Stain Glass Masquerade

May 5, 2017

Nothing makes me lonelier than pasting on a smile and acting like everything’s fine when I’m falling apart. Of course, nothing’s worse than running into someone, asking how they are and twenty minutes later wondering what happened as they throw up drama all over you. (wish I wore a raincoat) So what are we to do?

I deeply desire authentic connection and doing life with people I can be real with. People who see the good, the bad, the ugly and love me anyway. I want that. The only way to get it is to open up and be vulnerable – which doesn’t always go well. I think that’s why so many of us suck it up and say the word “fine” when even good friends ask us how we are.

• We’ve been judged.
• We’ve been gossiped about.
• We’ve gotten the look that makes us instantly regret sharing.
• We’ve shared more than we intended and worry it will be repeated or worse get back to the person we’re in difficulty with.

We swear to ourselves we will never again open up like that. We will be quiet. We will be fine.

Some of the loneliest places for me have been in Christian circles - sorry but it's true. Click To Tweet

It seems like everyone has it together or knows the answer (whatever that means) and even have sayings I guess are supposed to eliminate problems for those brave enough to suggest them. Things like, “you just have to trust God” and “I’ll pray for you.” Okay…..thanks, I think. Band-aids over bullet holes is the phrase that comes to mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I want you to pray for me and I probably need to trust God. But what I really need is for you to enter my pain with me. Without solutions. Without sayings. Without an answer. I need you to hold my hand, give me a hug, tell me you’re sorry for what I’m going through. Genuinely ask about my situation and care about me.

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ He asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”      John 11:33-35 NIV

Jesus gets it. When His dear friend Lazarus died and Jesus arrived at his sister’s home, He didn’t offer platitudes. Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead, yet instead of band-aiding, He joined Mary in her pain.

Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book, “Changes that Heal” says: “If the true self is hiding, the false self takes over. The false self is the self that is conformed to this world. The false self is the self we present to others, the false front, if you will, that we put up for others to see. He goes on to say, “As long as the lying, false self is the one relating to God, others and ourselves, then grace and truth cannot heal us.”

I’m so thankful for those who genuinely love and care for me. Those who want to hear my stuff and won’t wrinkle their nose at the smell of my garbage. I also appreciate people willing to take a chance, be real and share their stuff. I don’t want to waste time going through the motions with surfacy, fake, blah blah blah. Opening up and being real often feels uncomfortable, even unsafe. Yet, if we wisely open up in appropriate settings (not while waiting in line at the grocery store) with reasonably healthy people, we’ll receive the greatest gift of all – real relationship, true connection and genuine love.

Is opening up with people worth the risk?

More about Liz

I'm a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid -off approach to life. (Brace yourself, this might hurt.)

10 Comments
    1. Hi Liz,
      I am so grateful that I have you and a few others to Open up to. I feel very blessed to have people I trust and know I am understood. I have however shared in small group settings and got the “Thanks for sharing” response and it felt empty. I do however know that a lot of times others don’t know what to say and maybe there really isn’t anything to say. Maybe “that sucks” would be better?
      I realize in life though you have to take a leap of faith and be Open and vulnerable. I have to think “its none of my business what others think of me” attitude. Don’t have that confidence all the time, but I try. If I never took the chance and opened up, I wouldn’t have found the people I have now that I trust and pour into.
      Thanks for writing from your heart and being so open and vulnerable. I love that about you!!!!!

      1. Thank you! Great comment and great points. I agree this isn’t possible with everyone or every group and even when we are brave enough to open up, it won’t always go well. Thank you for being one of my counnections and person I know I can always be real and myself with. I think because it is rare, it makes it all the more special. Thanks for reading and commenting – love you!

    1. This is the best article/commentary/heart-words/blog (!) I’ve read in a long time. Liz, this is perfect. I struggle with this opening up thing. It is risky, it is uncomfortable. Thank you for being so honest and real with your words! This is a keeper that I will read again, often. And I love the title!!

      1. Thanks Kellie! It means so much that you read my blog and took the time to comment. It is hard and uncomfortable to open up and when it’s not received well, painful. The alternative is life behind a wall. My prayer in writing this is to encourage all of us to take the risk wisely. Thank you again for reading and for your great comment!

    1. Hey….great reading. By the way….your writings work for guys too.
      Keep em coming!

      1. Thanks so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. ?

    1. LIz- amazing article and well written. We only have a short time on this earth and you are right. Especially as woman we need to be vulnerable-take the chance to be the real deal! True authenticity is a risk that I worth taking. My true self may not be pretty but it sure is truth and that truth seems to spread to others! Yes- authenticity spreads like wild flowers and at the end of the day is gorgeous , beautiful, magnificent and most important forever growing like wild flowers. THANKS so much for an amazing blog. I read each and every one!

      1. Wow – thanks Jay! That means a lot – one of the things I love about you is you are fearlessly yourself – so refreshing. Thank you for your encouraging comments – it is scary putting it out there but like you, at the end of the day, I have to be me. Thank you for reading and commenting – it truly means a lot to me.

    1. Yes, opening up is worth of risk when you find the right person/people to entrust yourself to. I think this is where the leading of the Holy Spirit comes in, guiding us to them or connecting us. I call it divine connections. As a partial introvert and one who also values authenticity, I appreciate your words. Can’t stand being fake! All of us have been burned in relx. We must continually take our pain to God, be wisernext time w/friends and cultivate those treasured friends we can be real with.

      1. Hi Kathryne! Thanks for all your great comments – I agree we can’t allow the negative experiences to wall us off – way too lonely. I love what you said about allowing the Spirit to guide us. I can’t stand fake either. Thank you for reading and adding to the conversation!

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