Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Truth Be Told

Does the word truth scare you or excite you? The truth can be scary...sometimes to tell it and sometimes to hear it. Yes, the truth hurts but THE Truth heals.

In our online Bible study (hosted by Lelia) of Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes, we begin with chapter one "The Truth Hurts". As I began to write this post, I pondered on the television show Moment of Truth. If you ask me, that show is a disgrace that lines right up there with Swing Time. Yes, we are to be honest humans but there is a time and place for it. With millions of watchers, chancing for $500,000, is not the time to tell your husband that you don't want kids with him because he may not be the one. Come on. That's as low as sharing one's spouse on Swing Time. Trust me, I like me some tv but a minute or two of these and enough is enough. If I have to find out on national television the truth of my spouse luring at another with bedrooms eyes, then let me pay you $500,000 to keep your truth.

Okay, so that really isn't the kind of truth that I believe Lisa is referencing but I couldn't help but to think of this world's truth.

I loved the piece Lisa wrote titled Talking About Nothing. So, here's the truth...I don't like talking about nothing. You know...the conversations just to be pleasant. The person who walks into your office just wanting an ear on which to chew, seriously about nothing. You can tell when a person is making up words to just speak. I admit I have done this before when I just want to commune with someone. Yet, I long to talk about meat and not milk. I had never thought about my dislike for casual conversation until reading this section. Lisa hit it on the nose when she said her and her hair stylist were "talking about topics". That's it, I thought to myself. I don't like talking about topics either. Usually, if I do it is to get at a deeper root...that is to really know that person. I am the queen of questions and so if I ask a topical question or initiate a topical conversation, it is because I want to know more about that topic regarding that person.

When Lisa spoke about "females impersonating females", she said "We've perfected the fake laugh and the token smile." Yes, I admit I have a token smile, a fake smile. However, I'm pretty stingy with my laughs. For me to laugh, it is genuine. At times, embarrassing because of the loud haahhh that comes before it. The fake smile comes with our hiding our feelings right? I know it does for me. Those times when it does no good to disagree with another or to speak against what is being said. Why? Lisa says "our past experiences lead us to believe it is in our best interest to keep our true feelings inside." There have been many times I've kept my true feelings hidden. Has it been helpful or hurtful? I would suspect it's been helpful to the relationships and other people yet hurtful to myself. The truths kept hidden are situations where I see wrong occurring or where words and actions have hurt me. I don't want to be open and truthful to release my hurts just to in turn hurt the other person(s).

When we keep our true feelings hidden are we actually pretending or are we doing what's best? Lisa wrote about being Born Pretenders. Oh how this section reminds me of my two young nieces (5 and 7). They LOVE to pretend like no other little girls, especially the older one. Pretend to be a baby. Pretend to work. Pretend to be mommy (of her sister). Pretend to be Hannah Montana. Oh how I greatly dislike her pretending to be like another person. I try to express to her how she is unique and wonderful without being someone else (a blonde or a star or whomever). Unlike Lisa who was hiding her pretending (of winning the pagent crown) from her dad, my nieces love to pretend and don't care who watches.

"Make no mistake about it: women are yearning for something real. We're hungry for truth and authenticity. We crave honesty. We want someone to cut through the fluff and get to the bottom line." Lisa mentioned Dr. Phil and I once watched him for a period of months. Ironically at a time in my life when I was pretending. Pretending all the issues would go away. Pretending things would be okay. Pretending God would magically appear (like Lucky Charms). Pretending it wasn't that bad. Pretending I wasn't emotionally dead. Pretending I wasn't that deep in pain.

What you're after is truth from the inside out. Psalm 51:6 MSG. Lisa challenged us by asking if this is true in our lives and if we recognize the need for greater authenticity in the world and our relationships. Amen and Amen, yes! I'm trying to be real in my relationships without scaring people away. I believe my personality of being raw and real about my life and my feelings can be scary and maybe "too much" for others. I'm a rather "deep" person and for some maybe it can come across too deep and not light-hearted enough. It's there, trust me!! (My niece asked me why I have "tootles" at the end of my cell phone greeting...that's why...balancing depth with light-heartedness.) In my relationships, I try to create an atmosphere to pull out the authenticity of others--giving them the opportunity to be real and share the good, the bad, and the ugly without fear of rejection, judgment, or the town hearing it. I'm not accusing anyone of being "fake" but rather wanting to show people that it is safe to be authentic and real with me. I believe many women hide their true feelings and their authenticity because we don't know with whom it is safe to lay our heart and soul. We've all been burned, some beaten it feels, by the pain of relationships...and from other women at that. I desire to be real with others and thus them real with me. Society is not use to the realness of people - the raw, the real, the reality of human flaws and weakness. Rather, we're taught to hide the real, which is the weakness, sins, and flaws. We are to be strong, flawless, pure, without blemish. Per society, anyway. The Truth is, Jesus can only use the weak, the flawed, the blemished, the damaged. So that is what I want to be so I can be used by Him.

Lisa asked us how we define authenticity and how we see it. I wrote in my book genuine, real, what you see is what you get. Sometimes, it can be hard and deceiving to discern authentic people in our lives and to know "how" to see it. However, I base it on words, actions, intensity of words, expressions, tone, and the such. Of course, with longevity comes better discernment. I've never really pondered on the authenticity in others much but this really has me thinking about how I need to pray for discernment of authentic people in my life. Those who truly seek out to befriend me who care about me beyond the surface and regardless of what they find beneath. It's amazing how a trial in one's life really does reveal those true friends, those friends whose authenticity is revealed.

Wow...Lisa's last challenge question...what is your deepest soul craving? My deepest soul craving at FIRST thought...if you know me, you know what it is...a restored and thriving relationship with someone for His glory. However, at deeper thought, it would really be to have a deeper relationship with God, deeper longing, deeper knowing of God, His plan, and His desires for me as His child--not as someone's friend, wife, daughter, sister, co-worker. But, as His servant, His child, His beloved.

Just Tellin' the Truth,


Anonymous said...

I LOVE your honesty!!
I especially like what you wrote:

"Those who truly seek out to befriend me who care about me beyond the surface and regardless of what they find beneath."

I have already "been real" with people to have virtually no response--so I retreated back to myself.

I am so thankful for my one true friend-Jesus! With him I can be real!

So nice to "meet" you!
Kim from PA

Lelia Chealey said...

Thanks for sharing the thoughts of your heart Paula. I love how although you want restoration there, you want a deeper relationship with God even above that. So cool.
I have a feelin' we better hold on pretty tight cuz God's about to take us on quite the ride.
Love ya,

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing your thoughts. I read your comment on Amy's site, and had to get over here to read your post.

I have been pretty open on my blog... maybe because there are those that I know personally who are reading, but they already know the "stuff" so I am not embarrassed about them reading it. I write my personal stuff out there (with some things to protect identities of those involved) to try to help someone else who might be reading. I know there are probably others out there who read and never comment. I can only hope and pray that God is using my writing to help someone else.

The pain of depression, of rejection, of loss is so hard to get through... I am getting through it... it is possible. Especially if a born hider and stuffer of emotions can start to heal, someone else can too. And I guess that is what I am trying to get through to others. It is one of the first areas that God gave me passion in again to pursue as a ministry, since my depression really kicked in after having my kids.

anyway, sorry for writing so long. I hope and pray that this study strengthens and enlightens you, and helps you to be more real and honest.
God Bless,

Lisa said...

I loved this post, Paula. I relate to you in many ways, so reading this was in many ways like reading my own heart. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with women like me.

Lisa :)

God Chaser said...

Sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing and being real about who you are. that's who God desires us to be real.

TheiaC said...

Thank you for a thought provoking post, Paula. For me it's a true balancing act...knowing when to express my thoughts, needs, and wants to others and when to remain silent. Words can be so hurtful but so can living in silent desperation.

Paula said...

Thank you for sharing the raw you, and I'm so glad I dropped by just now to read your post as it's just what I need to read. I let myself get hurt this afternoon to alleviate what could have become a tense issue otherwise. In this particular relationship, I do this often as it has proven to be a wiser move to turn the other cheek than press on with how I really feel. The other person will have their behaviour put in check by God, but it still doesn't lessen the hurt I feel right now.

It would be so lovely to just be able to say what you feel and not get knocked down (not literally, I might add) by it. I agree with "nothingcanseparateme" in that I love what you say about those who befriend you. Surface accounts for nothing; it's what goes on in a person's heart and head that matters.

All this just reiterates that seeking God is our first priority, as He is the only one who accepts us for exactly as we are right now. Once we get closer to Him, He can then guide us and teach us how to deal with being real with others, and how we respond with the treatment we get back.

I will definitely be re-reading your post again later and taking it all in, as I can hear myself saying the exact same things that you have written here. Another "Paula" thing perhaps, but oh how I'm thankful that we're friends.

Love Always In Him, Paula :-) xo

Nicole said...

Love your post! It's all about being real! I would say that I used to be more serious per say and wanted to talk about only deep issues. I like this about myself but realized I needed to lighten up a little bit. I agree, I think it is a balance. When I started on my journey to health (in all senses of the word) five years ago what was searching for and continue to search for is realness...being me and being honest with myself, others, and God. It had damaged me to hold all my emotions inside...maybe helpful to others but not healthy for me. I've learned though that my true feelings about a situation with another usually comes out sometime...the longer I hold it in the worse it is when I finally let it out. I have learned there is a correct timing sometimes though. May God help us all in this balancing act and help us feel we have a voice and our opinion and feelings matter!!!

Thanks for your realness Paula! Thank you also for your encouragement to me with our new house and balancing how much I should or should not try to do. I appreciate that!


Laura said...

Hey, there, girlie! My first thought: Tootles? I don't know what it is, but is sounds cute! I understand your struggle to maintain integrity and depth yet lightheartedness too. I think finding that balance is a difficult thing. Sometimes, I think I too "scare" people with too much truth too soon in our relationship. some people aren't ready to handle that kind of intimacy right off the bat. But others are, and these have become my soul friends. Learning to discern when and where to share my innermost parts still is a struggle for me.
Thank you for being so honest, paula. I love how open you are about your soul craving.
You are the real thing, lady!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

There's a lot to chew on in this post. I wonder sometimes if we don't dance around truth with a smile and song and dance because we're reaching out to people, but we're not sure we can trust them, or we're simply trying to build relationship. Some people can't go honest and deep until there's a deep relationship.

andi said...

Praying for healing to come through truth....

Runner Mom said...

Loved this post, girlfriend! That's one of the many things that make you who you are. You are the real deal!

Love you!

PS--I just read your post on Hurricane Ike! Wow! Glad that y'all are OK!!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You all have just blessed my socks off. To be honest, I was quite unsure of this post. I didn't feel confident about it's strength and power but rather that it seemed weak.

Thank you all for blessing my heart so.

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Your not too much Paula. You are in my prayers girl. I am asking God to place His longing for my life in my heart and to make it my longing. Your post is real and speaks to my heart.

In His Graces~Pamela

Lisa said...

After reading your comment on Paula's blog, I wanted to come back here and comment. I am so glad you have decided to fully embrace this study and stay with it, even though you may not at first want to answer such thought-provoking questions. They are meant to get you to "go there." It's so hard, I know. But it's so worth it. It is freeing to look at truth in the face, totally and completely. If not right now, there will be a day coming soon that it will be. It's a process you can't go halfway with, and I'm so glad you aren't.

You know what I hear you and many others saying that are doing this study? I hear the hearts of women everywhere who are dealing with things they have held in their heart for so long and like surgery of any kind, it is painful and doesn't feel comfortable. I hear women being pulled by what they know they need but what they have lived for a long time. That's the place Satan wants you to stay so you can stay bound to something in your life. But by taking yourself through the process, I firmly believe that God will reveal Himself to you in a way He maybe never has before because one thing or another has blocked what He has wanted to do in your life. This is true for all of us.

As I told Pamela, Paula...trust God to hold your heart through this process. Consider that maybe He doesn't want you to do something that comes easy to you. Maybe He wants you to do something that will take effort, but will bless you in ways you never imagined.

And just know that at the end, you will find that breath of air you are looking for, as the last chapter is that the truth heals. By the end of this process, I pray your heart and soul will be fully walking in truth and experience His healing balm washing over you.

On the journey with you!

Carol said...

I had to laugh at the begining about the tv shows, I am amazed what people will do for money, and who cares who it hurts.

I understand when you say that you don't want to be so open that you don't want to scare everyone away. I like deep conversation, I spend so much of my day at work talking in topics. (I'm an apartment manager) Sometimes I come home and find myself doing the same thing to my family. I to have a hard time finding the balance between light hearted conversation and deep conversation.

I enjoy your blog, and am glad I signed up to be apart of this study, it's already been such a blessing to me.

Grace & Peace,

HIS Daughter said...

I'm glad I came here tonight. I had a dr appt yesterday and a side effect medicine day. It was a day filled with questions and no answers...then I saw your name in my inbox.

First thing I see - "His ways are not our ways" Definitely what I needed to hear.

Second, reading your honesty...refreshing and precious offered to GOD. I love that about you, Paula. You really are authentic and real.

I am learning a painful lesson today...and it hurts because I can't understand it at all.

But, I can put that honesty out before HIM..just like you did and say that I love HIM even though HIS way is not my way. I know it will be for my good and not harm when this life is over.

Much sisterly love and blessings,

Mari said...

I love that you want to be friends with those who just want to be real. Amen to that. Life's too short and God's purpose for us too precious to be "playing" at anything.

It really made me smile when you said said that on second thought, in that digging deeper moment, you realized you want a real and deep relationship with God. Now there is someone who cares about you beneath the surface, regardless of what is found beneath!

Paula said...

Hi there lovely Sweet Pea

You've been tagged at http://paulassharingspot.blogspot.com/2008/09/tagged-by-tree.html.

So light-hearted fun to end the week on. Drop back over to my page and let me know if you've posted a list.

Love ya, Paula :-)

Tonya said...

Yes, it was Zach's right hand and he IS "right handed." He THOUGHT he was going to get off easy, but lucky him.. Mom is taking those notes for him! Hehehehe

I'm so proud of you for how you've been seeking GOD. Keep at it, Sister! Two scriptures come to mind...

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM and HE WILL direct your paths


Seek first the kingdom of GOD and HIS righteousness and all these "things" will be added unto you


Carol said...


I just wanted to come by and say how much your comments meant to me. I agree I wish we lived closer together.


Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

WOW, as always, your post is so true, and cuts right to the heart of the issue.

I so enjoyed your your: Deepest soul craving!! WOW...that we each would desire such a craving.

I'm so glad you are participating in the Bible Study.

I look forward to reading your thoughts on Chapter 2.

Karyn said...

Thanks for this blog. I'm always so encouraged to see how God is using sites such as this one.

Sita said...

Hi Paula,
Just discovered your blog. Sent you an email. Thanks.