.

Everybody at the tennis but at the other side is what I want to say is there's a there's an image of God. That's real and there's a redemption that meets both so they're both true simultaneous.

That's why when we can begin to acknowledge the brokenness and be honest about it were on the path to the restoration of the glory that God implanted when he planted his image in us. What were we talking about that with our friend Sharon Hirsch was joining us again on family life today. Sharon welcome back. It's great to be with you and you family life is always been so gracious to me because you know I started out as a speaker for the family life, marriage team, and then my life fell apart and became very messy. Like why talking about and I think there's a bad rap in the Christian circle that there is not grace from people whose lifestyle apart.

That is not something I have ever experienced what I have experienced from people like you is that the mass can become a message and I think identify with more people than we even realize that what's on the surface of our lives is important, but what way deep down inside that we are afraid to talk about because we got this myth or lie that everyone will reject us and no one will love as I know no one is back. I am here today to say that is not true. Sharon is an author.

She teaches as an adjunct professor at reformed theological seminary in Orlando. She does counseling. She's the mother of two adult children and your latest book belonging probably the most raw transfer of any of the books you've written and and you this this was kind of a journey to be able to say okay I'm going to be transparent with my readers with people because there is healing that comes when you open that door is scary as that is.

There's healing. On the other side. Is there an and I took some time, I think, is my dear friend, Brennan Manning is no longer with a sad and easy, known for telling people the truth about his life yet he also sad. I tell people as much truth is I want to.

And as I heard that from him. I began to think, what's the truth I'm not telling you started.

Let's go back to middle school. You were a high performer, high achiever. I mean you had a public persona that you were trying to live up to, even when you knew about junk in your heart you thought I just gotta keep all that hidden and and be this person. Everybody expects me to be that it was interesting Sharon because you start your book by stating, I don't know how my life became all about me but it did and that's what you're referring to Bob back in your early years. That's what you are referring to what he mean by that. I love that both of you have started at the beginning because our stories do tell us who we are and that's why as a therapist. I'm very interested in people stories but I learned, and I'm not placing the blame on this for anyone, but I learned early on that looking good made things better.

If you have middle school is out there. You looking good is what it's all about. Sometimes looking good in the church is what it's all about that. We don't need blame the church because that is our world and so I felt in this conflict. From the very beginning that as Romans chapter 6 and seventh as the things to do. I can't figure out a way to do them and the things that I don't want to do.

That's what I find myself doing and so the message from early on was try harder, do better and look good. And when you can't in that terrible trap need to be more. I need to do better, but I can't let it look like specifically as you are growing up. I think I question my faith in middle school I remember a story of being in the Josh McDowell conference which those who are listening who are old like me.

Remember that and thinking I don't belong here.

It is the sense of where do I belong. I don't belong in the church because I question things and I do things that if anyone knew they kicked me out and get this feeling that I want to belong to something that is more than me, which we have certainly seen in our culture these days that people want to belong to a cause.

D. A movement that is more than just ourselves. So being caught in that conflict left me feeling like I'm not enough. I can't do it right no matter how hard I try. I'm gonna fail and so and this is the deadly part of my story and I wonder if people out there can identify with this so there were is a the title belonging to me, that is a word is when you hear it.

It's emotional is of is that working from it is and the belief that to belong. I have to keep things secret and as I say in the book. It didn't take me to run into my early adult life to figure out. We don't carry our secrets. They carry us all so what you mean well I think that we believe if I don't tell anyone about this if I don't express this doubt if no one knows about this behavior and certainly part of my story that I am very open to talk about is being an alcoholic and being in recovery two steps for three steps back for 30 years that the parts we keep secret. Carry into shame and guilt, despair, feeling like a fraud not being able to connect with other people and so we don't feel like we belong, because were not our true self and I went on vacation as a seven-year-old with my family was one of his great trips that I can remember that as you were talking this flashback in my mind Sharon that I can remember having had some sexual abuse happened before this trip, but on this trip. We had vacation with families that we had never been less in that same abuse happened with an older teenage boy but I never forgot that trip because it was after that time that it started in my head. This thought something must be wrong with me and before I thought maybe you know maybe this is just there messed up but that was the day it solidified in my mind, it's me, something's wrong with me that sense that I didn't belong that there must be something wrong with me and I'm over here by myself in all the world is right, but I'm not in there is a tragedy in that for so many of us that had that sense I don't belong you to have that as a child, you sure about your book. I do, and there are many stories in this book that I have never told until this book because as you're saying and as children, especially when we have tragedy or the trail happen in our lives. We believe it's my fault and we tuck it away there something wrong with me because to believe that my parents have not noticed my parents have abandoned me adults in my life have not been safe leaves us feeling even more alone than ever. So it's my thought, which sets us out on a journey of trying to control you better try harder.

Make sure nothing like that ever happens again, but I do feel like many of us have the stories from childhood you know it's interesting, is that you know is both you to women talk about this.

You know, when in and I get married I have no idea about this secret.

I did neither.

You know me. I knew it happened to me but I tucked it away and I thought, I'm not gonna talk about that when you didn't think you were carrying a heavy weight know I just worked harder and harder to disguise that by being the best at certain things and when you put the fig leaf on and I it's been a part of the human DNA from the garden of Eden and ended that we've all done that here. Here's what I want to ask you is so were married. I don't know this is even part of her story you said earlier stories carry our lives. When I discover this as she begins to reveal it. Actually, in a counseling situation early in our marriage my perspective as well. You know your seven.

We do get over and I'm sure you're fine with that. All right, she sort like yeah Mike okay good, thanks for telling us move on.

How nave could I be as a husband I did not enter into their pain and so I think in a sense for your she still felt like she didn't belong. Even with me because I didn't engage that is that your story and help us husbands or you could be wise it could be reversed when they when they find out from their spouse. This truth that maybe the been carrying this part of their story. How do we respond, how do we help them feel like they belong such a great question, Dave and I don't want this speak for and go ahead and counselor. I know what happens is when we experience trauma and trauma can simply be described as something that our brains are not capable of processing so they just seven. How can you process sexual abuse and so our brains disconnect from ourselves and other people so the glory in this story is that and to tell you because she wanted to connect with you and that's the brave reality of telling the tracks right there it was. There was a critical moment in our marriage and blew it.

But not forever.

I didn't respond correctly.

Initially, but eventually I matured I didn't think you even blew it. I didn't. I wasn't even aware that it was trauma for you to hear that. And so it's important to know that when we experience trauma, whether it's thinking about our childhood are going through a pandemic in our world. Our brain does not know what to do with it and sell it automatically.

I don't know why this happens disconnects from people. The very thing that we need.

We disconnect from cell in a counseling session and was saying, I don't know what you're going to think about this, but I know I need you I cannot be in this alone and that is the message of the longing that we are living in a world that is distant to find it disconnected. So as we began to tell the truth about our lives.

Now I don't want to make this rainbows and happiness because telling the truth about our lives is scary. We will be judged by some people lose friends. Yes, you lost friends I have. And yet at the same time.

I know there is something about telling the truth about my life. The book belonging begins with telling about a DUI. I got 15 years ago, and something I still feel shame about as I talk about it today, and yet what I know is that those people who judge me. Maybe have not had experience with the situation. Or maybe they're scared of something in their own lives chair and take us back to that like what happened in and whether your seven and you carry a secret for a long time. I was carrying this secret that I was addicted to alcohol and as a Christian and I was a Christian. I loved God and I wanted to serve him, but that did not negate this biological reality that was going on in my life to the start in high school, you know. It started in my early 20s. Well let me be the therapist for a second place and you you have a secret. This alcoholism but in any kind of addiction were escaping something else had you down with what you were sent from and so such a great question because we are tempted, when someone in our lives is doing selfish on thinkable behavior and that's what alcoholism is our temptation is to say what you do mean you do this not. Yes, instead of asking, as you just dead and what's the pain behind that said they were lots of secrets behind like the sexual abuse that you talked about like the performance that you talked about Bob thinking that I've got to be better, try harder do more, which always leaves us feeling insufficient so what was the pain that opened the door to alcohol through it was anxiety and that anxiety is fueled, there can be chemical reality is that for me. I think it was fueled by this performance and energy that look good.

I've got to do more.

I have got to rise up that questions doubts pain in my life and so is a 21-year-old so I did not drink until it was legal as a 21-year-old high discovered alcohol which none the pain took away the questions made me feel gave you courage at home in my own skin and you know it wasn't a problem until it became a problem as I have said often. Alcohol makes everything better until it makes everything worse.

And then at that time in my life and I got a DUI. My marriage is falling apart all my strategies to prove that I was a good Christian, which if you just hear that sentence indicates the gospel, but it's what I believed my strategies were falling apart and so at that time the liquor stores were closed in Colorado. On Sundays I went to a restaurant and started to order drinks to non-me me it's as you said earlier, my life had become all about me and that's hard to admit because we see in our culture people who are celebrities or political figures who we can easily say all their life is all about them. But most of us think about what makes me look better. What makes me look successful. What do I want what makes me feel good and so as I was driving home from that restaurant. The most terrible thing I can imagine happened and I saw the flashing lights of the police car behind me and I thought okay the gig is up. I cannot perform the pain and doubt questions in my life and certainly that came home to me when they took me to a detox facility and said okay.

You can leave call someone and I thought, who can I tell the truth about me to anyone and that open the door to a journey that I did not expect.

I mean I was not 20 years old I was 40 years old and you had kids that were in your house to that were teenagers and to begin to read think what it looks like to live a life of faith, not in me that in someone who is far more than it sounds good that it's not easy.

So as the worst night of your life for you look back and say it actually was a turning point was a turning point. It was not the worst night of my life. I thought it was at that point that it really open the door for me to think. Do I believe I am loved by God, not for what I do or don't do that because of who God is.

It reminds me of a quote its effect. A friend of mine who said this, all of our hatred or lack of self-esteem is denying everything that God wanted you to be in choosing to see yourself as the enemy wants you to be seen. This is actually a form of pride in pride is not necessarily thinking a lot of yourself but is thinking of yourself a lot your believing yourself more than your believing God is that that resonate with what you're saying. It does resonate and yet for most of us it's counterintuitive because we think the life of faith is proving ourselves, and I certainly believed it was protecting myself. I talked about this subject. In one of the chapters in the book club. Like you mean it because prescriptions 13 says love rejoices in the truth in marriage. I think we all have this tendency to want to only show to one another in marriage were supposed to be negative am ashamed were supposed to be transparent, be one with one another. It still kind like if you really knew this about me, you would run you would not want to be your you would submit a mistake you'd look for them out as quick as you could. So we keep a manicured performance even in our own home. Yeah this is because it's the place where hopefully we are received with all of our flaws and all of our frailty and all of our failures and I think part of the reason we are afraid to be honest is because we've seen other people be honest and we've seen them be punished for their honesty. We've seen them bear the reproach of others who have said all that's you a mix but been shown the outcast and we go on up to about thought made him think in sheriff. You walked into church the day or two after you go, pull over DUI. What are people who think it should be the place where they go were here to help, but it's the place, often of judgment. While I think sharing what you said is who would I call and I think we all have to decide do I have someone that I can let them see all of me and I think that's a really important question whether married. Whether you're single that we all have to have someone besides God because God's. The first one to be honest with. I would say but also someone else to take. This is who I am and I'm really struggling. Do we have that person do I belong and here's the other thing I've recognized all this because some of us can be pretty good performers. Yeah, you know, I can hold it together. I can hold it altogether and what that breeds is self-righteousness and judge mentalism and you become one of these people look at you hold out what can you be good like me and and either one.

This you go back to Luke 15 will store the prodigal son.

There are two messed up people in upper both miss the gospel contrary there's there's the prodigal who lived out of the world and there's the self-righteous older brother who said what could you be perfect like me and in both of them needed forgiveness and hope and restoration limits. While the father comes to the self-righteous older brother tells her to come to the party who said how come I don't get party not been perfect because you're welcome Miller fuel but blessed are the poor in spirit.

They're the ones who see God. This is really where you take us in your book belonging, which we got available in our family life to the resource center. The subtitle is finding the way back to one another, but just think about the marriages where transparency needs to be a part of the relationship. All of our relationships being more open and honest with one another. This is at the heart of Sharon's book again. You can order the book from a someone of family life today.com or call one 800 FL today to go to copy of Sharon Hirsch's book belonging the website again. Family life today.com or call to order one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today also say thank you to those of you who are a regular listers to family life today on those of you who from time to time will get in touch with us and say we are grateful for how God is using this ministry in our life in our community and our world. Thank you for the ongoing work of family life. Today we will support what you're doing with the donation. Those donations are the lifeblood of this ministry, you make it possible for us to be here every day for us to reach more people more often.

All around the world.

There are hundreds of thousands of people being impacted today by a conversation like this because of investments listers like you have made in this ministry and if you're able to help today with the donation in support of this ministry would love to send you as a thank you gift a copy of a book we talked about earlier this week a book called toxic sons and daughters in law, by Doyle Roth. That book looks at how we should interact with our sons or daughters in law if there is been some kind of disruption in our family unity as a result of them being grafted into him again. The book is our thank you gift to you. When you donate to support this ministry and you can donate online@familylifetoday.com or you can call one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life them in the word today and tomorrow. We want to talk more with Sharon Hirsch about the courage to be honest about who we really are and what and what we do when that honesty invites scorn and ridicule how we handle will have the conversation tomorrow to them for that engineer today.

Keith Lynch, we got some extra help from Bruce golf course our entire broadcast production team was a part of shaping this program on behalf of our hosts David and Wilson on bottle peen will see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life to the production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas approved ministry help for today hope for tomorrow


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