“The decisions you make today matter. Every decision points your life in the direction you are about to travel. No decision is an isolated choice. It’s a chain of events. If you choose wisely, your future will reflect that. But if you don’t choose wisely, the decisions you make now will take you to places you don’t want to be later.”
― Lysa TerKeurst
I seem to be having the same conversation with people lately that stems around one word…..authenticity. I want to take some time to talk about this, because I’m wildly passionate about it. And when I feel wildly passionate about something, I have to write about it.
Please note: Before I dive in I want you to what I’m NOT saying. I’m not saying I always display the imperfections. I don’t. I often share things that are happy and uplifting and I don’t think we should use social media to air all our dirty laundry all the time. However, I feel as though people are craving real. So let’s be that.
About a year ago I wrote a post called Let’s All Be Real. You can read it here. I felt it was time we started talking about real stuff. The unkept house, the laundry that’s been folded and cleaned for 6 days but not put away. The less than stellar outfit we ran to preschool in that we may or may not have slept in. You know, that sorta stuff. This…
Because everyone has this reality sometimes yes? You’d better say yes. But it’s more than just the dirty dishes in the sink or the toddler’s room that constantly looks like it’s been through Armageddon. There is more to true authenticity than this. In a culture and world where social media is at the forefront of what we do and see, it’s easy to display only the fluff. Only the cutest outfits and the best behaved kids. Again, while this is all well and good and can benefit people in a positive way, what about the not so shiny stuff? What about how we treat people in real life? Are we being real and genuine and raw in a way that makes people feel welcomed and accepted? Gosh I hope so.
Because here’s the thing. Everyone has a story. Everyone has stuff they are carrying around and everyone wants someone to be real with and relate to. People crave the real. No perfect pictures or persona’s. Real.
So here are a few of my “real’s” ok?
I’m having an MRI on my brain today to rule out MS, brain tumor’s, or any other potentially life threatening issues that could be causing my migraines.
I know. Wah wah. I’m not trying to depress you but here’s the thing. I’m scared. I know fear has no place but to be true, it freaks me out. Plus I get clostrophobic…so there’s that. Pray I don’t have a panic attack in the giant tube and that my brain is in fact still there. But seriously. It’s a little nerve-racking. It’s something I could walk around with and hold onto in an attempt to be superwoman, or it’s something I can share with you because maybe, just maybe, you are going through something with your health. Maybe you feel scared or vulnerable and you have no one to turn to with it. Sister(or brother), I can relate even if just a smidge. Life can be crazy scary and can remind you in an instant how short and sweet it is. So, you aren’t in this alone.
My garage stays a mess.
Yep. I just jumped from an MRI to a messy garage. But I gotta keep this a little light. I can not even. It just stays messy. I try. I clean and sweep and organize bikes. And then this….
It drives my sweet hubby insane. But it’s all I can do to keep the kids alive and fed, so yea…the garage has to remain a disaster. So be it.
I’m an introvert.
I get really frustrated sometimes with the way women treat each other. We get in our comfortable little huddles and we completely fail to see other people. I do it too. I’m a true introvert but I love people. Weird combo I know. However, I tend to enjoy the real down to earth conversations over small talk, so I avoid the small talk situations. You guys. We have to stop doing this. Get out of your clicks(is that still a thing? I mean, we’re not in high school anymore but seriously….I think they still exist) and LOVE ON PEOPLE. I’m talking to myself too. We have to remember that people are hurting and craving relationship and again that word….authenticity. Can they walk up with no makeup and looking like they really did sleep in that outfit and still be accepted? Dang straight. Love people. Accept them right where they are. And for goodness sake, look up and away from your comfortable huddle.
We’re a spicy family…which means we sometimes yell. Yes. It’s true.
I’ve talked about this before, but thanks to my dear friend(she doesn’t know this yet….but she will) Jen Hatmaker, I’ve deemed our family spicy over sweet. We raise our voices and often
walk push people out the door TO CHURCH all while saying things like…
“Where the crap are your shoes?!?!?! I told you 15 times to get them on. Now we’re late.”
“Where is your Bible!!!!!??????? Your teacher said to bring it!!!”
“Put downy our phone or you’ll have it taken away for a month….no, take that back…for FOREVER!”
Yep. Sundays bring out our very best. But really. How often do we walk into church on the verge of tears only to have to shove it all down for fear of being exposed. It may run the mascara down our face and ugly crying when we look this cute is just not an option. So we shove it. You guys. This breaks my heart. We’re fortunate enough to have a group that is open and transparent and vulnerable and fully allows and welcomes ugly cries on Sunday mornings. I pray you have that too. Maybe it’s not church but just a group of friends you do life with side by side through the muck. But we all need it. We all need the chance to let down those guards and lay our stuff out there on the table. Because chances are, someone can relate. So make an effort to find some people to be your tribe. But don’t get so inclusive that you fail to let other’s in.
Social media filters are amazing little boogers. They make our skin glow, hide the sweat streaks down our faces, show off our very best angle(apparently holding the phone up high is skinny angle….so I was told), reveal our Starbucks cup and perfectly manicured nails(guilty as charged…that one time I had my nails done). They show off our cute outfit(and make it look like your flicking off the audience…or at least mine does because I clearly have not mastered the bathroom selfie. I need a longer mirror I guess) that we actually put on for a couple of hours in the light of day…….
But just because I snap a picture of myself in my bathroom mirror(don’t you know the generation before us thinks we are total morons? We take pictures of ourselves in our bathroom mirror’s and post them in a place where the world can see. Makes total sense) and throw a cool filter on it doesn’t mean it’s my reality. The reality this day was that I had an important lunch appointment. I made some effort. However, my hair was not washed, nor my legs shaved. I totally faked it. I did put on deodorant…thank God. I ate a giant burger and had myself a sugar loaded latte right before I spent way too much money on a shirt I still haven’t worn. As soon as I got home I threw my workout clothes and sports bra back on for a baseball game and teaching boot camp that night. My kids ate Pb & J for dinner. So there you have it.
It’s ok to walk out the door without makeup and it’s ok to not present your very best self ALL THE TIME. I know. Please don’t hate me for saying that. Hear me. I LOVE a cute outfit. I love the feeling of throwing some effort my own way and I’m not saying we should just throw ourselves to the wolves and let it all go. I mean, wear a bra for goodness sake. However, I don’t think we need to feel shame or inferiority if we just don’t have it all together some days. We just can’t. No one is perfect and striving for perfection will only lead to disappointment. And that’s not how God sees us. He doesn’t look at our outward selves, He’s gazing at our hearts. So, where is your heart in it? That’s what I have to ask myself.
Authenticity. It’s powerful you guys. It’s needed in our world and it’s craved by so many. I see it all the time. I want to be it. Don’t you? Isn’t it freeing to lay some things out there sometimes and let down the guard? I sat on my couch crying last night as I realized one of my posts got “published” on the Women’s Running website. It may seem trivial and silly, but after a hard and scary week, it was just the pick me up I needed. Today is scary. I don’t dig what I have to do, but it’s life. We all have our stories. And we all, deep down anyway, want to be able to keep it real. So let’s be that to people and for people. Let’s keep things real and display grace and love and acceptance to others instead of judgement. Let’s look up and around. Find the mom no one is talking to on the playground(ahem…talking to myself here too girls) or the couple that don’t seem to know anyone at the party. Be limitless in your acceptance and as my friend reminded me yesterday…shower grace upon grace. Because we all need some real in our lives.
What about you? What’s your REAL?