My next steps scare me sometimes. I have moments when I lose sight of what matters most in my life and find myself wondering how I will say those words, or send that email, saying, “It’s time. Let’s take Naomi Wright Ministries live.”
Launching this organization can feel overwhelming. There are moments when I foresee the losses, instead of the gains. Moments when the weight of telling my story feels heavier than the weight of carrying it along with me, though oftentimes exhausted and out-of-breath. When the likely reality of uncomfortable conversations with friends that don’t know my story, severed relationships with current group members, and possible retaliation from those not wanting this topic discussed, renders me internally frozen. Though I continue forward on the outside, fiercely focused as to not give in, I push back against an auto-pilot existence I default to when afraid; I won’t give in. There could be one other person out there...though I know there are even more.
After 35 years of secrets, calling an old friend to share stories of a life she has never heard a hint of, feels threatening. Choosing to disbelieve in the power of secrecy, in its lies of safety, I have to turn my heart away from the fear, again and again, knowing in every part of me that whatever comes next will be better. Whatever comes next will be more real, more true, more me, and prayerfully, more Christ.
I know the truth behind fear’s allure, its captivity that masquerades as self-preservation; although it's true that I’m scared sometimes, I have the opportunity to make a choice. I get to choose if my next move will be decided by an emotion instilled in me long ago—one I did not choose to embody, but rather was conditioned to operate out of by my cult group—or, if I will choose to look through the lens of a newer emotion. One of the many others I have come to know so intimately and fondly are laid before me, should I have the tenacity to reach for them: feelings of freedom, healing, passion, conviction, strength, love.
Aren’t these beautiful choices?
Though I have made these decisions many, many times, the fear hasn’t fully left me. As I take new steps away from my history, breaking away from the secrecy of my family’s belief system, long buried hurts are uncovered and continued bold moves are needed in my commitment to freedom. The fear seems to have its own life: it's less, then less, then suddenly swells up, almost overpowering me before it’s gone again, extinguished by a choice to see Jesus, rather than the darkness in and around me. This has happened many times when I’ve imagined members of my cult group finding out about this ministry. I’ve needed to refocus on the “why.” - There are others who can relate and potential future others who need prevention measures in place to warn them.
As odd as it may seem, I’m okay with this occasional fear battle, for now, though I want to be so filled with courage that I don’t even feel fear anymore. I want to have the inner-strength of the Saints. I want to be like Stephen, who proclaimed the truth when faced with the threat of death, then prayed for the forgiveness of his murderers with his last breaths (Acts 7). I want to be “Stephen unshakeable,” if I may make that an adjective.
Yet, today, I’m okay with being where I am. It’s not where I was, praise God, and it’s not where I will be, praise God—it’s somewhere new and it took some things to get here, some things and some “whos.” So while I won’t choose to remain here, I will choose to recognize the profound progress and embrace gratitude for the immense change in my life thus far. I could so easily be somewhere very different:
My fear could have won, and I would have lost.
I would have stayed in my group, in my town, waiting for my dad to return to us from the dead as if our savior.
I would have lost much, much more than I risk losing now: family heirlooms and relationships upheld by secrets either from them, of my life now, or for them, secrets of my life with them kept from the world.
Without question, I am taking the better deal.
Call to Action:
What is one step you could take today towards living free from the lie of secrecy?
Is there a secret you have yet to acknowledge within yourself? If so, allow yourself to acknowledge it.
Have you acknowledged a secret, but have yet to bring it to God in prayer? If so, talk with him.
Is there a safe and trusted person you can be vulnerable with about this secret? If so, reach out to them.