When I was in junior high and high school, I was invisible.
I wasn’t pretty enough or athletic enough to be popular.
I wasn’t (quite!) nerdy enough to be picked on.
I wasn’t even crazy or wild enough to get others' attention.
I blended in to the background; I disappeared.
Before you get to know me, I’m the shy, quiet type. I don’t say a whole lot. I sit back and observe. I’m assessing whether or not you are a safe person for me to get to know. I want to know if I can be free to be myself around you, or if I should simply disappear into the background where you will forget all about me.
Allowing ourselves that freedom to be real is risky. I mean, what if you decide to lay it all out there and that person decides to reject you?
Or what if at first you are accepted? And then something in your life changes and all of the sudden you aren’t?
When I first became a Christian, part of what helped me make my decision was the community I experienced, the acceptance and love that was offered to me regardless of where I had come from. Jesus’ love was shown to me through the actions of the group of teenagers I had come to know. It was in this group that I first found the freedom to really be myself, and through finding Jesus, the courage to do so.
Instead of being invisible, I became transparent.
But there comes a risk with transparency. Where before I was safe from getting hurt by not letting others get to know the real me, now I was vulnerable. It didn’t take long before I started to care too much about what others thought of me. And tried to be someone I wasn’t.
If I was in a group of people who were super-spiritual, I would be, too. If I was in a group that only wanted to talk about guys and clothes, I could gab with the best of them. I’d adapt to whatever group I was hanging out with, copying their interests, their style. I desperately wanted their approval, because I thought that in having it I would finally be able to reveal who I really was.
And then one day the thing I feared the most happenedLeave a Comment
I don’t know; I still feel invisible.
Praise Jesus that we are not invisible to Him – ever. He sees every single struggle and tear and He knows, and he cares. I forget that a lot, because I just don’t FEEL it, but sometimes I just have to trust.
With several sweet friends in college, I learned that being vulnerable is oh-so-freeing and life-giving both for yourself and your friends. I mess up and back-track a lot, putting up pointless walls, and have to stop and make myself be transparent and real, but it’s worth it.
I think blogging helps me to be more transparent. Putting my life out there makes me own what I do. My friends keep me that way too. But most of us it is the Grace of God that gives me the courage to really truly be myself. It’s a genuine gift.
Fabulous post. A friend I cherished recently chose to erase me from her life, for no reason that I can see or discern. It hurts so much, but I am finding God’s embracing love to be a healing and accepting antidote. Not just because I know that God loves me, but because through that love I am seeing my own value and recognizing that her rejection of me is about her, not me.
As an introvert there are many times when I feel invisible, yet even in those experiences I know that I am seen, even if not in the ways that I might want. It is a helpful reminder at such times that God works through us, and what a blessing it is to be chosen for his work.
Time and actually doing life together helps me be transparent…though, it’s hard when those friends that are close and dear are far away and it’s time to build some new ones…but exciting too 🙂
Jessica @ These Are The Days says
I have thought a lot about this lately. I am opening up more on my blog. It seems like a good outlet for me, kind of freeing but scary at the same time. I have a hard time being transparent…I think we all do. Most of us try to hide behind a mask of somekind. I will say in doing so, I have lost a few friends and gained others. I can only be me, so at the ripe old age of 33 it’s about time I do just that!
Monica Sharman says
I was in that opaque time for so long, keeping closed doors between me and others. Then God began to creak the doors open, showing me the awesome works He does through people very different from me, and showing me the pearls of friendships I could have in those people.
Yes, very risky, but very much worth the risk.
Thank you for that reminder. I still do this, become invisible until I feel safe and then I dwell on hurts when people don’t treat me as I think they should. I am working very hard on this part of my life. Boy is it tough!
Luda Tkachuk says
my little sister has helped me be more transparent. she has shown me that i can be as crazy and as mellow and as open as i can be and she will still love me and be my best friend.
to carrie. dear heart you are so not invisible to God, I sometimes was sheltered from the bad friends so they would not harm me.So I walked along trying to find the right people but they are there. God knew how fragile I was and sought to protect me, but i was never invisible to him. I am thankful for my sister and my friends from church and others who accepted me no matter how crazy i was, or not fitting in. And I am thnkful for Jesus, because He doesn’t care what you do, He still loves you no matter what. And I had to experience what His friendship was first in order to know how to be a real friend. amazing unconditional love. it;s no fun feeling like you have to pretend.
So well-written, Andrea. I am in the process of becoming more transparent – I have a crazy life story and feel that it’s time to start sharing it in an attempt to show others that God is so good. I am preparing to speak to my MOPS group next week and you are correct – it IS scary. I have done some things I am not proud of but the people who love you for who you are will still love you. There is nothing you could ever do that would make them dismiss you. Just like Jesus. Great post. Thank you!
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
I absolutely loved this! Thanks for reminding us that even when friends reject us (I have so been there!) God is still over our situation and working on something better for us.
I truly believe this (In)Courage site is chock-full of beautiful, transparent women who minister to me often! Thank you!
My husband and a handful of friends–God also–with His love and the love of my husband and special friends, I’ve become braver to be me. Time helped also as I lived in a state of grace and nurturance from healthy, honest love.
This is a great post, Andrea. I had a group of women who encouraged me at a crucial time in my life. I learned the value of transparency from them. Now, hopefully I am able to provide a safe place for other women to be themselves and know that they are loved.
I really loved this post because i related…wanted to feel accepted is what I wanted…i still struggle sometimes, but Thank God we have Jesus who accepts us no matter who or what we are…thanks for your transparency…it encourages me!
Casual Friday Every Day says
I could have written this. Still sometimes feel like I could write this now.
Thank you for your kind words, Allison.
I was a PK. We moved around a lot, never really putting down roots and making friends.
Now I’m a missionary in a remote village where I’m lucky to have running water and slow-as-mollases-internet. Friends are hard to come by.
The thing is, I’m mostly okay with that. Jesus gave everything for me and I can be invisible for Him. Perhaps it is something He has called me to do.
Or, wait, maybe it’s a super power. You know, like Invisible Woman or something. 🙂
But, in all seriousness, God had given each one of us strengths in the body of Christ. Not all parts of the body are visible or appreciated. But if we didn’t have it, we would surely feel the loss. Some are oraters. Some are writers. And yet some are quiet prayers, never really noticed, but have such a high calling.
Instead of fighting my super power (HA!), I hope to use it for the Glory of God Almighty in whatever capacity I can.
I came across your blog as I was blog fishing this morning, something I don’t have the time to do much. The beginning words of your blog post struck me as real. This is a girl who knows. I work a lot with junior high kids, and the description of their experience was so accurate. And then I read more, and the struggle of my journey was laid out there before me in your words. Rejection….transparency….fear, and a God calling you (me) to step out in Him, and trust Him with the inner most of our soul.
I can’t say that I am fully there yet. Some of the wounds are still yet fresh, and with the strength of some of those friends He has brought me, I am learning to be more and more transparent. The fact that I read this particular blog today confirms the Lord is telling me He’s got my back in being transparent. Just last night I posted a blogpost that was scary for me to post (you can tell that as you read it. But is was a step in transparency. Reading your word is the Holy Spirit saying “Transparency, Brenda….”
It has been quite a journey for me the last two years, and reading your story has given me hope and vision for transparency. Usually when I have been transparent in the past, many people have looked inside then walked away leaving me hurt, rejected, left open to be picked apart. But you understand, I can read that in your words. You write very similar to me. I think the Lord has just given me a person whose steps I can look to and say “keep walking, He is faithful.” Thank you, Andrea. I’m excited to join with you on the journey.
Mel's World with Melissa Mashburn says
Andrea, what a beautiful open, honest, and yes transparent post for us. Thank you for sharing your heart, your journey, and your words with us. I too had very similar stories in middle and high school, and yes, have even been burned by women that I thought I could be the “real me” with. I continue to put myself out there because I know that is how we reach those around us…by loving, giving, and showing real women in love with a real Jesus. Thanks so much! ~ Melissa
I just read the article and it really hit me that I have definitely become invisible to a group of my friends. My husband died 3 yrs. and 9 mos. ago. I’m slowly getting used to my “new normal”. My friends were very very helpful, supportive, understanding,and everything else I needed. Now that time has passed and I seem ok I don’t see or hear from them much. We still talk at work but don’t do things together, go on vacations together, or even talk on the phone. It’s like through no fault of my own I’ve been excluded from that group of friends. I’m usually a positive person, and I’m very thankful for that, but I continue to let this get to me. I’ll continue to be positive and pleasant to my “old friends”, hoping our relationship will get to a place where we can all be comfortable. Who knows, maybe God has a new group he’s guiding me to.
This situation makes me think about how fortunate we are that we are never invisible to our Savior. He loves us whether we are at our best or worse. I’m so thankful I have him when I’m down and feel alone. He is always there for us.
Hmm, that is some compelling writing you’ve got going. Makes me scratch my head and wonder. Keep up the good writing!