So here it is Thursday afternoon, I'm home and I've been going over and over again about the weeks Yes To God study which I normally post on Weds. So we are up to chapter 6 and 7 this week in Lisa's book Behind Those Eyes. Lelia and Lisa thought we should combine them because they work together. So Chapter 6 is Cosmetics for the Soul and Chapter 7 is The Feelings We Conceal. (deep sigh) If you want to read more posts or know more about the study click on the Yes To God icon in my side bar. If you want to know more about the author click on the book in my side bar.
So you may have noticed a slight alteration of the cover in my post. Sorry Lisa had to do it. I actually took this picture for my photo blog, as a picture of one of my favorite books. The picture next to it is me. Yep me at 19 years old in 1983. They were from my modeling days, and it was a shoot for jeans of some sort. Anyway the photographer took this close up for me for my portfolio. I found it while cleaning out my scrapbook room right around the time we started the study. So why included it here, well it was something my daughter Brinn said about the picture when she saw it. She asked me who it was, I said you can't tell. She studied it a bit longer and she said is it you? Yes I said I was 19. She said I don't like it mommy it scares me, you look angry, mean, and a kinda sad. I said you see all that in this picture, she said mommy it's your eyes, your eyes don't look like that anymore, they look happy now. All that from a 9 year old.
I told her that I didn't know Jesus then, and that was a part of my life that was very empty. That's why my eyes look that way. In Chapter 6 Lisa writes, "How may of us are trying to cover up or broken souls? We do this so others will see on the outside what we want them to see." I've been struggling with this lesson, because I keep going back to a place of great sorrow in my life, and when I do I just don't want to go there, but God wouldn't let me quiet the memory this time. That's what usually happens when He wants me to share it.
Cosmetics to the soul is just like putting on your make up before you leave the house. You cover up your flaws and enhance your best features so people will be drawn to see what is your best feature and hopefully not see the flaws. The more experienced you get at applying the makeup the better you get at covering the flaws and scars.
Concealing our souls we guard our hearts not letting anyone get to close to see what's inside or to keep it from being hurt. Impersonating is just pretending to be something to fit where you are at the time, at school your the loving and together mom, work your the super employee, church your Ms. Spirituality, the conversations are surface oriented never letting people past your facade. But at home alone you have to deal with the concealing of the soul, and that for me is done in what I call the dark night of the soul. When your all alone and it's just you and God.
Lisa asked us if we have had our emotional identity robbed, and to tell the story. So here goes. I've shared with you all that my dad died when I was 12. When daddy died my whole world changed. I was closest to my dad I wanted to be around him all the time. Daddy's little girl. I sat at his work bench at the shop we owned, went with him to the dump, sat on his lap at home, I just liked being with my dad.
Dad died of a heart attack while in the hospital for some tests. He was sick but I didn't really understand what that was. He'd gone in on a Thursday to see the doctor, and because of the military hospital visitation restrictions they had to get permission for me to see him because I was under 14. By the time the permission came it was Sunday, and Dad died while we were on our way to the hospital. I remember having a poem I'd written him that told him how much I loved him, but I never got to give it to him. I never saw my dad again. The rest of the night was a blur. It seemed like it went on forever, people coming to the hospital and then getting home people were there. I remember locking myself in my room only letting my cousin Darcy in, she'd lost her dad in 3rd grade. Then late that night after everyone was gone, I heard deep sorrowful cries, I came out of my room and found my older brother he was 23 sobbing while sitting in my dad's chair. I climbed into his lap, and we both sobbed, that's when I knew Daddy wasn't coming home.
After that night I didn't know what to do with the emotion, I was sad, mad, empty, and felt very alone. I went back to school after a week (I was in 7th grade) and kids would ask me where I was. I tell them my dad died so I didn't come to school in a very detached robotic way. No one asked anything more, no teachers asked anything. This was not an after school special with the caring teacher that took you aside, life just continued. My cousin Darcy knew, but how do two 12 year old girls explain it, it was more of this unspoken understanding. How do you talk about something you don't understand.
So you learn to conceal the emotions and lock away the pain, letting everyone think your okay, your strong. Don't look back, because it's still to painful even 31 years later. The identity of a family whole and complete gone. Over the next couple years life changed dramatically, my mom went from spending all her time at our store and spending the evenings with me to having a boyfriend, and never being home at all. By the time I was 14 I was raising myself, my brother's and sisters all married and living away from home, I was on my own. I felt forgotten and unwanted. Terribly insecure, and jealous of the people who had a dad, and starting to look for ways to fill that missing piece.
My ability to cover my pain and insecurities is lightening fast. I have perfected it as I have learned to apply my makeup, I can cover my flaws and distract people with my positive features so they don't see my negative.
In chapter 7 The Feelings We Conceal, Lisa talks about the feelings of ugly that we hide. Feelings such as insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, and fear, and how they play out in our lives.
Lisa writes "All of us have had moments of insecurity some lasting longer than others and of varying degrees. Women are insecure over our bodies, our abilities, our mothering, our relationships with our husbands, our reputations in the church, and our standings in the community. It is really no small wonder as to why we try to cover up our insecurities. "
So as I went through these two chapters (well actually all the chapters) God kept leading me back to this place in my heart as the beginning of learning to conceal. From that point in my life I learn to I guard my heart and emotions.
From this place I've created loneliness, not letting people to deeply in, and then when having done so I'd find myself hurt, or hurting someone else. I know now that Satan spins these lies over and over in my head, of me not being good enough, smart enough, they have a better life than you, they wouldn't like you. These are the lies that God is now telling me aren't true. But I had to trust and believe in Him and His love for me before I can let others in.
My life and where I am today is a result of the building up and covering up of these emotions for years. The hard part is to start letting them out. So I'm brought to Ephesians once again, the place God always leads me in my deep despair to remind me of his love for me. This verse "But because of his great love for us, God , who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead i transgressions - it is by grace you have bee saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2: 4-7
In Chapter 7 Lisa asked us: How much of your life have you spent trying to conceal things from others? I choose Most of it. Then she asked: How has insecurity manifested it self in your life? It has manifested in the starting and never finishing of schooling, jealousy in relationships, lack of trusting friends and others, feeling of being unwanted or a burden to people, and ending relationships to prevent myself from being hurt. Do others see you as insecure, or do you think you hide it well? For the most part people find me to be self confident, but I don't believe they would label me insecure, I do hide it well, I know how to play the game and manipulate situations so I don't come out looking insecure. I can only think of 2 or 3 people that can see past my cover. I'm just tired oh so tire of being that way.
What is the most painful feeling for you to conceal? I am lonely. Why? Not because I have a lonely empty life, I'm lonely for a close girlfriend. Don't get me wrong my husband is wonderful, he's caring, loving, giving, and we are very close. He's not a girlfriend though. Lisa said this: "We tend to wrongly believe that if we could just get married, our significant other can and will be our all and everything. And sadly, many married women treat their husbands as we do an order of bottomless chips at our favorite restaurant, asking him to continue to fill us up when we are empty." It's been a long time since I had a best girl friend, one I can confide and tell things to and not worry about whether she'll still care about me or like me. I miss that and I pray for it.
I'm sorry this has been a long post, and I have to tell you an emotionally draining one. So I'm going to leave you with this prayer that I found when I was in the grips of the feelings of rejection and inferiority after discovering Brett's addiction to pornography. I found this on an Internet forum dealing with spouses of addiction:
Jesus, I acknowledge you as my High Priest. You understand and sympathize with my weaknesses and this excruciating pain of rejection and inferiority that I have tried to bury. In Your name I approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Father, be merciful unto me and forgive my sins even as I forgive others. I cast down the wrong perceptions, self-talk and mindsets that have exalted themselves above the Word of God. In the name of Jesus, I thank you for your healing grace that dispels the feelings and thoughts of self-rejection that I have carried most of my life. I am tired of suffering because of the false accusations I have brought against myself.
Father, these feelings have been like a cancer in my soul, and I choose to replace self-destructive thoughts with your word, which is able to restore and save my soul. In the face of these feelings of rejection and inferiority I choose being extraordinary and "equal to" others. I choose being accepted, loved and highly favored of the Lord. Whom the Son has set free, is free indeed. I am free to choose being the true self that your created me to be.
Thanks for listening, you all have been such a true blessing in my life.