Posted On January 21, 2019

Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships by Catherine Parks

by | Jan 21, 2019 | Christian Living, Featured

“Before we begin, I really want you to get to know me.

I’m successful.

I’m intelligent.

I am a wise and self-sufficient woman.

In other words… I don’t want you to know me at all. Not the real me. I only want you to get to know a carefully crafted version of me.”

Catherine Parks opens her book Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships with this remarkable introduction and I knew instantly that I could trust her. Vulnerability has become a fashionable word lately because of the important work of researcher and author Brené Brown. I’ve appreciated Brown’s honesty and insight into the power of vulnerability, but Parks combines Brown’s insights with the powerful truth of the gospel. Real is not just about admitting our imperfections, it is about the way we can “struggle in community against sin” to help one another grow in grace.

A few years ago, I was asked to speak on a similar topic for a women’s conference and did a deep-dive into the research on shame and vulnerability. Through that research process I realized that I was particularly tempted to cover my struggles and present a perfect image. Social media tools weren’t to blame for this temptation, either; I learned that the temptation to cover my sin and shame was as old as the fig leaf coverings in the garden of Eden. Parks’ book would have been a boon to me during that research process because she clearly explains how we can be either “a coverer or a confessor” and that our ability to confess is “actually a way to build up my sisters and brothers in Christ” because “when I cover my sin, I cause others to feel alone” but “when I’m open and honest, I help create a safe space for others to do likewise.”

Parks understands that learning to be real with one another is not a one-time decision but a process best undertaken in community. We must have people willing to call us out on our cover-up strategies (Parks has several examples of gentle friends who called out her “I’m fine” strategy) and we must be people willing to call out sin in other’s lives as well. Using the example of Nathan helping David to see his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, Parks describes the sometimes uncomfortable process of getting real with yourself and your own sin, repenting, and moving towards deeper relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. She celebrates repentance as “process that starts with grief and guilt, and ends with forgiveness and deep joy.” I loved that the book moved from early chapters on personal honesty about our own sin and moved towards the final chapter on the kinds of friendships that can help us resist temptations. She is honest about the vulnerability and awkwardness of getting real but consistently points to the beauty of honest community and humble dependence on Jesus that replaces our need to clean up our image. “When we think it’s up to us to be perfect, or at least closer to it than the next church member, we will refuse to open up about sin” but when we are “honest with one another” we can “confess rather than compete” and “persevere rather than quit.”

This book summed up many lessons I’ve been learning slowly over the past few years. I’ve always thought I’d win friends by being impressive and well put-together; instead, I’ve found my deepest friendships form when I admit my struggles and reveal my vulnerabilities. Real is a short, practical read inviting us to first repent for trying to conceal our sin so we can truly rejoice with those who can admit they needed to be redeemed.


Related Posts

Prayer: A Source of Living Water and Strength for Desert Wanderers

Prayer: A Source of Living Water and Strength for Desert Wanderers

We know we need to pray. We also know the Scripture commands us to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). After all, the forces of evil will do everything in their power to stop God’s people from praying. Even though we know all that (or should know that), we often...

Testing and Temptation in Scripture

Testing and Temptation in Scripture

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “Is temptation sin?” What You'll Hear on this Episode Testing and Temptation in the Old and New Testament Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to the Servants of Grace Podcast via iTunes,...

Christ’s Intercession on Our Behalf

Christ’s Intercession on Our Behalf

On today’s For Life and Godliness, Drew considers the intercession of Christ and its importance of it in the Christian life. Subscribing, sharing, and your feedback You can subscribe to Life and Godliness via iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. If you like what you’ve...

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

Christian Friendship and Doing Life With One Another

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Dave considers the nature and purpose of Christian friendship and why real Christian friends tell each other hard biblical truths, comfort one another in love with Scripture, and do life with one another through every stage of...

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches Need Expository Preaching

Churches need pastors committed to expository preaching. An expository sermon submits its shape, emphasis, and argument to the Biblical text being preached. The point of the passage is the point of the sermon. A commitment to expository preaching exposes our...

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

The Death of a Spouse — Part II

Psalms 13:2 (NIV), “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” How much longer? How much longer? Four hundred fifty-eight days later, not only has my hatred of death not diminished even...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekly Roundup of Links 1/21/2018-1/26/2019 - Servants of Grace - […] Real: The Surprising Secret to Deeper Relationships by Catherine Park reviewed by Laura Lundgren https://servantsofgrace.org/real-the-surprising-secret-to-deeper-relationships/ […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share40
Tweet15
Email
Reddit
Share