Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hide and Sneak

"My name will be Angela!" Declared my 10 year old friend, Taryn.
"I'll be Rose!" Shouted her sister, Ryan.
"I think I shall be Charlotte." Said Taylor.
"Call me Patricia!" I chimed in.

The four of us girls marched into an expensive designer store Valentines Day evening armed with new identities and english accents - prepared to make the world believe that we were in fact, sophisticated young ladies with enough money to purchase the sparkling pink designer purse in the display box.

Loud enough for the sales clerk to hear, Charlotte (Taylor) shouted out to Patricia (me): "Dear, how much for that delightful little handbag to your right?"
"Only 5k, Char."

We did such a marvelous job living up to our alter egos that I believe the employees were quite fooled until Angela shouted, "I have a better idea. Lets just call Daddy and have him BUY this whole place. So much more convieniant!"

Exposed. I must say, it was exciting while it lasted. Upon exiting the store, all of us returned to our normal, bubbly, American selves once more. It had been a fun game.

Imagine, for a moment . . . That it wasn't a game. Imagine it being . . . a way of life. Although putting on a face for the sake of lighthearted amusement can be a humorous way to spend time with friends . . . imagine living in a constant world of pretend. The popular game of Hide and Sneak.

But it happens.

Walking into church several sundays ago, I was a mess. Just the night before, I had gotten in a tussle with a friend of mine, combined with the fact that my Dad was saying some pretty hurtful stuff. I was down in the dumps. The combined burden weighed so heavily on me, all throughout church, that I didn't try to keep my feelings hidden. Quite frankly, I couldn't. As Mom, Tay and I left the building - Mrs. Montoya (my Mom's "Wing Man" as we like to call her), walked up, gave me a hug, and said, "There's no sparkle in those eyes, Lauren! What is going on?" My friends all said, "you look tired, girl . . . " and even Tay poked me in the side during the sermon, and whispered "Laur, just TRY to act like everything is ok."
My depression was visible.
People react, when they see you upset. Some people look down their nose, because they think you need to be happy all the time. Others pull away. But in general, everyone places some standard on you that you don't quite live up to, when you appear less than joyous.
That's why we hide.
That's why we do everything, actually. Why don't we wear our pajamas when we go out? Well, because it's (generally) not accepted. Why don't we slurp our soup at a fancy resturant? Because it's not accepted. Why don't we show our true feelings, and be depressed in front of other people? Because . . . it's not accepted.
I have to say - usually I'm quite good at Hide and Sneak. Lauren Lee can walk into any room with a smile, and you'd never know she was dying inside. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve . . . so if I'm having a hard day, you will never know about it.

Except for that Sunday, of course. The whole congregation seemed to know! There comes a time when a smile can't cover the truth.

What do we do, when we can't hold it in any longer? When it all comes to the surface, people see the real us, and we're judged?
We're welcomed into the arms of God, to be sheltered under His wings.

"Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings." (Psalm 61:1-4)

God takes me as I am. He doesn't just take the happy, cheery side . . . He takes the bruised, battered, and beaten side of me, too. He's not just there for me when things are going well, but promises to be a "strong tower against the foe." When problems are brought to God, the pressure is off . . . He doesn't look down his nose at you, if you're hurting! It is a safe place to drop the smile.

I don't need to put on a smile for God - because he sees right past it. It was fun to wear a facade during our shopping expedition, but . . . There's no need for me to put on an english accent and pretend to be sophisticated, when it comes to God. He sees the real me. No playing Hide and Sneak with Him! He knows the heart, and comforts His children. :)

~Lauren Lee

Fun fact: Fake Smiles Damage Your Health!
New research by Dr. Dieter Zapf of Frankfurt University suggests that workers who constantly have to pretend to be friendly to customers suffer from higher rates of depression and illness. The Advertiser reports:

Flight attendants, sales personnel and call centre operators are most at risk, say psychologists at Frankfurt University. People in these jobs are more likely to suffer from depression, according to the study released yesterday ahead of publication in consumer magazine Good Advice. "Every time a person is forced to repress his true feelings, there are negative consequences for his health," said Professor Dieter Zapf, a researcher into human emotions.


The Limon's said...

WOW Lauren, I have not been on here for a have written so much. I will have to grab some tea and sit and read. I LOVE this post on "Hide and Sneak". You are such an amazing writer. I love how you girls were in that store and acting like sophisticated women that could purchase that 5k dollar bag. That was so funny. I wish I was apart of name would have been 'Thula' (Aund Thula to you girls). And I love your heart how you tied in the fact that we can't hide from God, we can't try and be someone we aren't with Him...He knows us too well! Thank you for sharing your heart...I pray I will know when you are hurting and trying to hide it so I can give you an extra big hug and pray for you. You have no clue how blessed I am that I can watch you and Charlotte (Taylor)grow in the Lord as you trust in His perfect will for your life.
Love you two...Mrs. Limon

Amber said...

cool blog! I'm following yours... care to follow mine?:)

Lauren Lee said...

Thanks so much,Mrs. Limon and Mrs. Wood!! You encourage me in so many ways, I am so blessed to have the both of you in my life. :) :)

Sure, Amber! Thanks for dropping by :)

Chad/Kristy said...

WOW, Lauren. Your heart is amazing. I love your maturity in that you are always able to take your daily happenings and see them as a lesson from Christ...and you write so amazingly well!! I so relate to you hiding when you are in pain. Being vulnerable is so scarry! Please know that you are welcome here ANY way that you are, and that you are loved and being prayed for.

Josh said...

Hey Lauren,
Upon getting on my blog today, I decided to stop by and say "Hello".
Well, I was quite surprised when I arrived. I read a few of your posts and what I saw just touched my heart. You are so young, yet you are going through so many things on your journey through life.
Sister, I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you as you learn to lean on Jesus Christ and let Him carry you through the ups and downs of life. He is our strength and song! He WILL supply your needs.

Stand strong in the Lord, and blessings to you!

BTW, You do a very nice job in your writing!

Lauren Lee said...

Hello, Josh :) Thanks for dropping by! You're words are very encouraging. Yes, God has been everything I need and more, through this very difficult time. He truly is a Father - and reveals more of His glory to me every day. I am overwhelmed with His goodness.

Thank you so much for your prayers!


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