To hell with the lies of self-protection and safe transparency.
Here is the paradox: the more safe I attempt to keep myself, in reality, the more destruction I bring to my life and the lives around me.
If you know me at all you probably have come to the conclusion that I’m a pretty direct, transparent person.
You know what’s ironic though? Sometimes I can use the guise of transparency to cover up for things I don’t want to be completely transparent about. Because if I’m always this super open person you probably won’t challenge me or ask the scary words, “So, is there anything else? Is that all?”
To be honest? I fear blogging. It scares me to death. Often I’m at the point of pushing the Publish button and think, “Do I really want to do this? I really don’t want to do this. STAHP!” Every time I post something I want to crawl under my bed and hide for a few days, hoping I never run into anyone that read what I just wrote (case in point: right now).
But I know I’m supposed to write. I’m supposed to share my experiences and thoughts and feelings. Not because they’re extraordinary, but because they’re, well… ordinary. Transparency helps you and everyone around you realize that you’re not alone, that you’re not an exception to the rule.
Somehow, though, we’ve bought into the lie that to keep ourselves from hurt or harm we need to be safe and protected and arms-length. We need to keep our feelings and thoughts and desires and needs behind this wall, making sure that they are completely explainable and untouched. If no one sees, if no one knows, if we work through it on our own until the problem is solved, then nobody else will be unnecessarily burdened with my issues and I will feel better that I was able to come through on the wings of God’s grace. Praise the Lord, he took care of me.
Lies. all lies.
I don’t want anyone to get behind my wall without my control and see what’s there, to admit that I went through depression my senior year of high school, that somebody’s verbal abuse actually injured me and I struggle with not making that my reality, that I almost didn’t make rent last month, that God clearly spoke to me about moving me into a new season of marriage and I’m struggling with the fact that it hasn’t happened yet, that I’m dying for a lack of continual community and intentional relationships.
I claim it’s “I don’t want to bother someone else with my problems and I’m just going to keep this to myself,” when actually I’m too proud to admit I’m needy and that I don’t have it all-together and that I’m really weak because then you might think less of me.
It’s the most dishonest conversation that happens every day:
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine. How are you?”
That’s a good one. I’m awesome at this. I say “I’m fine,” in passing and quickly get the attention off myself by asking a question about the other person, as if I’m really interested in them (which I probably am), but in reality I don’t want them to ask any follow-up questions. I’m a terrible liar so I steer clear of conversations I don’t want to be completely honest about.
But here’s the thing: God plans to meet my needs, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, through other people. It doesn’t honor God when I keep things to myself because I’m afraid to open up to others. Many many times I have realized that I prayed and prayed to God for help and an answer, and immediately afterwards I run into somebody. And they have the solution to answer my problem.
Sometimes I make God and answers so complicated. Like it’s going to be this anonymous gift or writing in the sky. Maybe he sent that friend to sit with you over coffee to give you a chance to be transparent about your need so that they could give you the help you were asking God for. God likes for his children to be Jesus to one another.
So find a community and open up those secret rooms of your heart and life. And I’m struggling with this right now because it feels like every effort I have taken to involve myself with intentional relationships and community has tanked. Between my schedule, unexpected circumstances, and general life, it’s like I have no time for what I feel like I absolutely need, a place where I can consistently open up in an encouraging, loving environment. Any suggestions?
So that’s where I’m at. I’m just a normal person that drank the koolaid of safe transparency for way too long and now I’m waging war on it every day in various ways, ie, taking defiant actions like writing this blog. I wish it were easy. It’s not. But it sure is relieving. And in the end, it’s actually the safest place in the world to be.
There. It’s out there. The post on transparency.
Now excuse while I go curl up in a fetal position and die. Call me if you want to chat over coffee or something.
Keep the blog posts coming! 🙂 I look forward to them. Thanks for being transparent. The “how are you? Good. How are you?” has always seemed a little silly to me, but it is culturally expected. Which is why I look forward to the coffee shop chats/late night chats with friends! 🙂 I’m there with ya on the need for community. Slowly trying to find that here in CA.