Tammy Miller
January 21, 2020

“A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”
-Maya Angelou

When I saw this quote I read it several times – it resonates so deeply as the new way that I am trying to live my life. It’s a new way of thinking. Our thoughts create our results. It takes time to create change. This is a way that I have been intentionally trying to live for several years, and of course I am a work in progress and I always will be because hey, I’m human. I have seen and felt the freedom that comes with being real – authentic and transparent. There is a lot of freedom that comes from being real and allowing yourself to truly be seen. However, I painfully realize that I still try to wrap things up really pretty because I still think there are parts of me that I’m afraid to share and have be seen.

I have experienced the cost of pretending. The cost for me has been loneliness, sadness, self-loathing, isolation, depression, comparison, just to list a few. I think many of us were conditioned as children to respond to “how are you?” with the common response “I’m fine, how are you?” I think any other response was regarded as complaining instead of it actually being a real, authentic response. How did that happen? I think the thought process was just put on smile, buck up, tell everyone “I’m fine, everything’s good.” and then just go on our merry way.

We hear buzz words like “vulnerability,” “authenticity,” and “transparency,” but how well are we doing at really sharing ourselves with others – instead, we tell everyone we are okay and we just portray the pretty parts of our life and then end up feeling empty, sad and alone because it’s more important to appear that we’ve got it all together instead of being willing to be seen.

We are wired for connection. God put us here to buoy one another. How can we do that if we are pretending we are okay and not willing to share our struggles with each other? We end up feeling so lonely and misunderstood. And there is no way that we can feel connected, really truly and deeply connected to people because we put on this facade. The result are relationships that are superficial and unfulfilling. We are here for each other, but the truth is that there will always be a deep void there unless we are deeply connected to Heavenly Father and Jesus. Only They can fill that longing of deep connection.

The beauty I found in my loneliness was I strengthened my connection with Heavenly Father and Christ. The reality is we are spiritual beings having a human experience, so there really is no way to survive this life without our connection to Them – we are dependent and built for that. I saw this quote that illustrates this beautifully: “If we connect with people and we don’t connect with God, we end up asking people to be our enough. People will always eventually disappoint you. Don’t be surprised. They aren’t enough either. Only God has the resources and ability to exhaustively meet your needs.” She goes on to say…”yes, we are also designed to need human relationships but they can never be enjoyed if we’re using them to replace the ultimate relationship. When we begin to find our deepest, most fundamental needs met in God, then we will go from using people to meet our needs to enjoying people despite the ways they disappoint us.”

Are you thirsty for a stronger relationship with God and Christ?
Are you thirsty for stronger connections with friends and family?
Are you thirsty to be seen and understood?
Who knows that you are sad, lonely, depressed?
Who really knows you and understands you?

We try so hard to do life on our own and take pride in not needing anyone, like that is a noble thing to do. We need God and we need each other. This quote by C.S. Lewis explains this perfectly:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…wrap it up carefully around hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

I’ve experienced the beauty of vulnerability and striving to be more transparent. Do you want more of that beauty in your own life?

Until next time.