Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Authentic & Transparent

I don't know about you but it's hard for me to be transparent. I am fairly authentic. To me that means I am real, I love people and I care about people but sometimes I should be more transparent. Transparent meaning really sharing my heart with people. Sharing my day to day struggles - helping those who are going through something similar. There are many ways to be both authentic and transparent. Ironically enough, the people that have touched me the most deeply are the ones that have shared the most with me. So you would think that would teach me to be more transparent in return right?

But I still struggle. What if they knew this about my past? What if they knew this about what I struggle with now? What if...the what if's strangle me at times.

But the past is what it is. The past. The struggles I face today are definitely struggles but they don't definite.

I know that.

But I still struggle.

Today on my weight loss surgery group we were talking about therapy. For some reason therapy is fairly taboo. Even in Christian circles. I get the sense that many people feel like failures if they need therapy. I find the opposite to be true. It takes enormous strength and preseverance to start and continue through therapy.

As someone who has been in therapy since November 08 I can say it's really changed my life. And yep I'm still going and probably will for a while. I go to ACU's Marriage and Family Living Center. When I first checked into therapy I found out quickly I couldn't afford it as we didn't have insurance. I was quoted any where from $50-$80 a session. Who can afford that? We still have unpaid medical bills. But I started calling around and found ACU. They based it on our income. Step 1 complete. Then I became really nervous about going. What was this person going to think of me? They were grad students - yes supervised - but grad students. What could they know? Mistake - I prejudged. Don't I dislike it when someone prejudges me? Isn't that what I am afraid of when I think of people knowing about my past?

I went - and met T. My first impression was he had a great smile, was pretty cute, not as young as a typical grad student but I still wondered - ok God really? What can he know?

I was wrong. And thankfully so. T has an amazing sense of knowing what I need to hear and God just uses him to effortlessly pull information from me. He does his job well. He listens, he cares, he encourages - he provides me that safe place of where I can be who I really am. There are days I go thinking I don't need or want to talk about anything and yet I find myself pouring out. He gives me practical ideas, he listens and more importantly he encourages me through some dark moments. The darkness seems so impenetratable but it only takes a sliver of light to break the seal the darkness has.

So now it's 8 months later and therapy is progressing. I can truthfully say therapy is the best thing I 've done for myself with my sleeve (weight loss surgery) barely 2nd. I say it's the best because it's healing my emotions and mind from the trauma of the past. With the sleeve I've only healed my body but with the two together I am healing my soul.

So that brings me back to transparency. I have to be honest and say for now I am not ready to shout to the world about my struggles and pain. Yet I know God is leading me that direction thus I am coming to peace with it. But I am ready to share in the right settings. That is transparency. I am ready to share how therapy and surgery changed my life. If I meet someone with similar struggles I think I could be open and share with them what helped me. That's transparency. I don't want to hide behind pretty words and cliches and platitudes. I've worked hard at making my life special. I deserve that. It's exciting for me to believe that and I really do believe that. And if you're reading this - know you deserve that.

So my friend - where are you today? Do you need to strive to be more authentic and transparent daily life? In Christianity today it's so often so easy just to be "fine" and not be real and keeping drudging along lonely and even more sad and confused. Fine - the Christian F word. Are you fine? Are you willing to be set in your current pattern by not willing to be able to step out from behind the mask and show a glimpse of who you really are and what your needs really are?

Maybe you just need to talk to a friend. Or your spouse. Or a mentor or a pastor. Or even a therapist. But I hope something today encourages you to be real. Encourages you to embrace yourself and realize how beautiful and special you are and to walk in that beauty.

In closing I want to share something that I often repeat out loud when I am feeling despicable and want to hide from the world. These words are so very true. Repeat them outloud. Several times in fact. I've printed them and keep them where I can see them as a constant remember. Say it until you believe it.

I am a unique and glorious creation of infinite worth & potential. I am valued and loved beyond my comprehension. (Repeated from a meditation by Stin Hansen).


Lori said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your heart Leah! You inspire me to be more transparent and authentic! I, too, have a hard time with that!
Thank you for blessing me with your friendship.

Tammy M. said...

Great post Leah.

the undomesticated wife said...

Therapy can be so helpful and is not shameful. I think it's good to talk it out with someone who is neutral from a situation and can really help guide you and help you see things maybe in a way you didn't before!

Brenda-Ann said...

What a wonderful and inspirational post! Thank you for your words. They definitely give me something about which to think.

Whitney said...

Being more transparent is definitely something I need to work on!

I'm so glad you have such a wonderful counselor!