Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Truth Hurts

Yesterday was the day for our blog bible study with the say Yes to God study on Lisa Whittles book Behind Those Eyes. (see sidebar for more info). Chapter 1 is you guessed it The Truth Hurts. Lisa shares about being honest and authentic, in our lives. Authentic in our relationships with people and with God. So all day I thought about what was authentic, and what it looked like in my life. This morning as I prayed some more about it the Holy Spirit led me to the painful truth, authentic is not who I am most of the time.

Lisa's question in the book was what does authentic mean to me. For me it means showing your true self with all your vulnrabilities and sharing your trials, letting people see past your exterior "I'm fine, how are you" self and be willing to show people your imperfections. That doesn't mean you have to go around telling everyone you meet all your problems, but to build meaningful, trustfull, and lasting relationships you have to be authentic. I can honestly say I have few people I've been able to do with this. One is my husband. That is important to me, it's actually something we didn't always have.

The Great Charade is Part One with the first 5 Chapters. In the first chapter Lisa (her words in purple) talks about how we pretend to be people we are not. These are some quotes from her book "We cover our weaknesses and heartaches with immaculately groomed clothes and manufactured conversations. (this is one of my specialties) We impersonate the females we want to be --carefree, fun loving, deeply spiritual, genuinely caring, supportive, capable, strong, assertive, put together, and ridiculously happy--rather than the women we really are. (Done all that)

Infact, what is really going on inside our souls is so cavernous that we fear anyone who enters its depths would never again see the light of day. (If you really knew me you I'm afraid you wouldn't want to be my friend) So we put up the barricades, allowing very few to penetrate the walls we've erected around us as a means of self-protection.

Why do we do it? We lack honesty and authenticity, and our past experiences lead us to believe it is in our best interests to keep our true feelings hidden.
(This is me if you don't get close to me I can control the amount of hurt you can do)

This rang volumes to me. I've read this part over and over and said that's me, and it hurt. I spent the morning crying and asking God to clean out my heart and teach me to be authentic to let people know me. Let me know them. I kept hearing the Challenge voice over and over "What your after is the truth from inside out." Psalm 51:6 Msg.

Truthfully this is something God's been bringing to light in my heart for the last 2 years. If you had asked me 2 years ago if I had a lot of friends who I could talk to I would have said sure. But then one day in one of the most painful trials the truth started to come out. Brett had gone into a day treatment program for his drug addiction and was to be there 7 days a week for 3 1/2 weeks. I had called my sister and talked with her, but this was something she'd never delt with, but she gave us support and love and offered to have Brinn for the weekend so we could talk through things when Brett was home.

The hidden drug addiction had been revealed in a very public way, that set a ripple through our work place. I knew people would be watching, and I was feeling very stupid and humiliatied. Then Satuday we went to the family day, where you learn about what the family can do, and all that good codependency stuff. We had an excersize that day that was about communication, it was actually a turning point for us, we were both authentic that day in a room full of other strangers, but they understood, and were all there for very similar reasons. God revealed to me the night before that I needed to confront Brett about pornography and lust. I didn't want to, but during the class I told him I needed him to be honest about everything he'd been doing. Later after the class he told me he'd been going on websites for as long as we'd been married, and was into other porn before we meet. It was one of the most painful and honest conversations we'd ever had. It opened up painful doors in my past, and I realized God was going to do some pruning.

Sunday came, I leave for church the same church I've been going to for 6 years, and it hits me. Who am I going to sit with? Would they ask me where Brett was, only 3 people knew what had happened over the week and none of them would be there. I didn't have Brinn so I didn't have the ability to distract myself with her. So I went down to the kids area to see if a friend that I use to spend time with was there. She was I started talking and it just started comming out, she was loving, and she did sit with me, but she had a very busy family life and that was about the extent of what she was able to give. The next couple weeks as Brett spent 8 hours a day in treatment, I tried to live life as normal as possible. Then the realization came to Brett that I was slowly slipping inside myself. I'll never forget him saying why don't you call someone, I looked him straight in the eye and said I don't have any friends, and broke down and cried.

God did provide for me a safe place, and some extrodinary women who helped me to open up at least that section of my life. But it wasn't until about the end of last year that God slowly speaking the truth to me, I didn't have the friendships I desired because I hadn't let anyone past my very strong barricade. Yes I'm a great pretender.

Lisa asked what is our greatest soul craving. I long for close female friendship, I've had it in the past, and I miss it deeply. It's something I think most women want, but are afraid to go get. It's so much harder to grow and nurture friendships when your married, working, busy mom, and add all other kind of things we do to fill our time. God created women to be caring and nuturing not just to our husbands and children but to each other. So now I'm praying for God to give me courage to reach out and be a friend, to break down my walls, and grow the friendships in my life.

Yes the truth hurt, it hurt to know that I had no deep friendships, because I hadn't offered any. It hurt to find out about my husbands addictions, yet through that God healed, changed, and grew my marriage. Is it perfect nooooo, but it's better and deeper.

So as we go along in this study, I'm praying that God will remove my masks, and show me how to love me for me, and let people see more of the real me.


Paula said...

Hi Carol, a very heartfelt post, thank you! This study is going to change alot of lives and it's an exciting yet scary proposition! I've sent you a message on Facebook expanding on thoughts, etc. Keep smiling! Love In Him, Paula :-)

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Thanks, Carol, first for you very sweet comment on my blog.

I look at your pic and think, I believe we could be good friends. However, we are thousands of miles apart.

I can so relate to everything you said here about friendships. When your husband said "why don't you call someone" and it hit you that you don't have anyone, oh my. My heart broke for you yet my heart knew EXACTLY what you meant. SLowly I'm regaining new friends from the ones who dumped me during my trial. I have several in my small study group but yet to find one that I can click deeply with. For me, it's not been about me being guarded and not sharing---oh how I've openly shared--it's just that I've not had that click...that comfortable click, that I feel so in tune with you click. Most of the women in my small group are married or have kids or a man, they don't desire a friendship that deep. I can understand that. When I was married, I wanted really nothing but to be with my husband. He was/is my best friend. We had everything in common so we could shop together, see movies, etc. We meshed perfectly.

Most of my closest friends I consider now to be online bloggy friends. THere is one gal in town with whom I've tried to strike up a friendship but there again she's busy with her kids, her extremely busy job, and whatever current friends. She is always coordial and pleasant to be around but never takes the initiative to contact me to get together. It's kind of hurt my heart and I dont' know what to do with that. I don't want to continue to throw myself at her and the friendship (like we did in high school with boys). Yet, if we could get over this hump of busyness maybe that bond would form and her desire to initiate things would increase.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing this very difficult story. I can almost "feel" the panic as you were on your way to church--"who will I sit with?" When life gets uncomfortable we crave other womens friendships and yet we are often hesitant to share what is going on in our lives. Especially when it involves another family member--I don't want to share too much for fear that people will think "less" of him/her.

This book and all of the comments have my mind spinning. I thought that I was a pretty authentic person and as I pray and read I realize that I am not who I thought I was.

blessings to you today!
Kim from PA

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for sharing so openly. I understand that fear that if someone really knew me they wouldn't be my friend. Insecurity is one of Satan's ways of keeping us isolated.

Leebird said...

Hi Carol,

thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your feedback...I have never visited your blog before, but I'm so glad I did today. I am so glad your husband is getting treatment for his drug problem. My 48-year-old brother, Dean, died in February (on my birthday) of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. I miss him so much. He was just getting his heart right with the Lord when he died. He had started going back to church and was letting the Lord start healing his heart. His passing came as such a shock to my mom, my sister, and myself. I will be praying for your husband to be set free completely and fully. You are a beautiful person....I can see the light of Jesus in your smiling face. I would love to be your friend! Looking forward to getting to know you better! Lee

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your heart and hurts here.

It has been a struggle for sure to be real enough to actually let someone in, to allow a close friendship or two to grow.
I never realized until reading your post, how much I had wanted a close female friend, and didn't.. and kept asking God for one. He finally answered my prayer, but not until my life started opening up for others to see... and I started getting real about what was going on inside of me. Then I had 3 women from my church come around me. They had been there all the time, but never got close until I was able to let them in.
Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. I seriously wouldn't have realized this without having read your post!
God bless,

Lily said...

wow, what a powerful post. I am sitting in class trying not to cry. Your words struck a cord in me. Like most woman I hide behind my facade. Thank you for holding up a mirror and reminding me of what is truly important

Kelly said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for posting on my blog, it is really nice to meet you, and I loved what you posted here. I have had that longing too for a long time for a close woman friend and when you said " I don't have anyone to call" I could totally relate to that. I am surrounded by lots of church acquaintances and work friends and I have had a few best friends in my life, but no one now (except my husband of course). I have been praying for a few years for a close woman friend and I agree that our soul longs for that connection.
I think we are going to really grow through this study of Lisa's book...looking forward to more of your thoughts and writings on this...thanks for being real!

Tammy R said...

Your post tug on my heart. You have made me wonder how many women I pass by at church who need a friend.Someone they can share thier stuggles with or have a cup of coffee with conversation.

My blogging friend,I will be praying for you and your family.

Laura said...

what a brave, brave woman you are, friend. I can only imagine how difficult that time must have been for you. And here you are, praising God. Wow. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I thank God for your openness, what an inspiration.
Blessings to you.

Liz said...

Wow. I read your blog, and all of the blog comments, and my heart is right along side. All of our stories are different, but they are all the same. We all want that deep, close, and intimate friendship. I have to wonder, why is it that none of us are in the same location? I am laughing when I write this...because I too long for that person to call, the one who really knows and still loves me. I had that, and it is now gone. ugh. So, I am trying to find the courage to keep moving forward, hoping that someday God will answer that prayer.
What I get from this chapter, is that it truly is our soul craving to have this. And we are on this journey together. I look forward to what God has planned as we reveal our hearts and learn to follow Him even more closely.
Love to you and your honest, heartfelt post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog - I'm so glad you did. Reading your post ... OMGness! I have had different issues to deal with in my marriage, but I could feel every bit of your insecurities; and what Amy said about insecurities being used for evil to isolate us is so, so true... My heart goes out to you, and I hope that you continue to find strength in the Lord. I look forward to getting to know you. Bless our heart...

LynnSC said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I am glad that you stopped by... but ever more glad that I hopped over to yours.

This is a very honest and open post. I could feel your heartache and your longings.

This comment...

"be willing to show people your imperfections" is one of the best definitions to describe being real that I have read so far. So true.

I know for a fact that your openness about your family and your struggles will ring true to others. There are so many of us out there hiding because we don't think that people could possibly love us if they knew all the "stuff" that we have. We all have struggles, there are all different... but at the same time, they are the same.

This is going to be a great journey. I am so glad we are making it together.

Lelia Chealey said...

What an amazing view of your life you're letting us see. I can only imagine what God is going to do with you, your marriage and the friends he brings into your life. Know Carol, that even though there may be many states between all of us, you have many friends in blogland. :)
Looking forward to doing this journey with you dear friend.