Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Yes to God" Chapters 6&7... Cosmetics and Feelings

This week was so good going through these two chapters for our study through “Behind those Eyes” by Lisa Whittle. Thank you Lelia, for hosting this.

How in the world can I possibly cover all that hit me in these two chapters?! There was so much in each one, that I could write about 2 posts for each chapter! Especially with all that God has been teaching me this past week.

As I read Chapter 6, Cosmetics for the Soul, I was reminded so much of all the things I have gone through this past year. I have bought into the lies that Satan has been screaming at me for years. I have believe him. This past year has been all about breaking the hold those lies have had on me. Those lies have been planted because of the choices I have made. I have to own up to the responsibilities of the consequences of those… putting myself in situations that I should have never been in.

But like Lisa said,
“We must know who we are - who we really are - so that Satan’s lies cannot infiltrate our thinking and permeate our lives. We need to let go of the guilt and regrets from the past that color our opinion of our future while acknowledging mistakes we have made along the way.”

My counselor, Tricia, has helped me in identifying the lies I have been believing. God is faithfully showing me His truth about who I am, and about who He is. He has helped me memorize scripture in a way that I have never been able to before this. It has been sinking in and staying with me. The truth really is setting me free… God’s truth.

When I believed the lies of the enemy, when I felt vulnerable, there have been many times I did that dance, to cover up what I didn’t want others to see. I also tried to sew together fig leaves, to cover up the spots in my heart that were uglier than I wanted to see. I have been so afraid through counseling and healing, to look inside, see the ugliness, the selfishness, the sin, the anger and bitterness and hatred that has been there… towards myself, and others. It has been a scary and painful process.

I have believed so many of the enemy’s lies.

You are too damaged.
You are unworthy of love.
You have missed it.
You’ll never have a future.
And the kicker for me;
There is nothing to hope for. All is utterly hopeless. I am nothing. I shouldn’t even be here.

By God’s grace alone am I here. It is that grace that saved me when I first turned to Him, and it is that grace that saved me and preserved my life this year.

I can’t use those cosmetics anymore. If I do, I will find myself slowly dying inside again.

In Chapter 7, The Feelings We Conceal, I was hit upside the head again.

Lisa said,
“We conceal our past. We keep our real agendas hidden. We mask our true feelings and cover up our sins. We just can’t bear the thought of someone knowing what is really going on inside our souls, so perfectly hidden by the ‘beautiful’ things they see.”

I can admit to all the emotions that Lisa said were so prevalent in all of us, and extremely detrimental to authentic relationships with other women.

Insecurity has been a big one for me. Probably because I have bought into the lies of the enemy. I would go along, and then see someone else who sang better than I did, played the piano better than me, looked thinner, more beautiful, or had what appeared to be the perfect Christian walk. I immediately wished I was that person. I envied them, and eventually became jealous of them. Even if I hid it, it affected our relationship. It wasn’t possible to be authentic in those relationships because there was that underlying current of insecurity and jealousy (maybe on both of our parts, I don’t know for sure).

I loved the four things that Jonathan and David had in their relationship. Commitment to God, letting nothing come between them, strengthening their friendship when it was tested, and remaining friends to the end.

I found that type of friendship with Gwen. We became friends when we were in college, in our twenties. She stood by me through some tough times, and I have stood by her too, during her hard times. I think there have been times where stuff has tried to come between us. There have been times where we have been insecure and allowed jealousy to take root, (at least I know I have) but at the same time, we have stuck with each other and come out the other side stronger for it. Right now she is halfway around the world, in Zambia for a year. I miss her terribly, but love her and pray for her daily. I miss the chance to interact with her and see her. Ever since she moved away after college, I have been praying for someone else to have that type of friendship with.

God answered that prayer with Cindy. We have gotten to know each other during this past year and a half, and God has truly knit our hearts together. We are committed to our individual relationships with God. We have hung together during tough times in each others lives. We haven’t experienced jealousy, or fear in our relationship with each other.

We have been able to be completely and totally open with each other, with no fear that what we have said would go any further than between us and God. We have become true sisters, lifting each other up in prayer, giving Godly counsel, providing each other with a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on, rejoicing with one another when we have had triumphs, and comforting each other in our failures.

For me, fear and loneliness are big things that throw up a red flag for me. Especially as I struggle with depression. I don’t want to let on to others that I am not doing well. I isolate myself. I find myself wandering in a crowd of people, at a mall, or even in the midst of the choir I sing in, feeling like I am in a bubble that no one can touch me through, and unable to reach out. When I hit that loneliness, I feel like I could disappear and no one would notice… and that is a bad place for me to allow my thoughts go.

Fear has been a constant companion the last few years. I live daily with anxiety, though I am getting better at controlling it. I have spikes of fear about the most ordinary things, that wouldn’t necessarily faze anyone else.

I have been fearful of losing my husband, losing my kids, having a house fire or car crash, being attacked by someone… and most of these manifest themselves in terrible nightmares. Three was a stretch there where night after night, for long months I would wake up shaking and terrified from dreams, so much so that I couldn’t get back to sleep again.

It has been hard to admit those fears to someone. My counselor and Cindy have been people to whom I have been able to open up to. Fear of rejection is huge for me, as I have been rejected throughout my life by people, used and then rejected. So, God placed me among people with whom I could be safe. Tricia, Cindy, Gwen, my small group all have become places of safety for me. If I find myself fearing to be with them, I know that there is something going on inside that is afraid of being exposed.

I have found in the past few weeks, times where I have truly been afraid to go see Tricia, and keep my appointment with her. Or I have been afraid of, or not wanting to go to, small group which is very unlike me. Each time I have gone, God has blessed me by opening something up in counseling and healing me, or by giving me the opportunity to pray for and love on someone else who opened up in our small group.

Jesus has comforted me as I have started to dare to dream of being a writer… He has shown me that if He has not spared His son, but gave Him up for me, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give me all things?

He wants to know my dreams. He wants me to pour out my heart to him, share my insecurities, jealousies, loneliness, fears… He wants me to be open with Him, others and myself… He wants me to stop the cover up, and open up and be real and authentic. I am tired of trying to conceal things. It is too exhausting. God has shown me this.

He has been stripping away my masks though this past year, and He has been stripping them away even more through the study of this book. Thank you, Lisa for your commitment to authenticity, and helping others get there too!

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