I started realizing the trend recently. My little toddler would disappear, or be eerily quiet and I would have to go searching for her in the bundus (we say that to mean unknown places here in Kenya – didn’t know until today that it’s actually a South African name). So one day, she’s in the house and I find her smiling ear to ear holding a tomato sauce bottle – if you can’t guess what she was doing – she had just had a filling of a good red thick drink. All I knew earlier was that she was eating her meal. I was shocked to say the least but all I could do was smile at her discovery. Apparently tomato sauce was now a cool drink. Her reaction was what surprised me most. She hid the bottle from me when I asked what she was up to. Presumably, she knew her actions were wrong – she was fearful of being exposed and shame was what she felt and voiced inwardly.
I have been through the cycle myself countless times in my lifetime. Let’s call it the triplet syndrome. Shame-Fear-Exposure. This syndrome has upcoming kings and queens hiding in the bundus (middle of nowhere) doing who knows what. Let’s break it down further.
There is a story in Luke 15 told of a man with two sons – an older one and a younger one. The younger one asked his father to give him his share of his inheritance and the man obliged. The son goes away to a far off country (bundus) and squanders his inheritance and now is a beggar. He fell quickly from grace and finds himself reduced to eating with pigs. At this point, having lost all dignity, comes back to his senses. He goes back to his father as a servant not worthy as his son because he failed him. He wants only to be a hired servant. We call him the prodigal.
The prodigal son represents those hiding from their life’s calling. Shamed because of failures, circumstances and choices. Utterly unable in their own strength to arise from the mud they fell into in the past, hence falling short of what their full potential could be. Hiding in a far off country only shows someone who has resigned to being lost. Somehow this person has a clue where home is but like the prodigal, they keep searching in the wrong places.
Fear is one consequence of the shame. Top among them is fear of being rejected by the ones in whom they have put their trust. Fear of failure, defeat, death, living, the unknown. Fear of heights, of falling, of trying, of failing, of standing up for what’s right, true and just; instead choosing to cow down to pressure. These fears have stopped majority of prodigals from doing anything worthy of rapport. They reduce themselves to couch potatoes wondering how others manage to conquer their fears and succeed.
Exposure solves the problem of shame and fear. Exposure after all is the antidote to the triplets syndrome. The prodigal son admitted his guilt and despite the fears that assailed him determined to return to his father as a servant. His garments were filthy, he was poor and worthy to only be a servant. He approached his father in humility seeking forgiveness. He got so much more than he bargained for. He was restored to life. He was restored as a son. No longer did the wastage in his past matter. Who he slept with was not a secret anymore – it was out in the open.
This is what exposure means: No More Secrets. Spill the beans. The longer you choose to keep the secrets, the longer they have a hold on you!
We learn this from Adam and Eve. As soon as they hid, God seeks them out. Genesis 3:9-10 But the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You [walking] in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
I speak all this from experience. I know all too well how secrets can weigh you down. We need to take responsibility of the consequences of our past while choosing to walk free from the chains that hold us captives to the past. It finally hit me one day, ‘I could never change my past, all I could do was wear a badge reading – “This may have been my past, but watch out for my bright future” – and walk in my new found honor. No matter how far I had walked away from God, He ran towards me, embraced and kissed me, said these reassuring words over me, “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased.”
Don’t hide anymore, without Him you can do nothing. Let go of fear and shame. Expose it. Come out of the bundus and let the Father embrace you and acknowledge you as the king and queen he says you are – a Royal Priesthood. Arise in His strength. With Him all things are possible.