Before we head to our families for the holidays, or maybe you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, I wanted to share something that has been on my heart. It’s been nagging me or irritating me is more like it. In some cases it’s infuriated me.
Our culture infuriates me. I know this isn’t the typical “Thankful” post that ties into Thanksgiving, but in a sense it will be. Because I have found that I am thankful to finally be free of my superficial life. It’s ongoing, but I know I am everyday letting go of my superficiality, and in the process I feel more free and somehow more joyful, and it’s not the pretend joy I used to expose.
If we were all honest with one another, we would all say we have been superficial at one point in our lives. Maybe some of us have lived many years of their life as a superficial life. I know I had. I wasn’t real with people, authentic and me. I wore a smile to hide the hurt and bitterness I really felt. I hate the superficiality of our culture. We are almost driven by superficiality. This constant drive to paint our lives as picture perfect.
News flash people no one’s life is picture perfect, and if it appears so you don’t know that person all too well or they are doing a great job of hiding what goes on behind close doors. I am not saying we have to share all the bad things or dark times we go through with every person we meet. I am saying that we have to stop over sharing all the good things, making it seem that our lives are perfect, happy and never full of pain. It’s all a lie.
Kids scream, dishes don’t always get done, we yell at our spouse and kids, we cry at times, we eat 3 slices of pie or half the carton of ice cream, we skip a few runs, we don’t brush our teeth until noon or shower, we wear our child’s poop or spit up, we botch a race or miss a PR, and sometimes we don’t even toe the line of that race we trained so hard for. We gain an extra few pounds, we lash out, we PRETEND we have it all together, we PRETEND we are always happy, that our lives are just PERFECT. That our kids don’t have melt downs or flunk a grade or get last in a race or didn’t crawl until 1 year or didn’t say their first words until 3 years old or still aren’t potty trained. We share the good, we OVER share the good.
Sure, there are moments when life does go as planned and our kids take that perfect picture, get straight A’s, walk at 11 months, eat their vegetables, etc. Or we as parents don’t lash out and have self control, we shower our spouse with compliments and make home cooked meals. We PR at our next race, take home 1st in our age group, love ourselves, lose those few extra pounds, and crush that workout.
My point is simply that it’s better to share the whole picture of our lives, than just the good. It’s unrealistic it’s superficial, and it drives our culture insane trying to achieve perfection. It’s driven me mad!! I hate it. I am challenged to be more authentic, because authenticity is refreshing. It makes me feel like I am not alone in this great big world. I want my friends and family to be real with me. To feel comfortable sharing their struggles, fears and pains, without fear of judgement. To know I get it, LIFE IS NOT PERFECT!! Authenticity may not look pretty all the time from the outside, but it is pretty.
There’s beauty in being authentic and vulnerable. Being real. I found that I can’t relate to half of those I follow on Instagram. They seem to have it all together. All their achievements. I feel accomplished for just showering and brushing my teeth, and not putting on sweats. I feel accomplished if my children know I love them, even when they scream at me.
If we shared our worst days, we wouldn’t be so quick to compare or envy other women’s or families lives. There are days I want to rip my hair out. My husband irritates me and I rather not be nice to him.
I am not saying to be a Debbie downer, but don’t be superficial, keep it REAL. Post those bad workout photos, those no makeup selfies, share your frustrations sometimes. It creates authenticity and it’s more relate able. We don’t need to share every depressing day or argument we have, but we also don’t have to share every achievement and good thing. We all have STRUGGLES and CHALLENGES!!
I have joy because of Jesus, not because my life is perfect, because it’s not. I want a spirit of excellence not perfection. I want everything I do to be excellent and for Jesus, not perfect. There’s a difference. Excellence is obtainable, perfection is not. None of us will ever be spotless, but we are excellent, because we are created in His image. Excellence is brilliant, greatness; a quality of being outstanding or great. Notice it has nothing to do with being perfect. Perfection is: the condition, state or quality of being free from all flaws or defects. Why would we even want to strive for this. I had for years and it broke me (a topic for another day), wrecked me.
I now ask myself before I post on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or even my blog: “Why am I sharing this? What’s my heart’s motive? Is it just to impress? Or am I really proud of this accomplishment? Is it just to gain more followers or acceptance, to look good? Or is it to share this proud moment with others, to share my joy or rob others of the little joy they are holding onto? To outdo someone? To show my family is better?” I don’t want to share if it’s to outdo the neighbor or ex classmate.
Social media has created this superficial, selfish people. Don’t believe me? Look at our youngsters. Many women, close friends, have been vulnerable and real to me. They admit they don’t have it all together, and I don’t see them any differently. I actually think they are beautiful and I am inspired by them, so strong. I have heard many times “I hate pretending like I have it all together, because I don’t okay. I just don’t.” True that sister. But you know who does have it all together: our Heavenly Father. In because of that I have joy and hope.
I find comfort in being real with Him, because He already knows. Superficiality doesn’t get far with Him, and it shouldn’t with us. My sister helps me walk this out almost on a daily basis. She’ll ask “How are you doing?” and I always reply first, “Fine,” to which she replies….”No, how are you REALLY doing?!”
So I now ask you “How are you REALLY doing?!”
I am challenged to be more authentic, because I find freedom in that. Playing pretend just isn’t my thing. It’s only fun when your 5!!