Lisa's quotes are in purple.
It's week 2 into the study and God's really been working on my heart through this. I have pages of journal notes (don't worry breathe I'm not going to put them all down). Our Bible verse these chapter is "Even perfection has it's limits, but your commands have no limit." Psalm 119:96.
In her book Lisa shares with us the exhausting role we have when we try to present ourselves as perfect and why she writes, "But while its not possible to achieve on this earth, perfection is perhaps, the most common characteristic that women impersonate. We get caught up in the trap of trying to appear perfect to others Society sells us pictures and symbols of perfection in the news media, print ads, and gossip magazines. They have pitched us an image...and we've fallen for it. We are buying into the notion of perfect wife, perfect mother, and perfect package, at the expense of ourselves and our loved ones." pg 27
I love Lisa's story of the Great Sunday Morning Fake Out. I hate it too, why because I saw myself in it. Why do I keep hearing Gollum from "The Lord of the Rings" in my head "FALSE - TRIXIE", probably because it's true - we want people to see our lives a certain way not one that necessarily shows the truth. We put on or image like we put on our clothes, and trick people into believing it. We have an outfit for different circumstances, one for church, one for work, one for school, one for even friends and family. Depending on where you go depends on what outfit you where.
Lisa asked us is this wide spread? Truthfully I never gave it much though. Based on the fact that our family had the Sunday Morning Fake out down to an art form for 4 years, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this.
It goes along with what I shared in Chapter 1- Up until the time Brett hit recovery we were co conspirators in our Sunday morning disguise. All though we were playing the roles so well we didn't realize each other were fakes.
We would get up, Brett and Brinn would eat breakfast I'd have coffee (a big cup) and get ready. Then I'd get Brinn dressed- while Brett got ready. We'd drive to church with our Christian music on and talk about nothing. If it was one of those rough mornings we just listen to the music louder. Once at church Brinn would get hot chocolate, and we'd wave to a few people go in and sit down. Brinn by this time had usually spilt hot chocolate on herself especially if we were going somewhere after church or she was wearing white.
The worship would start and we'd stand and sing, Brinn would sit then we'd force her to stand (she's not a morning girl) because good Christian families had children who stand during worship. (Perfect Mom syndrome slips in) We'd listen to the message, and after church we'd go and say hi to our pastor. Now here is the funny part our Pastor would say here's the perfect family. (we were good) After service it was outside for pastries or bagels and small talk. Now I was usually starving by this time, because I hadn't eaten breakfast, but I didn't want to eat to much, but make sure that everyone knew that we didn't eat this stuff normally. (Perfect Package) Then we'd head down to pick up Brinn from the Kids program and leave. Church was done it was time to go home and change our outfits.
All this time I was covering the truth from myself and from others, and Brett was covering his own truth from everyone. We had everyone fooled but God.
No one knew that Brett had only professed faith because that's what I needed to hear but I knew he was in church physically and that was it. We'd hold hands and nodded, just like the couple in Lisa's book. He'd participate, I couldn't let people know that my husband didn't have a deep spiritual side (perfect wife syndrome). I didn't know that my husband was sometimes so loaded up on 10 to 12 vicodines during the service he couldn't really absorb what was going on. Or that when he was on call for work he'd pretend to get a call and leave church to "fix something" and then come back just in time to pick us up. Of course as the "perfect wife" I would always had the excuse that he had to go to work.
No one knew that we spent our lives living in the same house, but living different lives, struggling financially and feeling very inferior to all the people at church. Why would they we were the perfect family. We were masters of deception. I can say this, because when we finally did tell people about what was going on they said we would have never guessed.
We want people to think of us in positive ways, we are afraid of being judged or out casted if we don't appear to have it all together. One of the things I always heard in Recovery has stuck with me. Don't worry about what other people are thinking about you, because they don't think about you as much as you think they do.
It's important to recognize that perfection is not humanly possible, there has only ever been one perfect human and that was Jesus. "If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come." Hebrews 7:11 NIV If we could attain perfection we would not have needed Jesus to come and give his life for ours. Jesus died four sins and imperfections mine & yours.
There is so much more in my heart right now. How I strived to be the perfect package for years and years. That's been one of my biggest battles. I'm praying Lord please help me to see myself as you see me. I don't have any deep words of wisdom, I guess I do better just telling my story. God has changed Brett and I. I'm working on not falling into that same role on Sundays. If Brinn wants to sit let her sit. It's easier when your husband is really on the same path towards God. We don't have frivolous conversations we talk about the message after ward. We try and go up to people we don't know and say hi and introduce ourselves. I want people to see us as authentic, not this cute sweet couple that sits in the second row.
God placed us at our church, Brett and my stories are full of pain and destruction, before we meet and all that got dragged into our marriage. We are an against all odds couple. We shouldn't by societies standard even still be married. But we don't live according to Society's standards we live under God's standards, and that means we look to him and "through him all things are possible" Philippians 4:13. So it's my prayer that as we stop playing the charade that maybe someone will see us for who we really are and God will use that to His Glory.
I'm sure I'll have more over the next week, like I said I have pages of notes. Love to you all.