Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday... on Thursday again

This is part of a book study going on over on Lelia's blog. This is our first week... so if being REAL is something that interests you... or if you feel like God is calling you to stop pretending.... why not join us?? We are currently reading and studying Lisa Whittle's book called Behind Those Eyes, what's really going on inside the souls of women. This is a subject that is very dear to my heart. I want to not only be real before God, but to be real before others so that they can see God's power.

Chapter One The Truth Hurts

I can remember sitting with a group of women in a Bible study... they all seemed so perfect and put together. They invited me to go to a Women Of Faith conference with them. While we were there... I remember one girl in particular, she talked about her struggle with post partum depression... she even admitted that she had an abortion earlier in her life. I just stood there. I also struggled with post-partum depression... only... it never went away. I listened for a long time... waiting and watching for everyone else's reaction. I couldn't believe it when they responded in love. Later that same year... she stood up in front of our church on "Right to Life" Sunday and announced to the whole church that she had an abortion. She talked about the struggle that went on afterwards. She talked about her desire to use that horrible decision to help others keep from making the same choice. I was amazed. I had spent years thinking that Christians were suppose to be "perfect", or "better than that". And if you weren't... well... you needed to keep it to yourself so that no one would know. That way... you wouldn't have to worry about being rejected or judged. I mean after all.... we want to be liked and accepted.

Then, I can remember going to a women's conference with a new friend just about a year ago. Chonda Pierce gave her testimony about her recent struggle with depression. She was very candid. She made a joke about no one being able to pry her anti-depressants out of her hand. I just sat there. The next morning as my new friend and I sat waiting on the conference to start... one of us made a comment about what Chonda had said about her anti-depressants... it must have been her... because I remember saying... "I feel that same way." She just looked at me and asked me if I took anti-depressants... only to then confess that she did too . We laughed at the fact that at the hotel the night before, we both took our medicine in privacy. At that very moment.... things changed in my heart about being real. We both shared the same struggle... yet we had kept it to ourselves. We weren't using our struggle for God's glory. We went on to talk about hiding things from others. We both admitted that there was something in both of our lives that we would just die is someone else found out about. Shame... isn't that the enemies game??? After much beating around the bush... I confessed mine to her. She didn't even fall out of her chair. She didn't even get up and go sit somewhere else. She still let me ride home with her. After that day... our relationship changed. She knows exactly who I am and what I struggle with. And I know who she is and what she struggles with. We are real. Not fake. Being real has spilled over into most of my other relationships as well.

Lisa said,

"... we as women, often lead others to believe we are someone other than who we really are."

"We cover our weaknesses and heartaches with immaculately groomed clothes and manufactured conversations. 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."

Wow!! How true is that??

Lisa offers a small reason why we may do this,

"We lack honesty and authenticity, and our past experiences lead us to believe it is in our best interest to keep our true feelings hidden"

Lisa says,

"Make no mistake about it: women are yearning for something real. We're hungry for truth and authenticity. We crave honesty."

... until we find it, we will have to be currently satisfied with looking perfect, appearing happy, portraying confidence, and sounding spiritual to make ourselves feel better and get more people to love us. Lisa actually used the word "she" instead of "us" and "we" in the above statement... but I think that we so perfectly fit into that sentence.

I think that if we are all hiding behind a "perfect" mask... all the time dying inside... we are not only hurting ourselves and the people around us... We are breaking God's heart too. He longs to display His power and love through us... the real world needs to see a REAL God make a difference in other real peoples lives.

I cannot wait to continue in this study... next week we will look at "Ms. Perfection". Anybody??

And... I just have to add, maybe I should go ahead and read the chapter on Ms. Perfection since I will be leaving to go for a teacher conference about my middle school aged daughter in just a few minutes. The enemy has taken every single opportunity to remind me of what a terrible parent I am... that is why my child is disrespectful. I guess it will be a little hard for me to go in and portray Ms. Perfection, huh??


when she got out of the car today at school, I said, "just pretend like you like them." "you can pretend that you are trying out for a part in a play... being the "good" student." "Smile... do not let them know that you are angry about anything!!"

What??? Did I just give my daughter permission to be fake?? I guess I did.... I do believe that they are some times that you need to keep your real feelings to yourself. Like when the principal asks you what you think of him.... It is best not to answer, "I don't think I need to answer that right now". Arghhhh! Especially when you just told him that you do not like your new school... or your teachers.
What was the title of this chapter??? The Truth Hurts.... and it does.


Runner Mom said...

Hey, Lynn! Thanks so much for your truthful post! I know how God must have rejoiced with you when you shared with your friend that you took anti-depressants. You, sweet friend, have taken that first step. I am so proud of you!

I love this book! Looking forward to next week's Ms. Perfection as well.

Love ya,

Paula (SweetPea) said...

This is really good, Lynn. You had me on the edge of my seat with your story about your new friend. How very awesome. I am looking for that kind of friendship. I have found what I believe to be many of those friendships through blogland but I need one I can see, touch, and be face to face.

I appreciate your honesty and since you did, I will also admit I am an anti-depressant taker.

Oh, I know I strive for perfection. Isn't it funny the words you spoke to your daughter and told her to be pretend. I think it is because there is a fine line between being real and pretending. I mean, if I let my co-workers know everything I thought, I'd either be hated or fired. Probably not fired, but disliked by many. You know those times when you are social and talk when you really could care less about their problems today???? BUT, we pretend we do.

Love ya,

Beverly said...

WOW, I was just thinking about this with a letter I received in the mail today from someone. Gave me a lot to think on. Thanks for sharing.

Mari said...

Thank you for being so open and honest. I truly hate this whole "pretending to be perfect" thing. Being perfect on earth is not even biblical unless you are Jesus. We just can't do it. Why we try to pretend we are is just baffling to me, especially when I am the culprit!

We're in for a ride but I just love the passengers in the car!!!

Lisa said...

I loved this. I loved the real moment you shared about two women at a conference who were once hiding something you were ashamed of...and then freed by the truth when it came out. That, sister, is exactly what truth brings. And you illustrated it perfectly.

Thank you for being brave enough to take this journey of truth. You won't be sorry.

Lisa :)

hkudla said...

I really loved how you wove your own stories into this. It makes it all so much more real, to hear of other's stories and struggles with being real, authentic... and what happens when they are or aren't.

I am almost afraid to look ahead to this next chapter. I started to read it... but am thinking that I identify WAY too much! :)
God bless,

Naomi said...

This was a great read! Your honesty is so appreciated, and the fact that we can learn from these types of situations and give the Lord all the Glory he is due is so wonderful. Have a beautiful day...

Jill said...

I loved reading your words and appreciate your honesty. God is good and He is faithful, real is what He calls us to and when we obey He will bless. I look forward to what lies ahead.

How'd the conference go??

HIS Daughter said...

You, Miss Lynn, are someone I would just love to hug!! You are so precious in how you express your heart!
Some women you love in the LORD because they are your sisters and some, like you, are almost like "earthly sister/family" too!

Hope that made sense, because you are one of those since the first post I read of yours way back when!

I posted on someone's blog about the anti-depressants that I've taken since I was dx with panic attack disorder way, way, way back.
Even though the docs said it was a genetic/biological low serotonin that runs in my Dad's family and has effected most of my family at one time or another with depression and/or panic attacks...I was so ashamed of having to still take them!!!

When my brother in law, a doctor and a believer, asked did I still?? have to take?? them?? since coming to the LORD??? with that question mark look of "you have got to be kidding" on his face, I wanted to crawl under the furniture!! I felt the lie catch in my throat as the Holy Spirit choked it and I said, "Yes I do".

When I left there I felt like a big failure!! How could I have so much love and joy in my heart for my Father and still need "happy pills"? Without going into a long story on this post..longer than I have already gone on...I started taking them again and recently found out that so many godly people in the past suffered from depressions and that even John Piper had to take antidepressants at one point in his life.

The stigma of "you must not have enough of GOD" makes me scream!!

I love you for telling that story and letting me spill my thoughts here and take up a big space!

You are precious!! Much love and blessings,

Laura said...

Wow. This is such a moving post, Lynn. I can say that now you are using your weaknesses to glorify Him. Isn't it amazing what He does with all of our little shameful secrets? Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Hi Lynn,

Thank you for your honesty and and REALNESS.
I'm going to re-read your post again tonight. It really helped me see things differently.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I just realized it was you who mentioned my coffee cup and that you had one just like it once.
I gave that cup to my Angel Mother a couple years before she died without really thinking much about it. It says: Heaven just keeps looking better and better doesn't it? and on thee other side: Be joyful always, pray continually; give THANKS in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." ~ (now she's in heaven... and I have her cup. Heaven just keeps looking better and better to me as well now.*)
Thanks for giving me a warm fuzzy for mentioning it.

Carol said...

Lynn, I loved your story. It such a relief when you meet someone who you think has it all together, and you find out they are just as afraid to show they are struggling or have struggled with a similar problem or sin.

Oh my gosh, and wow I didn't even realize until you nailed me with it that I have said similar things to my daughter about pretending. Thank you for that, I don't want to pass that on to her, I want her to feel she can't be truthful or who she really is.

I'm going home to read my Ms. Perfection chapter also. I'm sure it will be another layer peeling chapter.


Regina said...

You make me laugh sister! And I love you and your real. Thanks for pointing out that not only are we fake at times but we also teach our children to be. Oh, may the Lord teach us all great things through this study.

I got my book Thursday, and I finished the first chapter tonight. AND I posted Yes to God Tuesday on FRIDAY. So there, you're not alone.

Tammy R said...

Out of the mouth of our children.

I always seem surprise when my daugther or son speak truth to me,yet I've raised them to speak the truth...go figure.

God is making me uncomfortalbe but this time I won't be hiding. Looking forward to doing this study with you.

Elizabethd said...

I've just found you, read you, and empathised with you.
What a wonderful Bible study that
sounds, it isnt a book I know, but then, living in France doesnt give access to many choices.
I wonder if this 'hiding ourselves' is why so many of us say we are 'Just fine' when someone asks how we are today? Even if we are not.

Liz said...

I loved your post and loved your honesty. I can identify with the all the things that you spoke of, the relief that being a believer did not mean I was always perfect, the joy of having a friend that you can be totally open with and know they still love you, and with you (and the many other women of God) who take antidepressants and still rely on God! My anxiety disorder had my blood pressure at stroke level and funny...that little pill is helping me stay out of the hospital for anxiety induced hypertension. In addition, the story regarding your teenage! As the mother of a 14 year old, yet another something to think about.
What a wonderful lesson you share in your testimony. I look forward to reading more as this study goes on!

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh Lynn, this is so awesome. How neat that God first showed you how real women of faith respond to one that is hurting. He knew that seeing their response would allow you to let your wall down and share your heart and how perfect to share it with someone that also was taking the same type of medication. He is so faithful, why I don't know, but He is.
Have a blessed week. Chapter 2 tomorrow...are we ready? ;)

Tracy said...

Hi Lynn,
I want to print this post for bus reading...looks like something I definitely want to read.

I've tagged you on my blog...stop by when you have a moment. = )


Darlene said...

I love that you posted on Thursday too!! In fact... in need to read my next chapter (blogging is such wonderful procrastination!)

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog. Your blog is adorable. Above all, I love that it is REAL. I can see God is calling you to that. Thank you for being so honest.

Christians are not perfect, just forgiven!

Glad to be on this journey with you.