SOUL CARE: Doing a TOTAL LIFE CONFESSION…
For a number of years now I have been interacting with and facilitating Rob Reimer’s material called “Soul Care” in our church. At the time of writing this I have done the course 9 times and there are still things that the Holy Spirit is unpacking in the suitcase of my soul.
In the chapter on “Repentance,” Rob encourages us to do a “Total Life Confession,” or do what I call a “TLC.” On page 98 of his book “Soul Care” one of the Spiritual Action Steps is: “Are you willing to do a total life confession with another? Will you bring all your secrets into the light so you can get free? If so, make a resolve to do so and set a time to get together with another willing fellow sojourner.”
He bases this on scriptures like…
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
I sensed very strongly (it was the Holy Spirit) that I should do this. I thought if I’m going to preach/teach this I should lean into it and live it. So I resolved to do it totally.
Over the years I have done partial confessions. One of my assignments when I was doing my Masters, in a unit called “The Ministers Personal Health and Growth” with Dr Arch Hart, we were encouraged to do a life audit looking at spiritual, mental, physical, sexual and social areas of our life. I was pretty honest in that assignment and I used it to bring some stuff into the light, but I knew I had to go further…
So the next time I bumped into John, my mentor and friend I said to him, “Mate I need to do some “TLC!”
He said, “Sure let’s do it the next time we catch up.”
Which was about a week or so away. This window was good because it was not too far away that I could “chicken out” and it gave me enough time to do some research so that I could really sit in the mess, really walk through the process. I do have to admit though it did raise the anxiety levels so just be aware of this. (It’s one of the last things the enemy wants you to do!) In the week leading up to it I had to tell the devil to go away a lot and make sure that I didn’t listen to the voices that wanted me to bail and keep my stuff hidden in the dark.
As the day was approaching I sat down and I Googled, “How to do a total life confession?”
Unfortunately I didn’t find anything, which is why I’m writing this, so I simply sat with the scripture from Psalm 139:23-24 and allowed the Spirit of God to bring to mind things in my life that needed to be brought into the light.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Interestingly as I sat there with God’s Word, a piece of paper and a pen things started to come to me from when I was under ten. I just wrote them out unfiltered. Once that was over I moved to under 18 and listed out everything that the Spirit brought to mind. Then from there I listed everything that happened when I was over 18. It was a really interesting process and it was fascinating what the Holy Spirit brought to mind. Things that were from a long time ago but things I did not struggle to remember. They were quite close to the surface.
Then “TLC” day arrived. It was an interesting day to say the least. My appointment with my mentor was at 12 noon and just after 11am my son rings to let me know that he was stuck on the side of Forrest Hwy about a 100kms south of Perth. His car had broken down. Considering that a couple of days earlier I had just changed the water pump and the timing belt, my mind raced with all of the things that I could’ve done wrong, not to mention that my 17 year old son was stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Anyway long story short, we managed to arrange a tow and my scheduled meeting with John went ahead. Part of me wanted to reschedule to another time but I was comfortable that my son was being taken care of (which he wasn’t, long story for another time). Don’t be surprised if things like this happen. The enemy wants us to keep lying in our rubbish, wanting us to keep it secret.
So I sat in front of my mentor John and I have got to admit that I was really nervous and my level of anxiety was peaking. The voices were saying things like, “what if this guy isn’t a grace filled person? What if he can’t keep a secret?” Then I heard the voice of another mentor of mine Keith Farmer say, “we are all keeping the same secrets from each other anyway!”
I was also really convicted to make sure that anything I shared wouldn’t reflect badly on people that I may have sinned against or even those who had led me into the sin. I had to OWN MY SIN; 100% of it.
Then Romans 3 came to mind, “no one is righteous, not one,” and this gave me the confidence to work my way through the pages of stuff; under 10, under 18 and then everything over the age of 18. I stepped into those dark places and I took responsibility by confessing them and bringing them into the light.
I managed to get through it all and I also managed to put it all out there unfiltered. It was scary and I also felt a deep sense of shame. I apologised to John for having to sit there and listen to all of “that!” He looked at me, encouraged me with truth and then prayed grace over me. It was awesome to have finally done it.
Did I feel free? Yes I did! During worship this year I have been so moved with lyrics that focus on what Christ has done, paying the penalty of our/my sin, when he was crucified on that cross and lyrics that communicate to us again and again that he rose from the grave smashing sin and death so that we no longer have to live under that curse. He has set us free, no longer captive to sin, my chains are gone. “Thank you so much Jesus!”
I also felt healed. In James 5 it speaks of confession, prayer, forgiveness and healing. Interesting!
However on the other hand I also knew that this will be an ongoing journey, as I travel with Him on the road called “the way everlasting.”
I hope that this has been helpful and I hope it gives you the confidence to find that person who is full of truth and grace. Rob says that not everyone is worthy of this sacred trust. The person must be someone who loves you and would never use the information against you. So choose wisely. Once you have that person in place go after it. No more secrets bring your “stuff” into the light, confess to God and to trustworthy others.
I pray that you will take this next significant faith step, God bless you!
If you would like to engage more with the Soul Care material or find out when we will be running our next Soul Care course please feel free to contact us firstname.lastname@example.org