Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who We Really Are

I remember my shock as she offered her wisdom - this lovely lady, proper and soft-spoken.

"Our husbands just don't always do the right thing, do they?" She was gracious and kind, with no hint of malice or resentment. I had viewed her tidy, tender marriage from afar, and her humble honesty furrowed my brow.

#1.  Her husband messed up?
#2.  She was displeased with him at times?
#3.  She was admitting these things in public?

Somewhere along the way, I heard a [well-intended] message about consistently building up one's husband and protecting his dignity, calling and reputation.  This positive notion took a negative twist when bondage to my own pride and reputation compelled me to only speak positively - even when we were in crisis. And I carried the concept through almost every aspect of my life...parenting, health, discipleship, and family management.

While I aced every quiz in "How to put your best foot forward", I missed the class on "How to share your REAL struggles honestly with others". So a thousand times, I've slathered on a stage smile and dishonestly uttered the words, "I'm fine", and promptly changed the subject.

Like some items of clothing are reserved for "just around the house".
There are some sentences that are simply not cute.

Sadly, I spent many years protecting the general public from what I assumed they had no need to see.  Meanwhile, I allowed this obsession to express to those in my home that outsiders' opinions are more important than our healing within. This exhausting PR campaign crowded with "how life should be"s and "what I hope you think of me"s has brought me to a weary place of surrender.

The approval of God is all I seek.
I'm so grateful for friends who have braved the jungle of my defences in order to offer me a safe sounding board and gentle truth.  I now realize my total honesty to a limited few has been self-serving and anchored in fear.  I also thank God for beautifully transparent people - those whose integrity and humility allow God's truth to shine so bright - warm and comforting.

I pray He will allow me to be the kind of friend who is both a courageous confidant and a fearless vessel of His Light.

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that's not who we are
We are children of the day

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine!

~ Kari Jobe