It very well could be that one of the best reasons to start a blog is the constant reminder and accountability that I’ve made it known to the world I am determined to speak about my own imperfection to be a living testament of God’s grace.
My goal is to consistently speak of my own imperfection hidden in Jesus’ perfection with the hope to exude His love and mercy in every aspect of my private and personal life…making much of His name, not mine.
There’s only one problem:
I don’t always get it right. And that’s just the point isn’t it?!
That’s the point of this whole thing. This whole blogging thing…..AND this whole “life” thing.
Why does it feel so uncomfortable and scary to be vulnerable? Why does it seem easier to stay in hiding behind a beautifully lit smokescreen? Why do I prefer the rose tinted glasses, the coverup of carefully edited pictures and the miraculous cure of dry shampoo for my day #4 unwashed hair?
I’m often scared that if I truly open up it will hinder relationships, push away friendships, welcome criticism and invite condemnation. Sometimes the hidden is more beautiful, right? Ignorance is bliss.
No one wants to air dirty laundry.
But why not? What’s wrong with that? We all have laundry….and if we are moms most of it is on our living room floors or on top of our kitchen tables right now. Why not just admit we all have clothes that aren’t clean? Why not share what we are weak in? Why not be open about how we fail?
Staying hidden doesn’t help anyone.
No one truly benefits from a private, curated, unknown life.
By no means is this a complete list, but I don’t want to just talk about being open and never actually BE OPEN…so let’s just get this started… (deep inhale….)
- I have gotten into heated, uncontrolled, harsh arguments with Matt and have been indignant, indifferent and hateful with my responses, thoughts and words toward him.
- I have yelled at my kids and snapped at them for simply saying my name too many times during dinner.
- Just last week, during our “fun” family day at the fair, I spent most of the entire day absolutely crabby and griping at all kinds of various things, most of which was completely minuscule and unfounded.
- My default mode is to think that every single thing that is bad that happens in the life of our family is somehow my fault. It can be totally unrelated but I will take it and somehow find a way to believe that I caused that thing to happen…as if I’m that important. I then look for affirmation and encouragement that I’ve done my part and that the real problem is “out there” rather than in me.
- I greatly struggle with mom guilt…to the point that I am sometimes frozen in a decision because of a fear that no matter what choice I make I will ruin my kids. This leads to endless sleepless nights and a restless heart, which makes for an overly tired mom that lacks presence and joy the next day.
- I can be surrounded by a sea of people that truly know and love me and still feel like I’m alone. And what I’m saying is that my focus is far too often on me. I am self-centered as I put my feelings before loving others.
- Sometimes, okay fine…often lately, I struggle with the “grass is greener” mentality and wonder if somehow I missed another life I am supposed to be living. I waste time envisioning what that “other” life could be and allow seeds of ungratefulness for one I’ve been given to take root.
- When I am tired, or hungry, or un-showered, or God forbid, a combination of them all I am seriously not fun to be around. I get nit picky and short tempered and begin to treat my family as though they are in my way.
- I struggle with envy and jealousy over other bloggers who have had great success and I wrongly envision that their journey to get “there” was much simpler than mine. I view success by numbers and page views and often have thoughts about giving up…which shows me how greatly I value man’s opinion more that God’s.
- I struggle with thoughts that it’s never enough and that I’m always behind and wonder when I’ll ever get it together…whatever “it” is.
- I often look at the lives of women I admire on social media and choose to wrongly believe they sure do have it all together….and then I compare what is imperfect about me to what I feel is perfect about them and I become discouraged.
Should I keep going?!?! Because I totally could….I could do this all day….
But, the bottom line is this:
Honesty and airing dirty laundry isn’t the problem. My own heart is the problem. Sharing it simply gives glory to the correct Person, which isn’t ME.
These are the times I’m so thankful for the words of the apostle Paul: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
I am unbelievably thankful that Paul’s struggle with his flesh has been included in the Bible for me to relate to.
Yet, the story of his struggle doesn’t end there. Only ten verses later Paul offers this encouragement: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” “For you were called to freedom…
(insert Braveheart movie clip here)
brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another…But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:13, 16, 22-23, 25
It would be certifiably insane to think that our marriage is the only one that has hit rough patches. I’d be crazy if I chose to believe I was the only one who struggles with fears that are sometimes paralyzing, with having spoken hurtful words that crush those I love most, with temptations that have the potential to bring utter ruin or with thoughts that bring destruction. There’s not a chance on God’s green earth that I’m the only one who feels alone, struggles with comparison and envy or carries the weight of some massive regrets.
So why air the dirty laundry?
Because it is a far weightier thing for my identity to be rooted solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, in my place for my sin, than it is for me to uphold a false, curated, neatly folded, manicured image that smells fresh but is dying on the inside.
Choosing daily to lose my life and walk by the Spirit leads to spiritual fruit, which then leads to a life that is God-honoring. It all starts with an honest confession that there is nothing good in me apart from Christ. He alone can make me the wife, mother, friend, woman I desire to be: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
My hope is for this to give you comfort too. Do you struggle with the thought that you know you don’t have it all together, but are terrified of people finding that out? Do you wish you could open up your real self to those around you and have a desire to be truly known by those you love most?
If you find yourself frozen in discouragement, afraid of being “found out” I want to encourage you that there doesn’t need to be any fear in boasting in our weaknesses. In fact our measly attempts at pretending we are perfect actually cheapens the Gospel. Jesus came to save sinners, not perfect people…and my hope is to encourage you to boast in His grace not your (or my) accomplishments in order that He get the full credit. This truth gives us encouragement because we are reminded once more that life isn’t at all about us. This gives us hope that being known is far better than hiding alone. This gives us joy to wake up each morning knowing that HIS mercies are new every day, and this gives us peace that His grace is more than sufficient for today.
To HIM be the glory!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)