Wednesday, October 29, 2008

To Conceal or To Be Real

Let's continue with Lisa as we look at the cosmetics for the soul in chapter six and then the feelings we conceal in chapter seven.

Lisa says "we have become experts at concealing things that we feel need to keep hidden; otherwise, we fear we may not be accepted or loved...concealment of our souls robs us of meaningful interactions with people."

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. Psalm 145:16

It's not whether we can conceal or what we can conceal. It boils down to that God doesn't want us to conceal but rather to be real. It starts with being real with ourselves and God, then with others.

I will uncover his hiding places, so that he cannot conceal himself. Jeremiah 49:10

I have experienced real identity theft through my credit report but I've also experienced emotional identity theft. Lisa says "we are losing our identities in the form of our souls." In my marriage, I was held captive by my emotions, satan, and pain. I didn't even know it was happening. Just like Lisa says, it snuck up on me. "We are a day late and a dollar short...full of regret and excuses." (But God has the right change and He's never late so He can more than make up in what we are short.) My heart was hardened and my true emotional state was stolen. Satan deceived. Satan stole. It wouldn't be fair to put all the blame and responsibility on the evil one. I chose to listen to his lies and fall trapped to his deceit but it snuck up on me. I never woke up one day and said, okay satan I see it your way. I didn't even know it was satan playing with me and deceiving me. He's now doing that exact same thing to someone else and this person doesn't know it either. That's satan's power...he's sneaky. A person being deceived by satan does not know he's being deceived!!! That's when God's power comes in, takes over, and removes the blindness caused by the enemy's deceit.

The greatest deceiver himself, satan, has an influence on our big cover up. He is the first to tell us we need to conceal our heart and soul. He speaks to us every reason why we must hide ourselves. Satan is waiting for us to fall into his trap of deceit. As if our self-esteem and self worth is not low enough on our own, satan likes to reinforce that. I hear his lies to me but it takes God's love and His Truth to overpower those lies. "You are not good enough, Paula. You could never be what you dream, Paula. You are not loveable, Paula. You are not worthy, Paula. You have messed up too much, Paula. How will you ever make it right, Paula?"

Society also encourages us to stay hidden. It provides products and services that only aid in the cover up but not to attack the source of the problems nor be real with God and others. Why is society so ready and willing to jump at the chance to aid in our concealment? Because, society is also the one who tells us we must be perfect....emotionally, financially, relationally, spiritually. Oh no, not spiritually because society is not the least concerned with spiritual concerns. So, because we must be perfect, and we are not, then we enter this vicious cycle of concealing.

There's a self help book for every issue. Self-help indicates we can help ourselves with no need of God. Instead, God should be our primary focus and source for help. There is always someone ready and available to diagnose and provide the great and mighty solution. The truth is only God can do that.

Our personal choices also influence what we conceal. My personal choices have reinforced my failures. My biggest and most regrettable mistakes reign in my heart. Those choices make me want to crawl into a hole. Those choices make me wonder how my wrongs will ever be made right. I want to hide my choices because of my shame. Yet, I know I'm forgiven by Christ so others should not judge me nor even those offended by me should withhold forgiveness. But we are human, so I fear I will never be able to live beyond those terrible choices.

Lisa says "our disappointment has caused us to be increasingly displeased with our current situation, and therefore we feel as if we've gotten the short end of the stick in life. Everyone else's journey seems smoother, more exciting, and enviably fulfilling." (Emphasis added.) Beside her words, I wrote this: ding, ding, ding. It seems when we find ourselves in this state, we can literally see something better, smoother, and joyful in every other person's life no matter what their circumstances. As pathetic as it is and horrific as it sounds, I'm going to be real and honest. Real honest. I've even been able to rationalize in my mind how someone with cancer or a debilitating illness has it better than me. At the beginning of my painful journey, I said I'd rather be so-and-so who has cancer but she has the love of her life with her, her beloved husband, her true love (from a human, that is). That is so wrong and sounds sick that I'd trade my situation with a woman who has an illness but has her husband.

O God...my soul thirsts for you...in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1
Lisa is so right when she says "God is always merciful and just, even when He gets really ticked off sometimes with the way we act." Now, ain't that the cotton-pickin' truth. I'm sure the Lord has wanted to ring my neck. I'm sure He's wanted to say "I told you so. I warned you. You didn't listen." But, He has not done that. He has been nothing but loving, forgiving, and merciful. How would I be? How am I? Am I merciful and just when I'm mad and ticked off. Nope, I don't measure up as well. God is showing me how to react more like Him.

So what are we concealing? Lisa addresses the four feelings we conceal: insecurity, jealousy, loneliness, and fear.

Lisa says "We usually do our best to conceal the truth from others. Why? Because of our feelings, we try to conceal these things from others in order to hide what is painful to admit even to ourselves." Oh, how I know exactly what she is saying. I've been there. I couldn't admit to myself the pain I now see had been driving me for two years. I guess it's fair to say, to a degree, I still hide some of these four feelings at times. Although, through this trial in the last year and a half, I've openly admitted these feelings. I've told several blog friends that I envy their marriages and the devotion of their husbands. I openly admit I'm lonely and long for love only found in a marital relationship. I've spoken briefly about my insecurities and struggles with low self-esteem at times. Fears, they are there also and have been admitted to others at times.

Insecurity. I believe insecurity comes from satan. We are secure in Christ if we are believers so He will not make us feel insecure. Low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and uncertainty are all the tools satan uses to convince us further of lies about ourselves. Those lies in turn, we must fight to conceal. Satan tells us we are insecure but we don't want to be insecure so we conceal that we are insecure so we don't have to admit we are insecure because we don't want others to know we might have insecurities. On and on and on we go. Boy, I can sure relate to Lisa's statement of causing "us to feel as though we are not as good as the next girl." Oh sister, have I been there. Insecurity can lead to something even more dangerous. What?

Jealousy. With jealousy we talk about friendships. I so hate to say it but I do agree when Lisa says "the reality is that adult females can be more dramatic than any teenage grudge or petty argument." Teens do get over "the issue" a lot quicker than adult women. I've experienced so much hurt from female friends, more than I ever thought possible. I never knew the reality of Lisa's statement until the last couple years. She goes on to say "true friendships are often very difficult to find and much more difficult to actually keep." Wow. Lisa, that hurts. That's scary. That's sad. Tell me it's not so. I've always said I wish I had a sister because then I would have a friend for life because even in fights we'd have to eventually make up. A sister would never abandon me, right? I'm sure many women have experienced estrangement from sisters but in my head, that's why I always wished for a sister, an instant BFF (best friend forever). Jonathan and David give us a wonderful example of friendship in 1 Samuel 18:1-4. What did they have that we may not? They were committed to God, they "let" nothing come between them, trials drew them together not apart and they were BFF...to the very end. aha. I desire to follow their extraordinary example. Let's commit to doing it their way.

Loneliness. Is it possible to be in a crowd full of people, even family and loved ones, and still be lonely? Oh yes. I don't mean in a concert crowd. I mean in a crowd of those we love the most, those who are dear and special to us, we can still feel such deep loneliness. I'm guessing many people will feel intense loneliness with the upcoming holidays. I dread them this year. For some reason, this year will be worse than last year or least it feels that way right now. I'm always open for God knocking my socks off and surprising me with supernatural peace during these months. I love how Lisa says "loneliness may make the loudest noise, but it can't hinder the mighty arms of God from reaching down and picking up a broken soul who's all alone in the middle of a lonely night." I have discovered that for His arms to do this, at times we have to be committed to looking for Him and His arms before we can receive that comfort. In the depths of my pain, I have missed His presence at time because of the overwhelming pain.

Fear. I think this feeling is the feeling that brought up the least amount of emotions for me. Yes, I have fears. Physical fears of one said creature who has no legs and slivers. Eek. I have emotional fears of desires possibly not brought to life. I have fears of loved ones not receiving Jesus. I equate fears to worry. If we fear something we are really just worrying about it. Lisa put it beautifully: "God recognizes that as finite humans, we fear things we shouldn't. But He has compassion on us because He knows we do anyway." How beautiful is that? He has compassion on us anyway. Anyway!

Let me close this novel (ha) with Lisa's last words. "Whether we are feeling insecure, jealous, lonely, or afraid, our precious Father desires to hold us and tell us we are worthy, important, gifted, never alone, and never to fear. He longs to uncover these feelings we hide so that we can find out who we are, once and for all...without all the concealer." (Emphasis added.)

If you'd like to see what others have to say, visit
Lelia.

Being Uncovered,

19 comments:

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

You mentioned friendship in your post on my blog...kind of sad when our most dear friends seem to be our blog friends. Don't take me wrong, I cherish you all but like you, there is a void for that 1:1 friendship. There is pain in the loss we have expereinced. My "Colleen" lost contact with me withmy divorce also. So for now, I relish in our friendship, thank God for sending my blog friends and support to me and I am sending a big blog hug!!

I'll be back to read your post...limited time tonight!

In His Graces~Pamela

Liz said...

Paula,
When I read your blog, I can so relate...as you know from reading mine. The envy swelled within me when reading of the friendship between Lisa and Colleen. I had that with my friend, or so I thought. The pain is awful and I want to just scream, "What is wrong with us that we can't just simply enjoy our friendship and honor God!" Instead, I am left with a hole that it seems only God can fill - certainly His plan. I still pray that the desire will be filled again, though and in the meantime, I choose be be real, honest, and allow God to satisfy my every desire. Thank you for the sweet comment.
Liz

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Paula~As always....your posts are SO jammed packed full of such wonderful meat, that it takes me DAYS to digest! ;-)

God has TRULY blessed you with a special gift.....use it girl.

I'm so blessed to see what God is doing not only in my life through this Bible Study, but also....through the lives of those participating. :-)

nothingcanseparateme said...

Paula,

You have put so much in your blog to "chew on".

That satan is a sneaky one isn't he?? Like you said about your marriage--"I was held captive by my emotions, satan, and pain. I didn't even know it was happening." We as christians have to have a 6th sense of awareness about that satan--he is crouched and waiting to pounce at all times.

Thank you for sharing your heart in regards to your lonliness. It seems that with all that you have "lost" the gain of insight and fellowship with the Father has grown and that was and is HIS plan.

blessings to you & hugs,
Kim

Kristen said...

Oh Paula... you have poured yourself out in this post! He is healing you, He is equipping you.

Something you wrote struck a cord with me...

"Satan deceived. Satan stole. It wouldn't be fair to put all the blame and responsibility on the evil one."

I thought about that statement and how so many people do try and put all the blame on satan. Giving him even more power. Satan doesn't care if we blame him, he doesn't care how much we hate him. All he cares about is getting even with God. And if he can take one's focus away from God, he will do it... and that means taking the blame for all our hardships. We do that... and we turn into ourselves and cooperate with the deceiver.

Sweet sister... you are living beyond the choices you made that weren't the best, you are putting yourself in the hands of the Almighty for healing.

God bless you!
Love,
Kristen

Abbasgirl said...

I have found after several years in the healing ministry fear and loneliness seem to be the issues I pray about with prayer recipients the most often. I think satan really uses these things to shut down our emotions and get us to listen to him over the Lord.

Amy said...

Paula, this is a beautiful, humble, and honest post. I completely identified with all of the emotions that you covered. And I love this statement: "He has compassion on us anyway. Anyway!" I have said those same words so many times, God knew before the world was created all the mistakes that I would make, but He created me anyway! Amen? ;)

Big hugs to you,
Amy:)

On Purpose said...

Dear Sweet and Precious Paula, God loves you and He is tapping His foot to a sweet tune that your heart is sending out. Its a tune of healing and restoration! Please know that Him uncovering you is part of His perfect gracefilled story that is personalized just for you! And His great big and bold signature is signed to the end. For you are so open with your journey...which is not easy, and the pain and suffering you are enduring...He won't waste a bit of it! Your obedience is worth eternity my friend. Please know I am praying for you and the loneliness. It is so hard to be here on earth and 'feel' like we are walking this life alone. I am praying He makes you very aware of Himself at all times...and that He will take that loneliness and fill you with more of Himself! Amen!

Love to you my friend and prayers up to Him!

Cheri Bunch said...

Sweet Paula~
I am sorry that you are hurting so right now. This too shall pass. I have been through many devastating and hurting seasons in my life and I can honestly testify that I am a survivor........and the Lord has restored many fortunes to me.

One thing that I have prayed during these very difficult times is that the enemy would have to pay back 100 fold everything that he even tried to steal from us. I also pray that he will have many regrets for ever trying to touch this family.

I am going to pray that you will have a season of great joy soon!
One time I was hurting a great deal in the middle of the night and I remembered that verse "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." I said to the Lord, "It is 2:30, Lord, we call that morning here!"

Your testimony is going to be something, girl!

I am praying for you! Thank you for being real!!!!!

Blessings,
Cheri

valerie said...

Thank you for the sweet post on my blog.
Just keep this friend of mine and his family in your prayers. I'm not sure what's going to take place. His wife is such a godly woman and very much wants to be obedient to God and do the right thing. It's a very sad situation.
I will keep you in my prayers too.
Nothing is too hard for God and there's nothing he cannot do.
I did have a very nice get-away with the girls. We all needed it.
Talk to you soon.
Love,
Valerie

Laura said...

Wow, Paula. This goes so deep. God is really doing some work in you and through you through this book! I really sat upright while reading the first part of your post. You speak of Satan as a sneaky thing, who deceives us without us even knowing. Right now I'm doing Beth Moore's When Godly People do Ungodly Things Bible study and it is about this very thing. If you haven't done this study, Paula, I recommend it strongly.
I love your honesty and openness through this entire post, dear friend. I know how your heart has been broken. I just ache at the thought of what you have endured. But my heart dares to feel some joy in this too, for I know that God is creating a Masterpiece through all of this.
You are such a special lady.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
luv,
laura

Pat said...

Paula,
I love visiting your blog. You are so real and such a sponge for Gods' Word and His Work. You are a joy to get to know.
This post is full of truth and great seed for thought.
My blessings to you Sweet Lady!!
Pat

Sharon said...

Paula,
You have done it again my sister, I feel your pain as you are releasing it here, and I can't stop the flow of my tears. There are times while I read I feel the angry, but most of all I feel your pain. You know we all wish we could help, "Like myself~~ I just would like to chat with him maybe shake him up alittle," But we know that will do no good as well. I will continue to pray for the both of you. Love you my friend!!
Be Blessed'
Sharon

Carol said...

My Dear Sweet Paula,

I just want to hug you right now. I felt every word of your post, we have traveled some similar roads.

This is powerful, raw and honest. Your description of how sneaky satan is, and yet we listen and sometimes don't even know it's him. God is restoring and rebuilding your heart, and helping so many others do the same through the words you share here.

I'm so greatful that God has crossed our path even if it's in blog land, someday we'll all be feasting together with no more hurt and sorrow together.

And by the way if you ever want to have Christmas or any other holiday in Cali, our home is yours.

love you much,
Carol

Joyfulsister said...

"loneliness may make the loudest noise, but it can't hinder the mighty arms of God from reaching down and picking up a broken soul who's all alone in the middle of a lonely night.

Powerful Paula..
Thank you for sharing your heart on your visit today. I know many who will read your commen will be able to relate to what you shared.I am truly thankful that the Lord can fill that hole in our soul in a way that people or things can't do.

Hugz Lorie

jillian4 said...

Thank you for being real.....God is working in you in a mighty way, I have to agree with the others....Your words speak truth in my heart and I appreciate you stepping forward and releasing it all. It is hard, this road is hard, it is a journey and I so want the pain and heartache to end. Sometimes I feel so incredibly stupid to believe that it will, I feel foolish, I want to get to the realization that GOd is there ready to pick me up....But it is so easy to have a setback and start all over on that rollercoaster. I find myself asking why is this happening GOd? How in the world is this glorifying you, especially whem the outcome looks so bleak and hopeless? But who are we to question God? So I appreciate your post, because it is packed with truth. Truth that I want to avoid, but truth I need to hear. Sometimes, especially now, it is just so hard to grip onto Him. But seeing you and listening to you and seeing that you have been down that road helps me. So thank you

Leebird said...

I was just talking with an old friend about how divorced people used to be pretty unwelcome in church. Oh how I hope that has changed. Praying for the joy of an amazing BFF to come your way when you least expect it!

Love, Lee

Lisa said...

Paula...
I didn't get to the Yes to God posts this week, as "life" happened. :) But I came here to let you know that I replied back to your earlier comment on my blog. I hope you'll go over and read it. Thank you for sharing openly your true feelings and struggle to crave God exclusively while wanting to define your circumstances. Girlfriend, I hear you.

I might have come over with one intention, but I am leaving with a blessed heart. I loved this post -- not because it was a "feel good" read, but because it was true, honest and real. I loved it because it talked about things that are just real life. You didn't try to tie it up with a neat little bow. You just shared your heart. And it blessed me, literally, to tears. I find your struggle relatable. I hope this comment somehow encourages you to see how God is using even your struggle to glorify Him. That's a hard pill to swallow, I know. You are truly living the spiritual principle of "not my will, but yours, Lord." Does that mean you don't struggle? No. Does it mean you love your cicumstance? No. No expectations of perfection, Paula. Just surrender. Oh, it's painful, isn't it?

Keep Him in your sights, sister.
Lisa

hkudla said...

Paula,
I read your comments over on Lisa's post, and wanted to leave you a quick note here. I know, and understand the feelings of, "if God is supposed to be enough, then why isn't he? (why doesn't it feel like it?)
My dear friend, I hurt for you. There are so many ways the enemy tries to tear us down... so many ways to make us feel inferior, unloveable, wrong, bad, etc. He tries to steal our joy and peace, and even our sense of identity in Christ. He definitly tries to keep us from realizing, sensing, knowing in our heads and hearts that our Jesus is enough, more than enough for us, no matter what happens in our lives... no matter if things change, or if things never change.
I struggle with that so much, in several different areas of my life... but God has proven in some areas that He is enough there, so why wouldn't He be enough in those others? I don't know, but sometimes I can't carry it over to other areas.
My best friend wrote a post about God being enough, and I thought you might be interested... I have written about it in several of my more recent posts, because it is a theme that keeps coming up in our lives... over and over the past few months.
here is the link:
http://cindybeecher.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/is-god-is-more-than-enough-for-you/

May God bless you and know that I am praying for you...
Love,
Heather