Tag Archives: Frank Warren

My Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
Proverbs 10:9 (NIV)

For many years I have had a fascination with the largest, non-commercial blog in the world. It went viral so long ago that there may be many today who have never heard of PostSecret. Frank Warren had a simple idea for a local art contest. He distributed a bunch of blank, self-addressed postcards in random public places where they would be found. He asked people who found them to anonymously share a secret. A half-million postcards later, they continue to arrive in his mailbox daily. Each Sunday he posts a handful of new secrets he’s received to his ad-free blog.

Last summer I gave a message among my local gathering of Jesus’ followers called It’s a Secret about the different types of secrets we human beings tend to keep and the unhealthy ways they affect our lives (You can download and listen here). I shared some of my own history of keeping secrets along my life journey and the lessons that l learned from them.

One of the things Frank Warren says from his years as the caretaker of hundreds of thousands of secrets is that sometimes we think we are holding on to a secret when, actually, the secret is holding on to us.

In today’s chapter of wise King Solomon’s ancient proverbs, Sol says that those who walk with integrity walk securely. When I read that I thought: those who give up their secrets don’t live in constant fear of being found out. I thought about my years of desperately keeping secrets. They were periods of anxiety, cyclical shame, and the fear of getting caught. To Frank’s point, my secrets were holding on to me, impeding my journey, and making me feel that there was a ticking time-bomb of revelation waiting to go off at any moment. My secrets kept me up at night. They were part of the reason I didn’t sleep well.

Along my journey, I went through a period of confession in which I owned up to my secrets and went on a sojourn to discover my authentic self. I sought out the person I really am without secrets and I embraced all of my glaring imperfections and indulgent appetites. In the process, I learned that darkness makes it hard to see things for what they really are. Secrets, sins, mistakes, and imperfections are far scarier and seem infinitely more powerful under the cloak of darkness. When brought into the light, they lose their grip.

This morning Wendy asked me one of our daily repeated, routine questions: “How did you sleep last night?”

I slept well, thanks.

I hope you are sleeping securely, as well.

<— Click on Solomon for an indexed list of previous chapter-a-day posts from this series from Proverbs!

About This Post

These chapter-a-day posts began in 2006. It’s a very simple concept. I endeavor each weekday to read one chapter from the Bible. I then blog about my thoughts, insights, and feelings about the content of that chapter. Everyone is welcome to share this post, like this post, or add your own thoughts in a comment. Thank you to those who have become faithful, regular or occasional readers along the journey along with your encouragement.

In 2019 I began creating posts for each book, with an indexed list of all the chapters for that book. You can find the indexed list by clicking on this link.

Prior to that, I kept a cataloged index of all posts on one page. You can access that page by clicking on this link.

You can also access my audio and video messages, as well.

tomvanderwell@gmail.com @tomvanderwell

Chapter-a-Day Hebrews 4

Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955...
Image via Wikipedia

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)

Scene 8

GLADYS and DEAN exit. ARL steps up and sits next to THOMAS on the porch steps, he notices the cigarette in THOMAS’ hand.

ARL: You a smoker, Tommy?

THOMAS: No. Not any more.

ARL: I suppose you know your dad used to like a cigarette now and then. Kids always know their parents secrets.

THOMAS: Yes. He used to keep his stash of cigarettes in the shed. He used to always head out to “work in the shed” after dinner. Mom never said a word.

ARL: Oh, I think your mom gave him an earful from time to time, but she’d stay quiet in front of you. She wouldn’t want to admit it in case you didn’t know. But of course, you did know because kids always know the secrets of their parents.

THOMAS: Like the fact that you and dad and Mr. De Haas would meet in the shed to have a little nip at the bottle of Old Crow in the bottom drawer of dad’s tool cabinet?

ARL: (mocking incredulity) I don’t know what you’re talking about.

THOMAS: (laughs) I’m sure you don’t…

Secrets are powerful. Tucked away in dark places, secrets both great and small wield tremendous power over us and in us. And, as with most things you find in dark places, the results are generally not positive.

Secrets are powerful. We all keep them. It’s part of the human condition. We’ve been hiding things since Adam and Eve figured out how useful fig leaves can be. And so we make sure certain things are hidden away from public sight where we think no one sees.

The way things work out, however, is that things hidden in dark places eventually find their way to the light. As Arl muses in the above scene from Ham Buns and Potato Salad: Children discover the secrets of their parents. Parents discover the secrets of their children. Jesus himself said, “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” That is, because everything is exposed to God. The deepest secrets of our lives, hearts, minds and souls are already fully laid bare before our Creator.

Exposure is not a bad thing. Why do you think Frank Warren’s site Post Secret has been continually flooded with postcards for years and years? Exposure can be painful, perhaps. Embarrassing, usually – at least for a time. But dark things exposed to the Light tend to lose their power over us. That’s why God commands us to confess our secrets to one another and to expose dark things to light. In doing so, we are stepping out of darkness and into Light. We are pressing forward in our journey rather than getting mired and stuck in murky places.

So, what’s my secret?