They Do Exist.

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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14 Responses

  1. So beautifully written and something I know I need to get better at as well. Thank you.

    December 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  2. This is a beautiful, challenging post. Trusting Jesus is kind of like doing the trust fall at summer camp. It's scary and for a second it feels like you aren't going to be caught…Trusting Him enough to let yourself be vulnerable with other believers is no different.

    December 12, 2011 at 6:08 pm

  3. jamiegall1930

    Oh I need people like her in my life, truly!

    December 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

  4. Such a good post! Completely agree and it's truly time for us ladies to get real with each other. :) I need someone like that in my life and God willing it shall happen! :)

    December 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

  5. simplysweet

    I really love this post and this has always been something I desired. Now can someone please tell me where to find friends like this? Don't get me wrong my church family is awesome but I find it hard to find, especially female friends that are willing to be raw and real.

    December 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm

  6. bornsirius

    I am currently in process of opening up about the same issue – attraction to/attention from men. And I so needed this encouragement tonight! I have a support group I attend and they have been invaluable in this process. But it has been a painful one and it was so good to hear that I am not the only one in it and the only one brave enough to push on. Thank you so much for sharing, you gave me courage!

    December 13, 2011 at 12:27 am

  7. Yes! This kind of raw, real, in my face friendship was a turning point in my personal and spiritual life. This precious friend would NOT BACK DOWN and not let me continue to believe lies. She was instrumental in leading me through true salvation, but it only happened because she stuck with me and because I learned to be real.

    Interested in the panel. Have plenty of intimate, broken things made new, and plenty of intimate, broken things in progress :-)

    December 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  8. This was a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing it and speaking what needs to be said about vigorously pursuing honesty in our friendships. I'm not always good at this. It's been many long years of doing the hard work to be vulnerable about who I am, how I struggle and what truths I most need others to speak into my life. We cannot go it alone. We need to continue to preach the gospel to ourselves and others – I LOVED this: "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." So, so true! This was precious to read today. Thank you!

    I, too, am interested in the panel. Would love to hear more.

    December 13, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  9. This is so good, Rachel. I have women like this in my life, and they are blessings beyond compare. It's a big part of what made me want to become a mentor here. Sometimes you can be a blessing just by showing up. xo

    December 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm

  10. Tonna

    This was amazing. I believe that God is placing it on my heart for my friends and I to be more accountable to one another. We've known each other for years; yet, we're all walking around with these "masks" on…hiding our "secrets" from each other. That's not authentic…and I know that in order to get the girls to open up that I'm going to be transparent first. God, give me the strength. Rachel, keep writing and blessing us! Amen.

    December 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  11. c mayer

    The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about what gift to give to Jesus in 2012. The last year has been the lowest and darkest part of my life…already a Christian…and even a leader in ministry. My story of healing and redemption is definitely far from over but God has shown me that Ive tried to control my life but taking comfort in deception. Deception has always been a safe place – no one can judge and I cant disappoint – if no one knows. This lie…this place of comfort…was a living hell and helped me build walls of glass houses. A double life keeps others at bay and you perfectly (yet unconsciously) isolated. My daily routines were unconscious reactions of self protection. What God has been showing me is that true comfort is found in transparency. True comfort and acceptance can only come by way of authentic relationships. When you are able to share 'the ugly' – as ive come to call it – and see Gods grace through others acceptance despite your sinful thoughts or actions – it only then that intimacy can happen and comfort is found. My goal for 2012 is to exude authenticity in every area of my life and not passively but purposefully. As leaders in ministry, its time we take the first step and show others what truth, grace, and redemption really looks like. I believe God is going to show up BIG! To live in deception and isolation robs ourselves and others of experiencing DIVINE POWER. Let's stop answering with "I'm fine and you?" lets get dirty…lets get ugly.

    December 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

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