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Say It Loud

We who lead others spiritually are not always so good at sharing our feelings, sometimes just talking about stuff. Yet studies, history, the bible, and even our own experience tells us it is good for us.

Opening Up Is Good For Your Health

About 20 years ago, James Pennebaker, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, began a series of studies that scientifically examined the effects of disclosing personal thoughts and feelings.

Participants were randomly assigned to either: (a) talk or write about a difficult, traumatic, or upsetting event or (b) write or talk about a trivial topic. While the disclosure process produced immediate feelings of distress, participants who engaged in this process experienced a number of benefits over time, including improved mood, reduced symptoms of psychological distress, fewer illnesses, and even improved immune functioning.

Furthermore, Pennebaker and others found that the health effect is greater when people are less inhibited, disclose more deeply, and when their disclosure helps them form new meaning or insight on their experience. In short, the study underscores the important and powerful effects of confession.[1]

Psalm 32 says:

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you

and stopped trying to hide my guilt.

I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the Lord."

And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

The Making of An Ordinary Saint

Con­fes­sion is the spir­i­tu­al dis­ci­pline that allows us to enter into the grace and mer­cy of God in such a way that we expe­ri­ence for­give­ness and heal­ing for the sins and sor­rows of the past.

Both for­give­ness and heal­ing are involved in con­fes­sion. For­give­ness posi­tions us in a right rela­tion­ship toward God

Heal­ing frees us from the dom­i­na­tion of our present by our past.[2]

I love this quote:

"Concealment makes the soul a swamp. Confession is how you drain it." – Charles M. Blow[3]

For 29 years, I have had people ask to speak to me because of problems, worries – challenges that seem bigger than them. I have learned to sit, listen, listen, and listen some more. And at the end, I may even have a few insights to offer

  • Often the problem is resolved just by saying it out loud

  • Many times, a solution becomes evident in saying it out loud

  • Once it is said out loud, a problem presents for what it is.

Talking Through Problems

If we don't talk about our problems, we may find our pent-up tensions or feelings burst out in embarrassing or inappropriate ways. You might also find that things may worsen if you don't try to get on top of them straight away.

Talking to someone you trust about something upsetting may help you to:

  • sort through the problem

  • see the situation more clearly

  • look at the problem in a new or different way

  • release built-up tension – this can help you to gain further insight into the position that is causing the problem

  • find out that you are not alone – you may find that many other people share your feeling

  • identify options or solutions you hadn't thought of before.[4]

The stuff in our gut or our heart or our head is hindering us. Say it out loud. To be measured for what it is.

[1] Murray-Swank, Aaron. The Healing Practice of Confession retrieved from [2] Foster, Nathan. (2014) The Making Of An Ordinary Saint: My Journey From Frustration To Joy With The Spiritual Discipline - Understanding Confession. Retrieved from [3] Retrieved from [4] Retrieved from

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