Thursday, February 23, 2012
I'm Not Ok
......but you're not either, so it's alright.
Let's be honest, really honest. Are you ok all the time? I mean, I know our inclination (Especially as women) would be to answer that with a quick, "Yep! I am doing GREAT, how are YOU doing?" But that's not always the real answer.
The real answer is sometimes, "I feel lonely", or "I screamed at my kids for no reason and feel like the worst mother ever", or "I hate how my body looks", or "I am ashamed that I treated my husband like crap", or "I am freaking out because I keep spending too much money"...or....or....<insert your current malady of choice here>
I am not advocating the constant utterance of a babbling confession at the drop of a hat. Nor do I believe that we should tell everyone everything without a filter. That's not helpful, and not necessary.
What I AM suggesting is a little dose of humility mixed with a touch of decency, a tad bit of introspection, and a huge spoonful of honesty. We need that combination more in our interactions with one another. We DO.
Like when you see a friend, and they ask how your marriage is going, how your husband's job is faring, how your kids are doing, you don't have to vomit every single issue into your friend's face, but be honest. If you're having a hard time with something, just a simple acknowledgement of that goes a long way. If you're faltering in a specific area, it is OK to say, "I am really struggling to be kind." "It's hard not to be resentful when my husband works so much." "It upsets me when my kids do 'X' and I'm not always sure how to handle it."
Maybe people will be shocked. Maybe they will have expected the pat "I'm fine" answer. Maybe they will tell their husband what you said. Maybe you will be embarrassed that you shared.
.....or maybe, they'll be relieved that you're not only NOT perfect, but you're not pretending to be. Because then THEY won't have to pretend either.
One of my favorite C.S Lewis quotes is this one, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "What?! You too? I thought I was the only one!" "
Sometimes just not feeling alone is very powerful. Often, it is just the catalyst we need to change because we are not happy or satisfied with the way things are, with the way WE are. Somehow, it is easier to see and admit those "things that need changing" when we are in a community of other people who are muddling through their junk as well. Feeling alone in sin is like being in one of those horrible nightmares where you're naked in front of a group of people. Nobody wants to be in that position. AND NOBODY IS ALONE IN SIN. I don't care how perfect people seem, everyone has flaws, shortcomings, struggles, failures. EVERYONE.
Somewhere along the line, I don't know where exactly, I have gotten this notion that I am supposed to try and be perfect all the time, and never mess up. Which is terrible, because (And if you know me in real life, you KNOW this already) I am about as far from perfect as a girl can be. I talk too much. I say the wrong things. I argue. I get mad. I yell at my kids. I neglect and ignore things that I am afraid of. I am lazy a lot. I get critical.(I could give you a mile-long list, but I want you to like me at least a little)
Guess what? Who cares. God knew all of those things about me when He picked me to be His kid. And He knows that I don't WANT to mire myself in those things. I don't wallow in laziness, or anger, or being loud and saying the wrong thing. I desire to be perfect and always do the right thing. It's just that I fall short (Way, WAY short) in the application of that desire. God sees this and comes alongside me and makes up for my shortcomings. He shows me how to change and encourages me (Sometimes directly and sometimes through people in my life) that I am on the right path. That doesn't mean I do the right thing all the time, far from it! What it means is that I hold fast to my longing to do the right thing. I keep taking a deep breath, and doing the NEXT right thing. I keep trying.
What I am saying is that we need each other to stop pretending we've "arrived" at the "perfection bus stop", and admit that we are still on the journey. There is enough pressure in the world to be perfect from advertisements and television shows and know-it-all types. As friends, and especially as Christians, let's not put pressure and unrealistic expectations on one another by acting like we have it all together and we're perfect. It's ok NOT to be ok. Sure, it will freak you out a little at first. Then other people will know that you have flaws. Won't it be a relief though? You don't have to keep up the ruse. You can let people love you. And, to be totally frank, you'll be able to love other people more. I don't know exactly why it is, but when you're real, you love better. There is less garbage and fewer walls to break through, I think.
Genuine is good. Really good.
Take the chance. If you really ARE ok, then good! If you are NOT ok, then you're not alone, and you will be ok, eventually. Just keep doing the next right thing.
Press on, friends.