Discretion. It’s not exactly a quality I’m known for possessing.
Transparency, yes. Vulnerability, definitely. But discretion, not really.
Lest you think this is going to turn into a “woe is me” kind of piece, though, never fear. That’s not the direction I’m going.
There’s a wonderful word in Spanish, desahogarse, which basically means to let out all that’s troubling you, to get it off your chest. For the sake of sanity, it’s something we all need to do. There’s something infinitely valuable about having a few trusted friends in whom we can confide those things that are causing us turmoil. However, some of us overdo it and blurt out way too much to too many people—and of course, all too often there are undesired consequences.
What God has been impressing on my heart, though, focuses less on my need to conquer this tendency toward indiscretion than my need to replace it with something of much more worth: pouring out my heart to Him.
I’ve been around long enough to take note of a distinct pattern in my life, which is that my times of greatest intimacy with God, and my greatest peace, have been those times in which He has been my Number One Confidant, times when I’ve poured out my heart to Him before–or even instead of—unburdening myself to others.
It makes sense if you think about it. When I share my heart with someone who truly listens, I feel valued and understood. When I pour out my heart to God, the same thing happens, but in a more all-encompassing way. I’m reminded that the God of the universe is intimately interested in me, that He cares about all that concerns me, that His love for me is deeper and wider and stronger than any other love, and that He’s holding me tight and won’t let me go.
If I’m experiencing this kind of profound affection and acceptance from Him, I’ll be much less apt to let indiscretion take over my conversations with others.
This is not to say that I don’t need to be real with those around me. God made us for relationships and authenticity. It’s just that I’m seeing the wisdom of going to Him first with my frustrations, fears, and inadequacies, my concerns about loved ones, my anger with situations or people, or even, simply, my own sometimes-crazy thoughts.
And when I come before God in honesty, pouring out the hurt and pain and loneliness and fear and frustration, the channels are opened for me to receive His healing. I love how Ruth Myers puts it in 31 Days of Praise: “When my heart is overwhelmed, I’m more aware of my need to cry to You…to take refuge in You…to rely on You…Thank You for the ways that my shortcomings and failures bring pressure on me to open myself to You more fully, and the way they let You show me deep and hidden needs: griefs and hurts that I’ve never poured out before You, that I’ve never exposed to your healing touch, and sins that I’ve never faced and acknowledged.”
“…pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” –Psalm 62:8
If He tells us to do this, it’s totally a worthwhile thing.
And just maybe, as I turn first to Him, discretion will gradually become part of my make-up.