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.