Today, I posted a couple of pictures on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #forrealfriday. Some friends and I have been talking about Friday being dedicated to real life pictures. No fairy tales. No filters. Show me your sink full of dishes. Or your kids screaming. Or your cellulite. (Kind of kidding on the last one. But your cellulite may encourage me to post a pic of my new and very first varicose vein. Thanks, Baby Hoov #3.) Sometimes, most of the time, that's more encouragement than the cute pictures, clean home, and home cooked meal. After I posted those pictures, my sweet Facebook friends were so quick to come to my pregnant self's aid, immediately offering encouragement, a kind word, a "hang in there, momma." Funny thing is, it hasn't been a bad day. The pic of Blair screaming, Grant demolishing his newly-cleaned closet, Blair covered in chocolate bar in the car...that is what a regular day around here looks like. I just don't post pictures of it much. Because the clean, smiley, sparkling photos seem more appealing. But are they really?
I made a promise to myself several years ago that transparency would be "my thing." I've lived on the other side of it. Unbearable pressure of seeming "perfect," always pleasing, quick to smile, use some fluff phrase of encouragement that really has no meaning behind it. Now, that sounds like a prison to me. So fake, so debilitating, so vomit-inducing.
"And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson
What would the world look like if we walked up to each other and introduced ourselves like this:
"Hi, I'm Meagan. I'm a recovering perfectionist. I know what heartache feels like. I never got to break up with a boyfriend because they always dumped me first. I struggle with anxiety and depression though it may or may not be clinically diagnosed. I carry deep, deep wounds in my heart. <Filter: some things, you just shouldn't post about on the www> I have the best counselor in the world. Even as a 31-year-old, I struggle with my body image, especially when I'm pregnant and people ask if I'm having twins every day. There are days as a mom that I yell at my kids not because they did anything wrong, but because I'm in a terrible mood. Our marriage needs work. We both know it and yet, sometimes we don't want to put in the work to fix it. I've had diabetes for 22 years and sometimes I'm afraid that it may substantially shorten my time on earth. Money doesn't grow on trees and sometimes I fail miserably at managing ours. There are times I feel inadequate as a nurse and like a failure at work. Sometimes, I'm lonely and feel socially awkward. So, what's your name...?"
In all honesty, the world would probably be pretty dark and depressing if those were are standard introductions. We don't have to show each other all of our cards. You don't want to see all the dirty pictures of my life, nor do you want to see all of the squeaky clean ones either. THERE IS A BALANCE, FOLKS.
Maybe that means you open up about your struggling marriage to a friend. Or you find a counselor to talk to. (Oh, how I could go off an a tangent, and I will one day, about how there is not a SOUL IN THE WORLD who can't benefit from counseling.) Or you quit comparing what your life looks like in pictures to that of an Insta-friend's life. Or you don't lie when someone who loves you asks one of the most overlooked and under-answered questions around..."How are you?" <Disclaimer: You don't have to be a kill-joy. Don't have word vomit and spill your guts to everyone. Be discerning with when, whom, how, and what you share. Sometimes, it's just not appropriate.>
Because here's the deal: Jesus promised me that His Grace is sufficient, it's enough for me. HIS STRENGTH is made PERFECT in MY WEAKNESS. So when I show those less-than-perfect pictures and talk about my shortcomings as a wife, I am #1 being human, #2 inviting others to join in being free to be themselves, and #3 inviting Jesus to be showcased as stronger than my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Every stinkin' time I hear Ellie Holcomb's song, "The Broken Beautiful," I cry this really ugly cry. Which makes it even more awkward because it's quite an upbeat little tune. But the words...oh, the words...He takes me, a broken thing, and makes me beautiful.
I know that I don't bring a lot to the table
Just little pieces of a broken heart
There's days I wonder if You'll still be faithful
Hold me together when I fall apart?
Would you remind me now of who You are?
That your love will never change,
that there's healing in your name
That you can take broken things,
and make them beautiful.
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So your love can taken broken things
and make them BEAUTIFUL.
I'm better off when I remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace
Remind me now that You can make a way
You say that You'll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness and cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That you can make the broken beautiful
You make us beautiful.
Thank God that He takes broken things and makes them beautiful.