In this world of photo-shopped, re-touched, enhanced images, surrounded by pictures of beautiful people, beautiful jobs, beautiful vacations, and beautiful lives, I need you to know something about me…..
I don’t have it all together.
I don’t and I never will and that’s perfectly okay with me.
It’s just really important to me that you know this.
Over the past month, I have discovered something. Actually, a handful of people unknowingly helped me discover this. Lots of people have thought this same thing about me: “Wow! She’s got it all together! Even in the midst of life’s hard times, she has everything figured out and balanced and in order.”
And you know the sayings that go something like this: “If the shoe fits, wear it” OR “If three people call you a donkey, buy a saddle.”
May I pause and laugh a minute….simply because this is not the truth about me. I don’t have it all together.
And then I must pause and wipe a tear from my cheek because this discovery has made me sad, yet I am determined to change this about me.
And honestly, I’m not a saddle kindof girl. I do love shoes, but I don’t want to wear a pair that suggests for one minute I’ve got my stuff all figured out! I DON’T!
If anyone thinks I “have it all together” then it grieves me because if we view people as having it all together, then they are NOT these 3 things I desire to be to others:
AUTHENTIC, APPROACHABLE, and AVAILABLE.
When appearance, status, and statistics are what we show each other, when our best days, best outfits, and best moments are showcased, tweeted, insta-gramed, and facebooked (and OF COURSE carefully edited before they are actually put out there for the world to see), then this is what we present to the world: OUR PERFECTION and God-forbid, NEVER OUR FLAWS!
Can I let you in on a little secret?
It’s not all daisies and rainbows, wine and romance, or trophies and awards!!
On the flip side of this two-sided coin, our culture can just as easily show the opposite to the world. Either you see perfectly-edited-pretty-little-worlds OR you get the ugly-nastiest-most-drama-filled pictures, tweets, toots, and posts EVER! (People either want to see PERFECTION or PROBLEMS and we will proudly showcase one or the other. We dump all our ugly or display all our perfection to our friends, family, and following.)
But for the sake of my discovery and this article, and truthfully what most people show the world, it would do us all a lot of good to realize that NONE OF US have it all together, regardless of how we present ourselves. I want to present myself differently.
Can I be gut-level honest?
I don’t live on Fantasy Island in the middle of one endless party.
I don’t have oodles of endless fun days and wonderful nights.
I don’t have a life of ease, consisting of no problems, no pain, no worries, no heartache….
and I want you to know that.
Right now and for the last several years, my life has been marked with family illness, tough decisions, financial worries, heartache, unmet desires, and insecurities by the bucket load.
Like I said, I really don’t have it all together, nor do I live a perfectly balanced life in the midst of chaos.
Truth be told, I have a precious girlfriend who reminds me that I don’t look good in orange and I would look like a 10 year-old in a jumpsuit, nor does she want to visit me behind bars. (Thank God for her! She knows I don’t have it all together.)
Another precious friend responded to my call and let me come “puke on her desk” and dump it all out right in front of her. And then she reminded me of truth and we prayed together.
Yet other friends have brought a bottle of wine to share or perked a pot of coffee and sat and listened to my tales of woe.
(I’ll take a few dollar bills over hundreds of pennies any day. I love my friends!)
The last few years have taught me something and these lessons are emerging onto the pages of my 4th novel as well. These years have taught me this:
Life has ups and downs, and oftentimes, the downs outnumber the ups.
When this happens, I am learning to do 3 things:
- Find the beautiful in life. Look for it! It’s there. Our hungry souls need to feast on it, especially in times of trials. I take pictures of what beautiful thing caught my eye and heart. I drink that extra cup of hot coffee and eat that piece of dark chocolate. I cook my favorite meals, slow down, and stay home. I play games with my last two kiddos, sit on the porch with my hubby, and watch the sun set. I take my attention off the ugly and let it linger on the beautiful. I HAVE to focus on the beauty. I seek the beautiful in life.
- I read my Bible even when I don’t feel like it. I journal what I hear God say. I talk to Him and ask the really hard questions. I go to the source of my strength, hope, and safety.
- I get alone and unplug from anything electronic for 15-30 minutes a day and sit still. I listen to the birds, watch the clouds, close my eyes, and just breathe. I drink in the stillness and quiet.
My friends who helped me discover over the course of this past month that it appears I have it all together have been a God-send to me. It has opened my eyes and caused me to return to the truths I mentioned earlier, the ones that I long to live out in front of others….
I want to be AUTHENTIC, APPROACHABLE, and AVAILABLE
and that will only happen if you know I DON’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER.
I have to fight for the balance, sanity, peace, and joy I DO have. I have to fight to find it and hang on to it.
Because life is hard, life stinks, life ebbs and flows, life is a challenge and takes you by surprise, the TOGETHERNESS you might glimpse in me comes from the fact that I MUST anchor myself to what is stable, secure, true, right, and beautiful in this world.
God, family, friends, church, nature, beauty, stillness…..
These things help keep me a little sane and sort of balanced and somewhat together, but not completely together. I’m holding out for that promise in heaven! But while on this earth, I still struggle right along with everyone else.
I am still authentic, as much as my heart and soul can be.
I am still approachable, if you see that I am flawed just like everyone else.
I am still available, if you need someone to walk with you through your own life.
Those that know me well know that I would be a train wreck without all of the above beautiful moments in my life I search for and cling to. The hardships I face are NOTHING compared to what others go through. But reality says none of us have it all easy, and yes, we all struggle.
Anchor yourself to what is God, what is good, what is true, what is lovely.
Look for beauty. Find the beautiful.
If you catch a glimpse of the craziness in my little world and see that I am not yet insane, know my peace comes from above, not from anything I can do or have done in my own strength.
If you see that I have many days of struggling, when my kids aren’t home-schooled well, when I tell them to eat popcorn for dinner (it IS a veggie!!), when I lose my temper, when I eat brownies for breakfast and haven’t worked out in a month, when I utter a cuss word or two out of utter frustration, when my husband feels neglected, my floors are dirty, or I feel helpless and hopeless,
THAT’S OKAY WITH ME.
I want you to see me for the real person I am with real issues, real struggles and sins, living a real life full of real problems. And I have managed so far to stay out of that orange jumpsuit!
My vulnerable, ugly days may not be showcased like my good days are, but if you look behind all of the pretty pictures, Bible verses, and carefully penned words, you will find a woman, a person like you, hanging on, hoping on, and healing. And one who persistently looks for the beautiful in the broken.
It’s all there, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the mundane, the ugly, the fun, the junk, and the treasures of life.
So that’s why I want you to know I DON’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER and I NEVER WANT TO APPEAR THAT I DO!
Do this with me! Be authentic, be approachable, and be available.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject so please comment below!
(And thanks for reading my musings!)
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