The importance of confession and fellowship
Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne's Pretzels, opened up Torrey Conference 2014 with a session about the importance of confession and forgiveness in the midst of overcoming pain and shame. | Anna Warner/THE CHIMES
Anne Beiler started off the Wednesday morning session of the 2014 Torrey Memorial Conference by making a crowded gym full of students laugh. However, they would later find that a life full of struggle preceded the happiness Auntie Anne shares today.
“Life is hard, God is good—don’t confuse the two,” said Beiler.
Beiler shared her testimony , explaining how the hardship she faced prompted feelings of depression and anxiety, and how God had brought her out of it. Using her own experience, Beiler urged students to realize how secrets can overtake a person, stealing any hope from them. She emphasized the need to share these dark secrets not only with God, but with others around us that we trust.
One thing that particularly affected me was when she described how pretending in life is dangerous — pretending that all is okay, that we have perfect lives. Perhaps the reason it impacted me so greatly was because I was that person last year — I hid behind a mask, and fooled even my closest friends into thinking that my life was peachy-keen. In reality, I was so lost in my own darkness.
What Beiler said reminded me that even the people that are constantly helping others are sometimes facing things that they cannot overcome. Even the people who seem the happiest are sometimes the people who need the most love.
Beiler went on to describe why confession is so important-- confession allows us to begin the process of healing through the love of God.
In my own life, I remember when I first told one of my closest friends about what was going on in my life. I can attest to the power of confessing our struggles to others. It was not until I told someone about the pain I buried that I was able to begin healing. I am an independent person, and God used this friend to open my eyes and see that I was turning away from him and trying to do everything on my own.
Another thing that Beiler talked about was how God is our foundation. Sometimes the simplest things are the things we Christians overlook. When we are experiencing pain, God is there to help us back on our feet. Now I realize, this is easier said than done. But we must remember this: God uses all things for the good of those who love him.
God has a purpose for the difficult things you face right now. Because of what I personally experienced last year, I was able to help someone else with a similar experience and in addition, became stronger in my faith. It is difficult to see the good in our lives when it is clouded over by darkness, but God will always be there no matter how far we run away.
Something God kept pressing on my heart as I was listening to Beiler speak was that the church is a body, a community. We should not only be there to celebrate the ways God is using our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for his purpose, but also support and counsel them through the trials and hardship they face. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ”
Another great verse that mentions the significance of fellowship is Hebrews 10:24-25.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
From what I’ve experienced, fellowship plays an important part in the Christian walk — do not forget that. Through fellowship, we strengthen not only our faith, but the faith of others as well.