God is calling us out of hiding into a full and flourishing life; one where we travel freely and lightly. To get there, we must step out of the shadows and embrace the light through a lifestyle of confession. Confessing to God (1 John 1:19) and to others (James 5:16). When we live in the light, the burden of shame is lifted and we can experience the blessing of being fully known and loved.

This first step is followed by release. We need to let go of the pain, the death, the shame, the bitterness, the pride, and everything else that has come with carrying secrets. Release is so important because if we want to walk into our destiny we must deal with our history. It is easy to want to just get past it, but we have to move through it. One of the ways we release the past is to lament. To lament is to grieve the losses we have experienced.

We are not generally taught how to grieve in our culture. We hear things like “toughen up,” “don’t cry,” or “get over it,” and we avoid emotions like sadness and run from the feeling of loss.

The Scripture encourages lament – two thirds of the Psalms are laments, Jesus wept (John 11:35), and says in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who mourn, for the will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).

The healthy thing to do is to identify the losses in our lives. Death is the obvious one, but there are many more. We need to grieve the loss of attacthments, like kids going away to college, the inabaility to have a baby, moving houses, the betrayal of a close friend, or changing jobs. We need to grieve the loss of status, like a job, influence, finances, or maybe mobility as we age. Finally we need to grieve the loss of meaning – this might be letting go of dreams, a way of understanding faith, or mourning the loss of innocence.

Every loss is worth grieving. We lean into these losses, not so we can always be sad, but so we can expereince the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit. Just like in the movie “Inside Out,” joy came alive when sadness was around. Joy and sadness sometimes run on parallel tracks. and if we numb the sadness, we won’t experience the fullness of joy.

These ideas and more, were part of a message called “Release” in the series “What’s Your Secret?” You can watch or listen to the full message.

You can also purchase the book, What’s Your Secret? Freedom Through Confession by Aaron Stern, here.