Tell Me Everything: How You Can Heal from the Secrets You Thought You Could Never Share

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Women of Faith speaker, Marilyn Meberg, offers bold and straightforward insight and biblical teaching for the secret issues of women.

A food addiction. That mistake in college. The petty bad habit. A relative we’d rather forget . . .

Secrets come in all shapes and sizes, but we all have them. And nine times out of ten, we wish we didn’t. Wrapped in layers—often years—of fear, secrets are not so easily ...

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Tell Me Everything: How You Can Heal from the Secrets You Thought You'd Never Share

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Women of Faith speaker, Marilyn Meberg, offers bold and straightforward insight and biblical teaching for the secret issues of women.

A food addiction. That mistake in college. The petty bad habit. A relative we’d rather forget . . .

Secrets come in all shapes and sizes, but we all have them. And nine times out of ten, we wish we didn’t. Wrapped in layers—often years—of fear, secrets are not so easily discarded.

In Tell Me Everything, Marilyn Meberg offers hope for anyone struggling to find freedom in a world that loves living in the dark. With a master’s degree in counseling psychology, she understands how we tie ourselves up in knots. As a Christian and Bible teacher, she knows how we can escape the lies that keep us bound. With wit and wisdom, Marilyn offers advice, examples, and encouragement that will engage the mind and help unburden the heart.

What would it take for you to share your deepest secrets? To be completely honest?

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7

How good would it feel to just let it all out—no fear, no condemnation?

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”—Romans 8:1

Is there anyone you can trust that much?

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”—John 14:1

And what would happen if you did open up?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”—Matthew 11:28

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400202744
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/30/2010
  • Pages: 223
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Meberg is a captivating speaker, a coauthor of various Women of Faith devotionals, and the author of "I’d Rather Be Laughing and Choosing the Amusing." She lives in Frisco, TX.
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Read an Excerpt

Tell Me Everything

How you can heal from the secrets you thought you'd never share

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2010 Marilyn Meberg
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4002-0274-4

Chapter One

Sweet Baby, Are You Hiding a Secret?

* * *

Last year a woman in the Midwest was troubled by recurring bouts of illness that she couldn't quite understand. The acute attacks of nausea, pain, and lethargy seemed to come out of nowhere without any obvious cause. She hadn't been around others who were ill; she hadn't eaten anything that would have caused physical upset. Yet again and again, the horde of mystery ailments struck, knocking her out of commission for a day or two, occasionally causing her to miss work or some family activity.

She probably should have gone to the doctor, but money was tight and the symptoms passed relatively quickly. Her physician was constantly booked, so it was hard to get an appointment. By the time she could get in to see him, she would be fine again, she reasoned. It also seemed silly to tie up the doctor's time with such short-lived problems-and doubtlessly cause herself to endure far more medical tests than she wanted to even contemplate.

And there was one more thing: she was afraid of what those tests might find.

This situation continued for several months. Then came the day, one morning last fall, when the sun rose but the woman couldn't. She'd spent a long night tossing and turning in her bed, unable to find relief from the achiness that filled her body and was so hot with fever she felt completely consumed by it. A widow, she lived alone. She phoned her office to say she wasn't coming in, and the perceptive co-worker who took her call was shocked at the woman's weak voice and what sounded like a strenuous effort to produce any words at all.

"I'm calling 911," she said. And she did.

The paramedics responded and, while taking the woman's vital signs, were alarmed to see that her temperature was 104 degrees. They carefully delivered her to the hospital, where the emergency personnel performed that battery of tests she had been avoiding. It didn't take long to discover the problem.

"You have a massive infection," the doctor told her. "It seems to have started in your kidneys or bladder but now has spread throughout your body and is affecting every system."

It was a slow-growing but vicious infection, the physician said, one that had probably been growing within her for more than a year.

"Haven't you been sick?" the doctor asked her.

"Yes," she said, "sometimes I've been sick. But then the symptoms would go away. I guess I knew something was wrong, but I just didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to go through all the tests I thought would be needed to diagnose such a strange problem."

The woman's reluctance to seek help almost caused her death. As it is, she's now coping with irreversible kidney damage that could have been prevented if only she had sought help sooner.

Secrets Cause Sickness

Like that dear woman, many people today are living with an unknown and undiagnosed infection that's silently growing inside them, causing them pain and suffering. They're afraid to think about it, talk about it, or let someone help them diagnose and treat it because they're afraid of the process-and afraid of what might be revealed. As a result, their happiness, their productivity, and sometimes even their lives are threatened.

The infection that was attacking the dear woman described here was caused by physical bacteria, but other types of infection can cause equally devastating pain and torment. Some of those infections are emotional rather than physical. One of the most destructive emotional infections can be a dark, venomous secret hidden within one's heart.

Maybe it's an addiction. As I write, the news is telling (and retelling) the horrifying story of a car crash in which eight people, including several children, were tragically killed. The crash was blamed on a "normal" suburban mother, also killed in the crash, whose blood tests revealed a shocking secret: the woman was not only drunk but also high on marijuana as she drove her minivan full of kids the wrong way on a New York freeway.

Perhaps it's a behavior. In her 2009 message to Women of Faith audiences around the country, my dear friend and co-worker Sheila Walsh shared how her discovery of her husband's secret, out-of-control spending had wrecked their finances and destroyed the trust on which their marriage had been established.

It might be an incident that occurred sometime in the past that seems too horrific now to even think about, let alone share. You might not even actively remember the incident, yet it's hidden there in your heart, oozing emotional and even physical infection capable of affecting every facet of your life.

Maybe it's not even your original secret; may be your life is infected by a loved one's secret that you are desperate to keep secret too. Perhaps you're a pastor's wife, and someone in your family-perhaps even your husband-has made a mistake that would cause major upset if it were made known to the congregation. Maybe you're convinced that if the truth were known, your husband would lose his job and your family would lose its home and its only source of income.

This kind of infection sourced in dark secrets can be lethal to your happiness, a roadblock to your contentment. Its poison can burple up through the layers of your emotions, undetected, to cause you to respond in bizarre ways to ordinary events-and then it can disappear as mysteriously as it appeared. Or its fermenting poison can permeate your daily moments silently and invisibly-until eventually the venomous infestation becomes completely disabling, precipitating an emergency response and sometimes revealing irreparable damage.

In short, secrets can make you sad-and even sick.

Healing Secrets to Live Abundantly

A sad, sick life is not what God had in mind for you when He first thought up the idea of creating you. That was a long time ago, by the way, before you were capable of conscious thought. Before your parents ever met. In fact, it was before Adam and Eve ever met. It was before everything!

John 17:24 says, "You loved me even before the world began!" And Ephesians 1:4-5 elaborates on that amazing fact: "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us.... God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."

God thought you up before He flung the stars across the heavens, and that thought made Him happy. Then, several eons later, He sent His only Son to earth as a sacrifice to make sure, when you get lost, that you always have a way to get back home to claim your place in God's family.

Jesus is that way. He told His followers He had come to earth so they could have "more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10 MSG).

If God has been happily thinking about you since before the world began, and if Jesus endured hell on earth so that you could have a better life than you ever dreamed of, don't you think you ought to do your part to make that high-priced, heaven-inspired "better life" happen?

If that's not the life you're living-if your joy has been jarred out of socket by destructive secrets hiding within your soul-I hope this book will help you understand how sharing those secrets-those deeply hidden, too-awful-to-think-about secrets you thought you could never share-can help you achieve healing so you can live the better life God wants you to have. The chapters ahead have been adapted and compiled from my previous writings to provide, in one volume, a guidebook focusing on how to identify, address, and heal from the destructive potential of the dark secrets lurking in so many hearts. You'll read about some of the most common, and most devastating, secrets that get hidden away. Perhaps you'll recognize your own dark secret described in the coming stories about hurting souls who have desperately tried to deny or hide what's lurking in the dark corners of their hearts, infecting their own lives with hurt and harm in the process. If you do, I hope you'll also benefit from the suggestions I offer to help you share those secrets in a safe environment so that your healing can begin.

Now, before we continue, I must acknowledge that there are secrets that are better left untold. For instance, if a loved one has died, is there any benefit in telling his or her grieving children about mistakes made years earlier-poor choices including such things as infidelities or wild behaviors during younger years? Maybe so, but probably not.

And there are secrets that must be kept. I laughed hearing about the wise and protective parents, thinking of today's frightening "stranger-danger" culture, who taught their young children, "If anyone ever tells you something and then says, 'Don't tell Mommy,' or 'Don't tell Daddy,' you must come straight to Mommy or Daddy and tell us what that person said to you!"

The young children in this large family learned their lesson well, but it had some unintended consequences. When their older siblings planned a surprise fortieth birthday party for Mom, they shared the plans with their preschool brothers but gave them strict instructions to not tell their mother about the secret goings-on. Those orders set off warning bells and remembered teachings in the boys' little heads, and they lost no time at all in running to Mom to spill the secret.

So the surprise party wasn't actually a surprise, but it was still fun. Mom made a big show of acting surprised.

Theology and Psychology: a Perfect Fit

I have a master's degree in counseling psychology and worked for years in the mental health field. I also taught women's Bible studies for years. I believe Christianity and psychology are a perfect fit. Through my years of working with hundreds of clients, the fact was reinforced to me daily that psychology does not heal. Only God heals. But psychology gives us categories and helps us understand the origins of our psychic wounds. And when we understand the wounds' origins, we become great candidates for God's healing.

I don't mean in any way to imply that God cannot heal you unless you have personal knowledge of your problem's origin. God's sovereign design ultimately trumps everything in our lives, including our core hurts and pains. And of course He already knows everything about us, including "the secrets of every heart" (Ps. 44:21). But countless times I've seen God use someone-a pastor, an empathetic friend, or a mental health professional-to help another person who's stuck in denial, determined to repress the secrets that are wielding a powerful negative impact. His Word tells us God can "bring our darkest secrets to light and ... reveal our private motives" (1 Cor. 4:5). I believe that many times this is accomplished through the help of someone to whom the person entrusts his or her dark secrets.

The sharing of these secrets brings about healing because sometimes these hurting souls can't see the source of their own pain and problems, and they wonder why life doesn't work. Then that trusted, skillful listener comes along and helps them realize they can begin the process of clearing up an emotional infection by acknowledging its source-which is oftentimes a dark, destructive secret hidden away in their heart-and bringing it before the Healer.

One day last fall, seemingly out of the blue, Max Lucado Twittered out a Tweet that succinctly nailed another kind of emotional infection, fear. He reminded his fellow Tweeters, "It's our duty to expose our fears, each and every one." Max's words arrived during the week preceding Halloween while I was putting this book together, and it tickled me to see his characterization of fears. They are "like vampires," Max wrote. "They can't stand the sunlight."

Ditto, I might add, for secrets. Both are heinous villains that stand between us and the good, full, abundant life God wants us to have. But their power exists only when they remain hidden away in the dark corners of our hearts. They fade to nothing when dragged out, sometimes kicking and screaming, to cower before the Son. We all have secrets, and as long as they stay hidden, they have power over us.

God seems to address that subject in Deuteronomy 32:7, when He told Moses to instruct the Israelites to "dig into the past, understand your roots" (MSG). Why is digging necessary? We need to understand the root causes of our behavior. That helps us make changes in our lives and to then ask God to heal what the digging reveals.

Go Ahead. You Can Tell Me

Throughout my various careers, first as a college instructor and then as a mental health worker and now as a Women of Faith speaker, I have appreciated the wide variety of personality whose life paths have crossed mine. One of my favorite things to do is to settle into a comfortable place for tea and talk with someone interesting. I find it fascinating to hear someone's story and probe a little bit into the workings of his or her mind.

Sometimes during these chats, I suspect there's something else the other person isn't saying. Something important that's hiding behind the cheerful banter or hiding beneath the serious recounting of a personal setback.

Sometimes my "therapist radar" even detects that the other person is probably lying, and I wonder why. What's going on in this person's heart that makes telling the truth fearful? If we can get to the source of those secrets, we can diagnose the infection and bring it before the Creator. Then it is almost inevitable that healing will occur, and a life will be changed.

The only reason healing might not occur is that God, in His infinite and mysterious wisdom, may have another plan for another time when healing will occur. We don't always know why God's timing unfolds the way it does. The irony is that God has secrets! Deuteronomy 29:29 says, "The lord our God has secrets known to no one."

Sometimes He chooses to reveal them to us; other times, we are left to wonder and simply trust Him. He has said He wants us to have a life that's better than we can ever dream possible. Do you believe that? If you do, and if you are burdened by problems that are rooted in the dark secrets buried in your heart, you have the opportunity to expose those secrets to the truth of His love so that you can get on with living the life He wants you to have.

Before God called her home to heaven, my friend Barbara Johnson often said, "Secrets are to sickness as openness is to wholeness." Keep that fact in mind as you read through the chapters ahead. As you read I hope you'll imagine yourself sitting in that comfortable spot with me, sharing a cup of tea (if you prefer, I suppose you could sip coffee, although I can't imagine it having the same pleasurable effect), and opening your heart to my imaginary ear and God's powerful and loving light of truth.

Go ahead, honey. Tell me everything.

Keep Talking

1. Are you aware of a dark secret that is impacting your life? How does it manifest itself in your day-to-day activities?

2. What do you think would happen if you shared your secret with a trusted friend, pastor, or mental health professional? What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best?

3. How would your life change if the secret you are hiding could be resolved-if an addiction could be controlled or a destructive behavior could be stopped?

4. Try to imagine yourself living without this secret lurking in your heart. How would your life be different?

Chapter Two

Opening the Door on Our Secrets

* * *

Every human soul houses innumerable secrets. In A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens wrote, "A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, is that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret, that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imagining, a secret to the heart nearest it."

I love to contemplate the mystery and complexity of humankind. Like Dickens, I'm intrigued by the thought that every human soul has secrets. And I've learned, in both my personal and professional life, that each soul has its own style of safeguarding those secrets-as well as a different degree of ease about allowing those secrets to step out from behind the curtain and be shared.


Excerpted from Tell Me Everything by MARILYN MEBERG Copyright © 2010 by Marilyn Meberg. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

1 Sweet Baby, Are You Hiding a Secret? 1

2 Opening the Door on Our Secrets 17

3 My Secrets Fill Me with Shame 35

4 Secrets and Mysteries of the Mind 59

5 Secret Pleasures, Addictions, and Thoughts 77

6 Where Is God in My Dark Secrets? 93

7 Are You Guarding Your Husband's Secret? 117

8 Secrets and Sorrows That Lead to Divorce 133

9 Are You Trying to Hind Your Secrets from God? 153

10 My Secret Doubts about God 169

11 Revealing Your Secrets, Transforming Your Thinking 191

12 Bringing Secrets from Death's Darkness to the Light 205

Conclusion: It's No Secret-Christ Lives in You! 219

About the Author 223

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