I swear, this is the best possible word to describe myself.
If I look at my life at any moment, at least one aspect of it is a mess.
My house is a mess, or my car is a mess, or our schedule is a mess, and even sometimes my marriage is a mess.
In our house, we love hard, we play hard, we are messy. Parenting, marriage, and friendships aren’t wrapped up in packages with shiny bows. We’re imperfect people, and with imperfection comes mess. And friends, that’s okay.
One of the mistakes I often make is pretending that I’m not messy. That I’ve got it all together, and the pieces of my life fit perfectly without any real effort on my part. This is just not true. I’m kind of a disaster, and most of the time, I’m doing everything I can to keep from self-destructing.
What I’ve learned, though, is when we pretend to be perfect, we make other people feel like they have to be perfect (which they aren’t!). What we end up with is a string of shallow relationships that are built on what we allow others to see in us, instead of who we truly are. This is sad, friends.
We’ve talked a lot about being authentic and transparent over the last few months. Mostly because I can’t stress it enough! You guys, we have this amazing opportunity to free ourselves and others from the idea of perfection by admitting that we aren’t perfect. By stating our struggles, sharing our mistakes, and being there for others when they confess their imperfections to us, we can build real, authentic communities.
But communities can’t be built on images. They have to be built on loving people just the way they are. The real, messy, dirty crap that comes along with you is the same junk your friend carries with her! Talk about it! Deal with it together! Share the gosh dang burden, so neither of you have to do life alone!
Y’all, I love talking about clothes, hair, Pinterest, and all kinds of superficial things. But this is isn’t the stuff of community. Community, the real kind, allows for the sharing of grief, hurt, joy, anger-- all of it. Without fear of judgement. Without fear of being disowned. With complete confidence that whatever is said will be kept in the community.
Can we do that, friends? Can we share our mess with others? Can we bear each others’ burdens? Can we build real, authentic, beautiful communities where we can be who we truly are, instead of projecting images of who we think we should be? Man, I hope so. Because pretending is exhausting.
Readers, we are SURROUNDED by images of perfection. We can InstaTwitterBook our vacations, perfect craft projects, and special moments, and share them for the world to see, while completely ignoring the fact that the other 99% of our day totally sucked. We have to recognize that other people do this too. Social Media is just a snapshot of our friends’ lives, not the totality of them.
Life is messy and chaotic, but, it is beautiful, too. Can’t we look back at some of the moments when we thought we were drowning and see how that crappy time brought beauty? How that season of garbage made our marriage closer. How the time the pantry was empty gave us hearts for the poor. How the months we were floundering as parents made our child see that we would not let them fall away.
Friends, having community means that through all of those things, you have someone to lean on. Someone to tell you there is beauty at the end. It might even mean you have someone who has already been there, and can help you navigate the muddy waters of your problems.
Guys, I am BEGGING you to give this authenticity thing a shot. There is so much freedom to be found in acknowledging our messes. Let’s do it for ourselves… and for each other.