Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Transparency



There’s something really attractive about transparency. Stop and think about a transparent person who you know and respect. Don’t you find that admirable? I do. The reality of what one might be dealing with isn’t necessarily beautiful but the authenticity about it is. It truly is a testimony. When a person is genuine in a raw yet humble way, people are drawn to that. We live in a twisted society where the images and standards that the media portrays is far from authentic, it’s a façade. And in the rat race of too many people trying to keep up with the Joneses, great comfort can be found when a person chooses to take off the mask and keep it real...

I used to be much more of a forthright person but after facing a lot of heartache over the years, I see (in oh-so-clear hindsight) how I became a little less transparent. I don’t think it was a conscious choice, because I never wanted to be fake. But I was so wounded that I couldn’t see clearly and basically retreated. Sometimes it took too much energy to try. Sometimes, because I thought about stuff so much, I didn’t even realize I wasn’t being transparent because the conversation was going on in my head - as strange as that sounds - so I felt like some things were being shared because they were on the forefront of my mind. (forgive the major run-on sentence). I think it’s probably only in the last year that my confidence is being restored and I’ve become more self-aware about difficulty to verbalize where I was/am. It’s pretty wild to have new revelations about myself. I’m continually learning more and more.

I have been blessed with many amazing friends over the years and I truly cherish the wonderful people God has placed in my path. And in those quality relationships, I don’t struggle to share my heart once I can put it into words. In my "Aha!" moments over the years, I have become aware that I process things internally and that it takes a little while to be able to articulate how I feel. But once I know how to say it, I almost always talk with one of my trusted friends. It is a gift to have access to such special people.

There are times to be private about things and there are other times to be more bold, especially if it means that another person can be blessed and God be glorified. Discernment is imperative, of course, and obviously there is a time and a season for everything which only the Holy Spirit can reveal. But where it pertains to this little space (where I spend quite a bit of time), I can see where I haven’t always been the most transparent. It’s often because I want to use wisdom in how things are shared here (especially when it involves others) but nevertheless, as I look back over five years of blogging, my tough times have been rather vague in print. I’m a firm believer that transparency doesn’t equal volunteering every tidbit of information about a situation. But it does mean intentionally keeping it real. And in this season of writing, I sense that’s where I need to grow.

So, what the heck does all this mean? Probably nothing but a lengthy blog post to those of you who may have actually made it this far reading this. But everything to me because this is an area I need to trust the Lord and step out in faith in - especially as I pursue writing as a career. I’m not about to drop some crazy bomb on yous, but I share all this because I’m recognizing, as I write about other things offline, that I need to be more open online.

I’ll start by sharing this... Every now and again I fall off the blogging grid. It’s certainly not because I want to. (In fact, it makes me crazy when I don't keep up!) There’s always something bouncing around in my noggin to write about. The reason is actually because I haven’t been feeling too great for some time now. A few weeks ago I posted about my 48-hour EEG (along with my “lovely” photo) and thankfully all the reports came back as good ones. I praise God that the results from every test I’ve taken (and there have been many) have come back normal. The only thing is I don’t feel normal at all.

Now, let me preface by saying... I'm not writing all this to have a complain-fest, because I know there are many people going through debilitating, chronic circumstances. It's also not a flowery invitation to a pity party. I'm sharing this because of my need to be honest here at pressing on towards the goal. You see, the reality is that my symptoms do affect my life. Aside from the dizziness, aches, brain fog (I've never in my life been such a space cadet) and growing list of other weird stuff that comes upon me at some point throughout the day, the fatigue I experience is really rough. And it sucks because all those things impact my everyday living and hinder me from being as effective as I could/should be. For example, it's taken me days to write this. Days! Here I am, supposed to be focusing my efforts on writing more and I can barely knock out a blog post.

God has been incredible faithful and gracious. I'm very aware of that. I am so grateful to have health insurance, an encouraging family, and a stable living situation. I'm able to focus on truly getting well, not just putting a band-aid on whatever the heck is going on. I've had the time to go to many doctors appointments and physical therapy and start the transition into a gluten-free diet (withdrawals are just "awesome" ... eyes rolling). I never would have been able to do that while working a 9-5. However my default, human, sinful nature answer is not automatically one of rejoicing though. And since this is about being transparent, I must share that it's been a battle, not just physically but spiritually and emotionally as well.

A big (yet sometimes subtle) battle is in the mind. There are times when people hear my test results have been normal and say, "See, it's nothing." They mean well but I've beaten myself for not being able to shake off this fatigue/ailment. Or I think I'm going crazy because nothing appears to be wrong. Or condemn myself up because I can't accomplish as much or more as others with the extra time I have. Especially when hearing or reading about people who pride themselves in how they've been able to accomplish 1000 things in a day, work overtime, go to school full-time, raise a family, cook dinner, feed the hungry, and conquer the world ... all with food poisoning, a migraine, a sprained ankle, and painted nails.

Seriously!? The temptation is to make that person's overachieving abilities the norm and look at myself like a major underachiever. I confess that I've given into that temptation and that stress of that unnecessary weight does nothing to help me feel better.

Several weeks ago, God showed me where I was off in my thinking. I was focusing on others (instead of the Lord) and comparing myself to them instead of embracing the path He has me on (and the many blessings in the midst). And there's been a shift since then. And a sense of peace. Yes, there are days I feel bad. Tonight was really rough physically for me. But I don't feel horrible every single moment of every single day so when I'm feeling decent, I try to take advantage of it. I can't pull back from everything in fear that I'm going to not be well. I need to persevere and do what I know to do to get better. But, on the flip side, I can't condemn myself for not being able to do more. Or hide behind a smile and act like I feel wonderful. It's simply where I'm at. It's a season and won't be this way forever.

I could go on to try and make more sense of my ramblings to you but it's late (and it would probably mean another week until this is posted!) But I wanted this to be my testimony this Tuesday because, even in the midst of all that I'm dealing with, God is still good and is keeping me. I am able to honestly say that His grace is sufficient and His peace is with me. I continue to fix my eyes on Jesus. He is my Healer and will make me whole. I rest and rejoice in Him.

I press on towards the goal.


Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:12-14


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. - Philippians 4:4-9





3 comments:

Sarah said...

Love this post and love you more! (ahem, guest post). Im so happy the results were normal but Im praying that you find some relief and answers soon!!! love!

Jennifer Roth said...

Love YOU even more! Thanks for the prayers. And I guess it's time to start that guest post draft. (You better get started on yours!)

Can't wait to SEE you soon! Love you! XOXO

Lis said...

Well put, friend. I was reading and kept saying, "Ditto," in my head over and over. I feel where you are comin from.