Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The journey from concealing to revealing...

It is time for another Yes to God Tuesday as Lelia hosts the study of Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes. This week we are looking at chapters 6 and 7 titled "Cosmetics for the Soul" and "The Feelings We Conceal." Again Lisa brings up many points that hit home and sometimes a little too close to the heart. But that's a good thing because I believe there was a time in my life that I had put on the mask for so long that I didn't even know who I really was.

Lisa's words about loneliness brought back memories from those days. Insecurity and fear played a big role as well and though I wouldn't have said it back then, I'm sure jealousy was part of it as well. It was like I lived my life to be somebody else. Back then I had role models, at times heroes, who I looked up to, but it wasn't in a healthy sense of the word because I didn't simply want to develop a characteristic they possessed, but in a way wanted to live the life they lived. This led to a couple of problems - one I had the unrealistic idea they and their lives were perfect which in turn caused pain when their imperfections were revealed and two as I looked at their perfect image I knew I didn't measure up which only caused me to be more insecure.

Not necessarily fun memories to recall, but yet there is joy in knowing my thoughts have changed. Since those high school and college days I have come to know Christ and like Lisa I can say, "Our ultimate goal has to be to seek Him and His righteousness, above all else." As I do that day in and day out I am reminded my value is in who He is not what I do, how I look, or what others think. Is that an easy task? No, but it does bring peace.

With that peace I have found new value in friendships. Growing up I was always surrounded by people, but never close to anyone. No bad experience caused me to close up, I just never revealed much of myself because of that fear of rejection. But God's word tells me the truth will set us free and though those words are about His son, they also relate to our everyday life. As we are open and honest with those around us relationships grow.

Lisa described her relationship with her best friend and it made me think of mine as well. My best friend isn't a former high school teammate or college roommate instead she is old enough to be my mom, but our age difference has not hindered our connection as friends. After 11 years we are now at the place where we are the first person the other turns to in times of joy and pain.

As I read this chapter I was reminded of why that is - jealousy is non-existent in our friendship as well and we enjoy the traits Lisa mentioned about David and Jonathon. Once after thanking Leanne and sharing thoughts about some of her good qualities, she said something very important to me, "I don't ever want you to put me on a pedestal. I have done my share of wrong and learned plenty of things the hard way." I don't think I had put her there, but the reminder was good because there's only one person who belongs there. I had made that mistake enough in my life and as someone I respect I valued Leanne's words and her ability to be real.

The other exchange of words that came to mind happened nearly two years ago when I told her I could write a book about her role in my life. After I shared the first 20 pages she was honored and said in a way "felt like a dud" because she never sent cards or felt she wasn't as thoughtful as me. Honestly her words shocked me, I never once viewed her that way, but it was interesting to see how we can perceive ourselves. Again she was being real and admitting insecurities, which we fear could hurt our friendships, but in reality it strengthened ours and gave me permission to be real myself. As our conversation closed she suggested, "Let's each just keep doing what we do best." What better way to view a friendship!

God has created all of us unique and we'll never play the role he intends if we live trying to be someone he didn't design. Again, not always easy, but as I reflect on everything Lisa has put into these two chapters I am thankful for the progress I have made on the journey from concealing to revealing. At times I surprise myself with the things I share and am now able to talk about, 15 years ago I never would have expected this. But now I am grateful.

Simply being myself has not only brought me peace and freedom, but I feel that's the best way God can reach others through me and really isn't that what all of us want? If people look at me and see someone who is fake what will they think about the God I serve? If they watch me and see my insecurities how will that affect their image of the God who I claim strengthens me?

Hard questions, but they give us a reason to reveal rather than conceal. It is a journey, but he designed the map and offers to lead the way!!

To close I've attached a couple of poems I wrote a few years back as God started transforming me from a concealer to a revealer.

We walk thru life with
a smile on our face,
hiding what is in our hearts.
Is it pain from something that was said
or guilt for a mistake from our past?
Is it worry about what is to come
or doubts about overcoming the situation we’re in?
Is it hurt for a friend who’s suffering
or sorrow for a loved one who passed away?

Why do we put on a mask
and pretend to be
who we are not?
God sees past the smile
and knows who we really are.
If we’d only be ourselves,
others would see our heart
and know who He really is.


"Hide and Seek"
I’ll count,
“1, 2”
You hide,
“9, 10
Ready or not,
here I come.”
It’s a game all kids
love to play,
it’s something they
do again and again.
As years go by
the excitement slowly fades,
but the game never ends –
we once hid behind a tree
now it’s behind a smile.
We’re afraid to share
who we really are –
we often think,
if she’s ‘fine’ then I should be too.
But have you ever wondered,
“How can I find anyone,
if I’m hiding too?”
The kids have it right –
someone has to seek,
so the next time
you want to play the game,
don’t run & hide –
instead offer to count,
they might need you
to find them.
“Ready or not…”

13 comments:

  1. I so glad you have opened yourself to a special lifelong friendship. They are so important to us as women.

    My best friend Susan lives very far away but there is a forever bond between us.

    I like how you and your friend ended that conversation. Let's just do what we do best. That is a great response.

    Bless you,Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful poems, Jill! YOu are such a talented lady. What a blessing to have such a sweet and godly friendship like you do with Leanne.
    Luv,
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a good friend you have...you are blessed. I enjoyed your poetry. Connie

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jill,

    What a blessing to have such a good friend. Most of my close friends are quite a bit older than me. I think that removes some of the "jealousy" issues and they are a great source of encouragement because they have walked the road that I am now on.

    I enjoyed your poems!

    have a good week,
    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  5. I know how hard it can be to share our "creations", but I'm glad you shared your poems.

    This book sounds amazing! Maybe I'll have to start it once I'm done with the other two I am reading.

    It sounds like you have experienced freedom in your life over the years, and are now helping other women capture their freedom.

    Blessings to you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, this was an awesome post...
    I too have a great friend who is old enough to be my mom, but we are best friends, after only a year and a half... I am so grateful, and through both of our trials, God has only drawn us closer.

    And it has only been through our willingness to be open with each other, not be jealous, etc, all that Lisa talked about.

    Thank you so much for sharing so much! May God bless you,
    Heather

    ReplyDelete
  7. I, too, have an amazing friend who is very different from me. Our strengths mesh together to make a wonderful team!

    Thanks for sharing, Leebird

    ReplyDelete
  8. What an amazing post!!

    I LOVE your poem. God has truly blessed you with a special gift.

    Isn't God so great to bring people into our lives...for us to have such sweet...sweet..friendships with!?!?

    Blessings friend.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "God has created all of us unique and we'll never play the role he intends if we live trying to be someone he didn't design."

    Oh, this is good! Thank you for putting it this way. I am trying so hard to be aware of how I slam myself down, with voices inside my head. With each lie that creeps in, I am asking God to heal it with His truth.
    I love how you said this... and no, He did not design me to be someone else! Thanks for the reminder.

    Glad to be on this journey with you,
    Darlene

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your post gives me hope, thank you. The poems are great!

    Thank you for joining me in my prayer for reconciliation of the friendship I referred to. I will pray for you as well, for healing in your pain and thanksgiving for your friendship with Leanne.

    Blessings,
    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jill,
    What blessing that you see the major changes in you...the peace of who you are and being able to share more now.

    You are blessed with your friendship. As Lisa said, it's hard to find and even harder to keep.

    Sweet Blessings,
    Paula

    ReplyDelete
  12. I fully enjoyed this post. I know what transformation is and as you know, it is on-going. "from a concealer to a revealer" is what I am working on. My biggest fear is rejection-it is still so fresh and yet, my heart has so changed to be a "revealer" of who God is, not of who I have become.
    What a blessing to have come here today. Thank you.

    In His Graces~Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love this part of your first poem:
    Why do we put on a mask
    and pretend to be
    who we are not?
    God sees past the smile
    and knows who we really are.
    If we’d only be ourselves,
    others would see our heart
    and know who He really is.

    Isn't it ture when we hide who we really are we are hiding our connection to Him. I also love that you call your self a revealer not a concelear. What a great motto.

    I truly enjoyed your post, and how you shared about your friendship. And your openeness

    In Him,
    Carol

    ReplyDelete