From Double Life to Single-Minded
Aly is a 16-year-old girl in my church's youth ministry. As a leader in Aly's youth group, her choices frustrated me—so much so that I wrote a post about the pitfalls of living a double life. At that time, many wrote to us to confess that they're also living double lives. They shared that you don't know how to escape their patterns of sin, they're too scared to tell anyone what's really going on, and they're worried that they won't find a way out.
If that describes you, you'll love hearing the rest of Aly's story. Let me fill in some of the gaps. Aly was raised in a happy Christian home. Her mom is on staff at our church, so she's there whenever the doors are open. She accepted Christ as her Savior when she was seven.
Like many of you she's a Christian girl living in a Christian home. She knows the truth, and yet she found herself caught up in a lifestyle of secret sins including lying, sexting, substance abuse and sexual sin. Because of God's grace, she's not in that pit anymore. Check out her radical story of redemption.
Erin: Recently you found yourself living a double life. Looking back how did that start?
Aly: I think it started back before my double life did. I'd slacked off on my Bible reading and neglected my relationship with God, which opened the door for my relationship with a non-Christian, and it all went downhill from there.
Erin: What kinds of things did you tell yourself when you were choosing to sin?
Aly: I told myself all kinds of things. It started with I'm too busy to read my Bible right now. Then as things got more out of control it turned into No one can know what I'm doing. My friends will hate me, my parents will kill me, and I wouldn't be surprised if God didn't forgive me. I didn't think anyone could help me because of how far in I was. I was truly a slave to my sin because I thought I could take care of everything myself.
Erin: How did your secrets get exposed?
Aly: My parents decided to check my phone bill. They saw that I was texting late at night with a lot of picture messages. They also told me they smelled drugs on my clothes after I'd been at my friend's house.
Erin: What did you feel once you knew you had been caught?
Aly: At first I was absolutely terrified because I was thinking of how things were going to be different and what the consequences of my actions were gonna be. But then I was so relieved. I knew that with my parents I was finally going to get the help and support I needed that I couldn't get myself, even though I tried for months.
Erin: Can you describe the process of restoration? How did God change your heart and life?
Aly: Wow! I never imagined such love existed, from my family or God. It was really hard to break my habits, because they were all addicting, and it hurt sometimes when I realized how messed up I let myself get. But I knew that the only way to break free would be to let God do it through me. I proved I couldn't save myself; I had to let Him do it.
Erin: What are the biggest lessons God taught you through this?
Aly: I learned that the only way to live is to trust God. If I let Him make the decisions and do His will, then my life will be much more amazing then I could ever dream. He'll never let me go, even when I'm drowning myself in sin. He reaches in and saves me because He loves me.
Erin: Do you ever think about going back to your secret life?
Aly: Going back to it? No. I don't consider going back. I've had moments when I think back to where I was, and that makes me never want to be in that place again. It was the darkest time in my life
Erin: What do you do when temptations come?
Aly: Some days are harder than others, and when those days come I pull out my Bible and I pray a lot. The verses that help me a lot are "Heal me O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jer. 17:14) and 1 Corinthians 10:13. I've learned the meaning of crying out to God, and that's what I do if I feel like giving in would be easier. God reminds me that it won't and that's not what He wants for my life.
Erin: How has this situation changed your faith?
Aly: This has strengthened my faith in ways I couldn't imagine. I realize how much God truly loves me and cares for me and that He really has a plan for my life. If I don't spend time with God, then my days are off. He really comforts me and gives me a peace and joy I didn't know I could ever have and I wouldn't be able to get on my own.
Erin: What would you say to the girls reading this right now who are caught up in a double life?
Aly: Tell someone. There really is freedom in confessing your sins to believers, and you'd be surprised how loving and accepting people are when they realize how deeply you're hurting and how lost you are. If you continue in your sin, the pleasure you feel will get less and less, and you'll need more and more, and you'll only get more and more lost. I could have very easily destroyed my life through drugs, alcohol, and lost innocence. But God loves me enough that He stepped in and saved me. He wants to save you, too, and He wants you to come back to Him. It's hard work, but the rewards are more glorious then anything this world has to offer.
If you're living a double life or even struggling with a specific sin, let Aly's story remind you that Jesus is in the business of redemption. No secret is too big for Him. No sin is beyond forgiveness.
Take the first step and tell someone who can point you to God's truth. Then let God do the work of restoration that you cannot do for yourself.
Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise (Jer. 17:14).
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