What I Learned About Keeping Secrets In 2011
Editor’s Note: Today we are hearing from Rachel, our Director of Mentoring. She tweets at @_rachchristine and blogs at Sincerely, Rachel Christine. I have some more words to share, but they’re at the end of this post! – Lauren
‘Transparency’ is a funny word because it is such a pretty-sounding word for something that makes you feel so very ugly. If you had asked me a few years ago if I was a transparent person, I would have said yes. I had close friends who knew me, and I was completely honest with them about every aspect of my life.
Except for the ugly things, of course; those I kept secret.
Truthfully, it didn’t cripple me to keep secrets. It was very easy to walk around projecting a life different than the one I was actually leading. On the outside, I pretended to be just like everyone else.
But in secret, my heart was planted on the shaky stones of the approval of men, and I struggled daily to believe I was worth more than they said I was.
It wasn’t until a dear friend sat me down and asked me a very hard question that I finally understood friendship. She said, “Rachel, what are you doing?” And with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I confessed to my friend.
The problem today is that we are afraid to ask hard questions to each other. And we are also afraid to live openly and honestly about the answers to those questions. We don’t talk about our “issues”. We don’t hear about someone’s battle with depression until they commit suicide. We don’t hear about someone’s struggle with lust until they have an affair. And my friend didn’t learn about my issues with acceptance until I got caught looking for love in all the wrong places.
This same friend wrapped up a rock, and gave it to me as a present. With it, she gave me a card that said, “I know you have a lot of hurt to work through, and I know it’s going to be tough. But I thought maybe you could use a friend to help you break down the glass house you’ve been living in.”
There’s a verse that has been lingering in my heart lately. In Matthew, Jesus is talking in parables, and he says this: “The kingdom of heaven is like buried treasure…” (Matt. 13:44)
I think we have piled so much stuff on top of what it was that Jesus preached, that now we have to actually dig to get down to it. And digging is a lot of work. We end up tired, and bruised, with dirt under our fingernails. That’s why we need help; we were made to need each other.
It has been a painful year of opening myself up, one stitch at a time. I’ve dug deeply in my soul, with friends by my side, and found the truth hidden beneath the layers of dirt I packed on. I’ve been ashamed, embarrassed, and so very sorry. However, I am learning this: I would rather be tired from working through it but completely free, than living in a glass house where I am scared to be anything other than perfect.
Ladies, we have to dig for truth, and we have to grasp for community. And we have to do it together. To confess to each other as we are called to do is a very scary, hard thing.
We have to advocate for sisterhood and raw relationships.
We have to ask hard questions and expect our friends to ask us some back.
We have to be accountable to someone other than ourselves; it brings life and truth and the community that Jesus called us to.
The good news – we can start right now. Make it a goal to fight for community because you are worth the freedom that comes with it.
The kingdom of heaven is buried treasure. And it is so worth digging for.
A P.S. From Lauren: One of the main reasons I founded the Good Women Project was to begin this kind of community. This kind of friendship and openness. For your new year’s resolution this year, will you consider digging in and getting honest with a woman you respect? It requires you going out of your way to reach back into the church, the community, a small group, a recovery group, or even a friend you already have. But it’s crucial to the future of your heart. This upcoming year, commit to grow in the light, with someone else. Also, I’d love to ask you to think about making yourself available to another girl. Will you check out our mentoring program? In 2012 we’ll be introducing something new to our mentoring program: A panel of women who are able to answer your questions on intimate, broken things – when you don’t have this kind of women in your life. If you’d like to be on this panel, please let us know.
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