“I’ve spent so long hiding everything I feel and everything I am, and making up lies to make it look like I’m normal, and putting up a front of who I think I should be, that in all honesty, I don’t know who… I really am.”1
This comment is from Mary—an adult child of divorce—as recorded in Karen Klein’s Broken Circle Project. Does this quote speak to your heart? It did to mine.
A staggering revelation
My awareness of this problem came with a speaker’s challenge to “be who we are in Christ” and “to be who Christ created us to be.” While pondering his words, I looked at my 40-something self and realized, I had no idea who God created me to be! Because I was too busy being who I thought others wanted me to be.
I had many labels: Christian, husband, father, manager, brother, teacher, worship leader, confidante, son, and so on. However, these described the outer me. Inside, fear dominated my life in ways that dragged me away from the abundant life Jesus offered. But God led me to Proverbs 29:25:
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”2
Caught in the trap
We don’t hear the word “snare” much today—probably because catching birds for food is out of vogue in most cities and suburbs. But the definition is interesting—particularly in the context of facing our fears. A snare is, “a trapping device or something that lures or entangles the unwary.”3
Most adult children of divorce are oblivious to the fears they’ve developed. Also we tend to be unaware (unwary) of how we use lying as a defense mechanism to cover our fear of rejection, abandonment, or conflict. Sharing how we really feel is deemed too dangerous–even with trusted loved ones and friends. This tendency developed in our youth and by adulthood was second nature to us. But it doesn’t have to be. More important, it can’t be.
“You reap what you sow”4 is biblical truth. So when we tell lies (even little white ones) they have a way of being discovered. And this often results in the very rejection or abandonment we feared.
So what can we do?
Taking Proverbs 29:25 “Fear of man will prove to be a snare” to heart is an important start to dealing with lying. We must admit that our fears are a snare—a trap. This can be harder than you think, because the fear/lying bond is ingrained in many of us. Think through these questions:
- Which of these fears cause you to struggle most: rejection, abandonment, or conflict?
- How do you respond when these fears occur?
You’ve probably never connected these dots, but in this two-part video presentation you can learn more about key fears and issues adults with divorced parents face and how to overcome them.
We’ll continue our look at the challenge of overcoming lying in the next blog.
1Broken Circle Project, Karen Klein, brokencircleproject.org
2Proverbs 29:25, New International Version.
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