October 21st

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

I haven’t done many self portraits, but it felt right today.

I have a lot on my heart today, so this may be a long one. Hang in there with me.

I’m currently involved in three different bible studies and small groups, each with a different purpose and each with a very different group of people. Three different perspectives on approaching the Bible, three different messages each week.

The first is a couples without kids study. I’ve talked about this group in previous posts, and we’re going on one year of meeting (so crazy!). Our approach is obviously marriage-based; We explore what makes for a strong marriage, we share struggles, celebrate victories. This group has changed mine and Paul’s marriage – we’ve always been a strong couple, but this group has challenged us to really dig deep and know what it is to serve each other and communicate effectively. How do we talk to each other? What does this say about the value we place on our spouse? How do men communicate, and what do they need from us as wives (and vice-versa). What is our love language? You get the idea. We’ve all grown together, explored some tough topics, and become close through it.

The next two are a more recent addition.

A close friend and I are doing a study just the two of us, and we’re exploring women of the Bible and how their stories are relevant to our lives today. We have just started to dig into this, but the first story was about Eve and how giving into Satan and temptation changed her life. How does Satan continue to sneak into our hearts? What weaknesses do we personally possess that he uses to subtly work his way into our lives? Most recently was Rebekah, and how she was courageous and bold, but how she used her sharp brain for manipulative works. This chapter really challenged us to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses. Which sounds really easy, but to put yourself under the microscope and be honest with yourself was more challenging than I expected.

The third is a small group of myself and three other women, each at different stages on our lives and careers but with similar personality types and a similar struggle: Feeling hidden and underutilized in a society that craves being seen. So to explore this further, we are currently reading “Unseen” by Sara Hagerty. So many phrases struck home with me, and we’ve only been through chapter two. We’ve decided to journal alongside this book, and it’s been a way to explore my faith that I’ve never done.

“But who was God to me during those ordinary days, the days I didn’t need him to calm a storm or walk across water…who was He when I had nothing to give to Him?” (Chapter 1, Page 18)

“Something inside of me craved the God I’d find when I wasn’t changing the world.” (Chapter 1, Page 19)

“She caught me being insignificant […] and I suddenly felt the need to justify…” (Chapter 1, Page 24)

But most importantly: “He cared about the insecurities that plagued me.”

Oh, insecurities. Probably the toughest subject to openly discuss.

We all have them. We all struggle. No matter your age, gender, ethnicity, where you live, who your best friend is, what your job is. And with the introduction of social media, I’d like to take a leap and say that there’s become an even bigger microscope over what we obsess over. While we all love social media, it makes us just as miserable.

You post a picture, and it doesn’t get the attention you were hoping for. You see all of the engagements that happen over the holidays, and it reminds you that you are single. They bought a house, they have kids, they lost thirty pounds, they have the dream job, etc. etc.

Everyone else has the perfect life.

Why is that? Because Facebook, Instagram, Twitter is everyone’s highlight reel. People only share what they want you to see.

So I’m showing a little bit (LOT bit) of vulnerability today. My post today is here to break that cycle.

This is ME, folks. No makeup, in my pajamas, wet hair after a shower, red-nosed, puffy-faced because I’m still battling a stuffy nose and cold. I’m in my messy house (that we rent, we don’t own), in the $20 chair we bought at Goodwill because money’s been tight. My husband was home at 1am this morning from a trip, and had to roll back out of bed to be out of the house by 9 for another. This is me. This is real life. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Self-love is important, and I’m still learning that. Life is different for everyone, and just because mine looks different than yours doesn’t mean either of us is doing it wrong.

Shout-out to YOU, friend. I love you for who you are. Let’s break this cycle together.

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