It's time, I think.
Time to fast forward past the awkward small talk, past the initial "feeling out" phase, past the polite and politically correct B.S.--to where the shiz gets real.
I dislike the pomp and circumstance that skirts around what needs to be said.
Like how we all communicate with each other. Sure there is a certain amount of prefacing we must do when we are new to each other, but in the case of Believers...I think we spend so much time on skirting issues and hiding behind carefully crafted masks and facades that we never get to the meat. The real stuff that we all struggle with, but never talk about.
There was a discussion on my personal FB page the other day where one woman shared her struggle and another piped up and thanked her for sharing and for being so transparent. The first woman said she is an "open book" and that she feels that her story and her struggles are to be used to help others...and that God has allowed her to go through things for that express purpose.
A thousand times, YES!
I got all fat fingered in my haste to respond that I agreed! I could barely get the words typed out.
I have felt convicted in that area for quite a while, but I was still holding back in a lot of areas for fear of negative reactions and responses.
I HATE conflict. I hate confrontation.
I am dreading the day that I receive a really negative comment-especially if it is about my faith.
And that is cowardly.
I have allowed some unnamed person (who may not even exist!) to determine whether or not I speak about my faith. And the Luke 9:26 (MSG) keeps popping in my head: "If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I am leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in the company with the Father and the holy angels."
Well if that isn't convicting.
But here is where it begins.
I played one of those dumb games on Facebook not that long ago. I listed a certain number of things about myself that not everyone would know. Some things I listed I thought people knew and others were just some (what I thought were) pieces of interesting trivia about myself.
Wouldn't you know that post garnered a bunch of attention and comments like "wow, now that I've read that I think you're someone I'd like to hang out with!" and "I wouldn't have guessed that about you!" One person said they'd had me pegged for a "Duggar" type. Now, I actually like the Duggars, but I don't think it was meant as a compliment.
And it made me really think. I actually went into a little funk for a few days.
I thought about the posts on here that seemed to resonate most with others. And it was the posts where I share that I am a total mess. I think the reason for that is that others don't feel alone in their own messes. People feel that they can relate better with other flawed people.
So I wonder if I was doing the annoying thing that we so often complain about: showcasing more of the good than the bad in my life.
Granted, no one wants a day by day, minute by minute of me saying "FML!" And listing all the things that are going wrong in my life. I hate posts like that.
But I think this is the time to stop hiding--whether it's purposely or not--the imperfections and struggles that we have...that I have.
So here goes...if you suffer from any of these things, you can now rest assured that you are not alone.
*I've been divorced. Twice.
*I've had affairs
*I've been pregnant before marriage. Twice. :-/
*I have struggled with my weight for the past 10 years.
*I have been abused mentally and physically in my past.
*I struggle with paying enough attention to my husband.
*I had a bout with depression in my 20s. I was put on an anti-depressant. I had awful withdrawal when I went off it. My husband at the time did not support me being on it and told me often. So I went off it cold turkey.
*I am an extroverted introvert who enjoys being with people, but then I need a while to be in "my bubble" and recharge before doing it again.
*I have struggled with judging and negative thoughts about everyone in my life. Everyone. No one has been unscathed. Please don't ask me if you're included in that. Just know that God is working on my spirit of grace and forgiveness with lessons on humility thrown in.
*I struggle with fear and anxiety on an almost daily basis. To the point of wanting to move to a big farm in the middle of nowhere and go off the grid.
*I swear something awful. The "F" word included. My kids hear me. That's humiliating.
*I get enraged easily.
*I often have to fight with myself to remain humble and not get a big head about things.
*I hold grudges.
*I have stretch marks everywhere on my tummy and sides.
*I pee a little when I laugh, cough, sneeze or breathe too deeply.
*I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Hate it.
*I very often push my husband to lead the way I think he should. (Now if that ain't some irony...)
*I get annoyed sometimes when my kids get hurt if it interrupts what I am trying to do. :-/
*Potty training is by far my least favorite parenting responsibility.
*I struggle with my faith that God will protect me and my kids and that He really does have plans to prosper me.
*I am bad with money.
*I am awful with numbers.
*I have a PhD in assumptions and inferring.
*I have a really hard time respecting someone who hurts or disappoints me.
*I have almost zero will power.
*I am undisciplined.
*I can be passive aggressive.
*I struggle with feeling not good enough in most areas.
*I have empathy for others to the point of grieving like I'm going through their situation.
*I have such a soft place for children it can undo me to hear about child abuse and neglect. I can't watch the news anymore.
*I wonder, daily, if today is the day I'm going to die and if it will be painful.
*I am self-diagnosed obsessive/compulsive with emphasis on the obsessive (if you didn't catch that in the above sentence.)
*After I publish this post I will probably struggle with being an "over-sharer".
Did I get a little carried away?
So there it is everyone. A long laundry list of things that I am not proud of. But it's time to quit trying to pretend I am someone I am not.
That's not to say that every post on here or FB will be me airing my dirty laundry. Oh good Lord no! I would still like to have friends!
But I am offering you an engraved invitation to hunker down and get real with me. With yourself. What are we choosing to hide or sweep under the carpet because we think we won't be "Christian enough" if someone knows about it? What are we keeping close to the vest for fear that others will judge us?
Here is a safe place. Let it hang out. I'm grabbing some coffee and getting ready to listen...