Why I’m Confessing

by | Nov 26, 2013 | Uncategorized


I see it in their eyes, when they ask me to step out on the fringes and move to the corner of the room to talk, across the table over plates of salad,  with hands hanging on to the handles of grocery carts in an empty aisle, when they admit what they are enduring and I’m not fazed by it. I witness the healing power of empathy as the outcome of their courageous confession. Life isn’t always as pretty as it looks on the outside, you know that don’t you?

We’re all just waiting for permission to be honest.


She sits at the corner of the table, legs in faded skinny jeans extended in the aisle instead of underneath the table; a bang valance hangs over the windows of her soul, black eyeliner smudged underneath. A maroon streak at the crown of her head fades into shades of pink lying on her shoulders.

Small, slender fingers hold the bubbled crust on a slice of pepperoni, she stops chewing as she listens to a piece of my story mirroring her young life. And the upturned corners of her mouth move quickly to a wrinkled pout.

A few moments later she reveals a circumstance she struggles to work out. And so begins our relationship.


I can’t do small talk; I’ve never been good at it. I fall asleep during movies that are void of relationship. Maybe it’s because I’m an ENFP (if you understand Myers-Briggs speak). I’ve learned to accept that part of the way God has created me to reveal Himself, is diving into the deep end of truth after a few laps warming up in the shallow end. If you’re too afraid to go there with me, I might have to leave you floating on the surface by yourself.

There’s false thinking I’ve seen cultivated among Christian circles regarding being transparent about “bad” emotions – anger, sadness, fear, guilt, grief, and jealousy – that admission somehow reveals a dark hole in your faith. Why is it easier to live in the swell of contradiction than the light of truth?

Confession releases us from being suffocated by circumstances and consequences, and sets us free to become fully human.


Last week, I told H for the hundredth time that I’m tired of crying.

I’ve cried almost every day for longer than I can remember. I cry when I circle the same patch of self-doubt I thought I conquered. I cry about loneliness and the silence of His voice as I plead for answers. I cry over the mistakes I make daily in parenting my children, for the absence of parenting in my own life and how it affects my relationships. I cry when I watch You Tube videos and movies about redemption from brokenness. I cried most of the morning when I got this in my inbox last week

I’m tired of looking at my red, blotchy face and reapplying mascara but instead of hiding my tears, I’m embracing them. Because my tears aren’t about feeling sorry for myself, they are an indicator of understanding the compassion of Jesus. I’m growing into someone who sees people for who they are on the inside first, weeping thankful over the kindness of His redemption.

Jesus didn’t come for your perfect status updates. He came for your loss, disappointment, and heartbreak. In conquering adversity we become people of hopefulness. Did you know that hope is learned, it isn’t something you are born with? Confessing a struggle you’re keeping to yourself opens the door to freedom from entanglement  . . . .  for both of us.

Last week, I did that. I admitted on Facebook that I had a hard week and dared people to join me in sharing something they are thankful for that isn’t bright and shiny. It felt like I opened the altars of a dusty, abandoned church. My mouth is still drawn open by the beauty of it.

As we walk into a week themed with thankfulness, I give you permission to be honest. Tell me something you are thankful for that isn’t perfectly pretty and let’s watch God redeem it, shall we?



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  1. tammy@if meadows speak

    Oh Shelly! Me too on this self-doubting-weepy-self. Before Laity Lodge’s Retreat for High Calling, my sister and I talked about needing a place where you can fall apart. I’m so thankful for your words.

    • Shelly Miller

      We all need that safe place don’t we? Glad you had such a wonderful time at Laity, those are my people.

  2. Beth

    Oh Shelly, something recently is drawing me to your place here. I think it is how you are so real with us. It’s refreshing. I’m discovering, I’m actually thankful for this deployment because God is already revealing himself to me in new ways. Most of all, He is revealing how desperately I need Him. Grateful you!!!

    • Shelly Miller

      What great perspective Beth, I think that is God’s gift to you, to see the separation with eyes that see gratefulness in the midst of it. Glad you are drawn here, you are good company.

  3. Christie Purifoy

    Thank you, Shelly. Yours is a broken-open life. And that is beautiful.

    • Shelly Miller

      Sometimes I wish it wasn’t like that, but my prayer is that it is beautiful and not weighty. Thank you Christie, I appreciate you.

  4. Glenda Childers

    I agree, Shelly. I grew up in a home that was great on positive emotions (I love you, you did a great job etc.) but ignored the harder emotions like fear, sadness and anger. It has taken me a lot of hard work as an adult to become comfortable with those emotions. (but so worth the work.)

    I do hope you get some days without tears, even though I appreciate your sweet heart.


    • Shelly Miller

      I didn’t cry today Glenda, maybe because I was writing about it. I am seriously sick of crying, truly.

  5. pastordt

    Beautiful, Shelly. And so deeply true. And you know those tears of yours? I believe they are as much a gift of the Spirit as prophecy/tongues/healing. Yeah. I do.

    • Shelly Miller

      Wow Diana, thank you for saying that. You know, its begun to feel that way now that you say that. I started despising the way I have started crying so easily and then I felt God’s presence in it and just let go of trying to stuff my emotions.

  6. DeanneMoore

    Well I haven’t cried this week and I needed to and have needed to for weeks. Brene Brown was right about numbing. When we numb the pain, we can’t feel the other emotions like joy. I agree with her and I had told myself I would never harden my heart so as not to feel pain…if you have a minute pray I can work in a good cry…I really need one. From your fellow EFNP… whose feeler is needing her button pushed so I can be human again. Prayers appreciated and prayers offered on your behalf. Love you Shelly and thankful for your friendship.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh yes, you know I will be praying for that. Sometimes when I can’t cry I realize its the way I protect myself from being hurt. Like if I allow myself to be that vulnerable I might evaporate (even though I know that won’t happen.) Love you Dea, was thinking about you today so I’m glad to get the update.

  7. Kris Camealy

    Your heart for Christ, and His people is beautiful. This writing, this confession is beautiful.

    • Shelly Miller

      I appreciate you saying that but honestly, and I’m not trying to sound like I have it all together, but God has to be responsible for that. Because sometimes loving people hurts and feels quite weighty. And there are times when I really don’t want to love some people you know?

      • Kris Camealy

        And He is, responsible for it, I mean. Loving people does hurt. It’s hard and costly and sometimes it would be so much easier to close our eyes and walk away. But He gives us the strength, it is His power in us that helps us to keep going–to keep enduring the hard things, all because of Him–and for Him.

        • Shelly Miller

          Thanks for that reminder Kris, I needed that.

  8. cheryl

    I am moving this week. I stood in front of the new house and held back the tears today. Its not where I want to live but I am thankful to not be homeless.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh Cheryl, that touches me. You probably need to cry in a quiet place of trust when you are ready. Much love to you.

  9. Elizabeth Stewart

    I’m a crier myself…praying with a visitor at church Sunday morning I could sense her hurting heart and tears instantly came. Tender hearted isn’t always the easiest thing to be when you’re in the ministry because people can be cruel, yet I’m thanking God for the way He made me.

    • Shelly Miller

      I haven’t always been a crier Elizabeth, this is actually new for me so I’m listening to my tears lately. I”m paying attention to what they are saying and the message is quite full of perspective. But yes, when you are a sensitive person who feels things deeply ministry can be a rough vocation. I know that, I do.

  10. ro elliott

    I think we could have good conversations …I can only walk in the shallows for so long….but I have also had to learn not to drown people

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, I think we we be good company for each other Ro, I just have that feeling.

  11. Lynn Morrissey

    Shelly, that’s why I love you . . . because you go deep, and because you *are* deep. Like you, I simply never stay on the surface for long. Transparency is freeing, and sometimes difficult, but always needed. And often, it takes just one person to open up, and then others feel as if they can do the same. I’m glad you are the kind of person who shares and listens and sees beneath the surface to the souls that hurt. I hurt for my brother, who has lost his wife, his home, his work, his health. I hurt for my 83 y/o mother who is trying the best she can to care for him. I hurt because I do not know how to help him. Thanks for a place to be able to express grief.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m glad you are deep too Lynn, I love the way God made you. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. Love you!

      • Lynn Morrissey

        Oh and you, too, dear one. A very blessed Thanksgiving!!!

  12. SimplyDarlene

    being invisible

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh Darlene, I held my breath for a minute when I saw this. So you are saying you are thankful that you feel invisible? I’m not sure how to take it but know that even if you may *feel* invisible, you are not.

  13. Celeste

    Hope is learned. I like that.
    You are not the only one with red eyes. I cry over the same things you expressed. My thing is that I won’t show tears in public. I suppose I could say that I learned this was a sign of weakness, so it seemed.
    I was just telling someone last evening about ÿour blog and how much I appreciate you.
    Confession is good for all souls.

    • Shelly Miller

      I am thankful for you too Celeste, I feel a deep affection for you as you share yourself here on the blog. I’m so grateful that God allowed our paths to cross and perhaps he will allow a real-life meeting one day. I hope so. I want to hug that boy of yours.

  14. Lisa

    A truth, a bold Christian truth beautifully told.

  15. soulstops

    I love you don’t do small talk and your honesty 🙂 Thank you. Prayed for Margaret and all the people I know battling cancer.

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