When I was growing up, there was a popular television show called "I’ve Got a Secret." Guests would appear on the show (usually three) who each claimed to be a certain person with a particular career. For instance, each one of the three might claim to be a television producer from California. Only one person, however, was the real deal. It was up to a panel in the end to guess which one of the three was telling the truth.
Secrets have a way of weighing us down. They can create doubt and endless feelings of shame. Yet, not all secrets are the same. Sometimes, these secrets exist because the gap is so wide between what we claim to be and what we really are. (In all of us, there is some gap. After all, you are a human being not God). Yet, on the other hand, it is possible for the gap to be so wide that you are virtually living a double life.
What I am thinking right now are those secrets that are buried in the memory. They exist like a file stored on the hard drive of a computer. Maybe you created that file some time ago, but it is still there and occasionally you bring it up. We have a way of storing our secrets in the hardrive of our minds and bringing them again and again.
For a Christian, these secrets have been forgiven. If you are like some (actually "many") you know what it is to pray repeatedly that God would forgive you. Yet, in your mind, the file has never been deleted. It remains and occasionally, you allow it to do its damage all over again. Over and over you condemn yourself…
"Why on earth did I have that affair? What was I thinking? Surely God will forever be disappointed."
"I can’t believe that I took that money. What would my children think if they knew?"
"Why did I watch those porn movies? It started happening everytime I went out of town. What’s wrong with me?"
"Why on earth do I have such evil thoughts? I can’t believe some of the things that go through my mind. My husband and children would be so hurt."
Do you know that when God forgives you–your secrets begin to lose their power? These secrets may continue to have power in your life when you believe that you are an imposter.
The imposter is not the person who has done things in the past for which she/he is ashamed. The imposter is the person who works hard to create the image that she/he basically has it all together. "Nothing wrong with me!" Really?
What God wants is for us to move beyond self-condemnation. You are not forever marked in the mind of God because of what you did twenty years ago or last year. When God forgives you, he really forgives you. Too many of us believe that he forgives but that we will forever be like a student who received a "D" on his grade report. Forgiven but forever tainted? Forgiven but forever seen as that person who God has given a "D"?
The answer, however, is not posing as a person has it together. The answer is claiming your absolute dependence on the grace of God. I have found his grace to be so freeing. This freedom comes when you get to the point where your confidence and security comes from him rather than your image, your reputation, or what you would like for people to think about you. Finally, you are free.
That kind of life is the real deal!