I have been reading Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes, and participating in Lelia's blog study, but the impact of the book goes beyond my Tuesday post. We have looked at all the roles we try to play - Ms. Happiness, Ms. Confidence, Ms. Perfection and Ms. Spiritual and honestly I've done my part to try and win the lead role. Thankfully God has me on the road to be real. Has it been an easy walk? NO! Actually at times it seems each step simply becomes a little more difficult. I don't say that to discourage you, but to simply be honest and let you know you're not alone in your struggles.
As I read this book I see myself taking off the masks Lisa describes and there is freedom in doing the very thing, but still it is hard. I have written about the book I am in the process of publishing quite a bit because all of these words about being real are what it's all about.
I have never been one to talk much or share whats really on my heart or mind, but 11 years ago God put a woman in my life who would help me open up. In the world's eyes our friendship makes no sense - we both have a different line of work, she graduated the year I was born, her youngest just got engaged and mine hasn't left the crib...but God knew Leanne could serve a purpose in my life.
As usual He was right (so why do I ever doubt Him? - that's another post!!) Through the years our friendship has grown, she has shared good times and bad, struggles and successes - basically been real and through her example I have learned to do the same. It has taken time, but now we can, and do, talk about everything. We laugh and cry, talk and pray. My friendship with her was like nothing I had ever experienced before - I could be myself, share and trust.
God has blessed me and done some wonderful things through Leanne and if she was here she'd say the same, but it seems his work is not done. We are about to put our story Letters from Leanne - The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship out there for the world to see.
Honestly at times I am excited - not because I want to be an author, but because I want others to have what God has given me. A real friendship full of blessings, but ultimately one that helps me have a real faith and serve a real God.
This all sounds great, so why have I titled the post Why it's hard... Because my desire to be real hurts my mom and in turn it hurts me and the pain is real. About a year ago I shared the book with my mom and she saw it as a slap in the face, like I was replacing her with Leanne. And that has never once been the case.
I have thought many times about how I would feel if my daughter wrote this book and from that perspective I feel her pain, but the key word is spiritual and my mom doesn't understand that. I grew up in a good home - a mom and dad and two younger sisters. But as I read Lisa's book I realize we lived a life trying to look perfect and happy to the outside world. Not that we had major problems to bring us down, but communication wasn't a priority, so we stayed silent and pretended alot.
After I graduated from college I realized Christianity was about more than church attendance and made a decision to live for Christ. Since then my mom realizes I have changed, but doesn't understand it's because of my faith. And it's my faith that has led me to publish this book, something my mom doesn't want me to do.
She has said everything is not about religion (I agree) and my kids need more than all this church stuff. Honestly it hurts when my mom doesn't even know who I am, but it hurts more knowing she's missing all that I have because of my faith.
I almost didn't sign the contract because all my life I've lived to please my parents and it was obvious this wasn't going to win any applause. Thankfully God's words are true and he has given me a desire to obey him, so I signed fearing what that meant for my mom and me.
That is still unknown, but as I read Lisa's book I gain insight into what my mom might be feeling. With my book I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and people will know things about me that I have never told them - as if you don't know already, I'm not perfect, I'm not always smiling, I lack confidence and I mess up, but really I am okay with that. My mom's latest comment, "I hope nobody I know reads it" proves she isn't there yet.
Now you know why it's hard, but I trust God has a purpose for the pain and I continue to pray He will use this step of obedience and reveal himself to my mom.
So as I reflect on all of this I think even more about the masks we wear and the games we play to impress others. They not only cause pain while the clock is running, but can hurt us after the whistle blows because eventually the truth is revealed. Even if no one else ever knows, God always does, so the thought for the day - even when it's hard, be real - our REAL God will strengthen you to do it and bless you for it!