God held a big fat mirror up to me a few weeks ago (man, I hate it when He does that… I love it when He does that!) and revealed to me the ugly truth: I am a liar.
Often, while I’m conversing with someone, I’m telling lies. Little lies, stupid lies, lies that are directed at making people think better of me – attempting to make myself seem just a little less ridiculous/reckless/irresponsible/immature/[email protected] than I actually am (FYI: if you put little symbols in the place of letters, you’re not actually cursing.) Oh, the words coming out of my mouth are all technically true (because, believe it or not, I’m
fanatical …[ahem!]… Pharisaical… [ouch] about truth-telling,) but what God has been showing me recently is that although the words coming out of my mouth are not outright lies, they’re worded in such a way as to make people believe something other than the actual truth. Example:
A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut for the first time since The Incident (by someone other than my husband, that is) and the girl asks:
“When’s the last time you got your hair cut?”
I answer: “Oh, not too long ago.”
Because “I-can’t-actually-remember-how-long-ago-it-was” isn’t THAT long ago. In the grand scheme of, you know, since the beginning of time.
A few weeks ago, I got to spend time with my family and for the first time in a very, very long time – I felt free. Members of my family gave me their forgiveness and we were able to have some meaningful conversations and just like that, it was as if all of my anxiety, all of my worry about what they might think of me was just gone. Broken off of me by the power of forgiveness.
And for the first time in a long, long time the shackles of other people’s opinions were lifted from me. I was able to be myself, completely utterly myself, around my family. I carried that feeling home with me and slowly but surely, I can feel myself changing… or at least, recognizing my need to change, which is the first step on a path I’m determined to take.
Tonight I read something that really impacted me and I wanted to share it with you. In a blog post entitled The Storm Before the Calm is a Good Place to Start, Glennon Melton writes:
So often, people’s lives are presented to us as before and after stories. It’s always: “Look! My mess is fine because I’m ALL BETTER NOW! Ten steps to FREEDOM! Look at me, I’m FREE!” Sometimes it feels like it’s only okay to talk about your Cinderella story when you’re at the ball. When the tough, ugly parts are over. When everything is shiny and happily ever after, promise!!
But there is no ball. There is no point in which you stop working and just brush your long pretty hair and flit around, untouchable. Done. All better. There is no before and after. Most honest folks with food/body/God/shame/etc. issues will tell you that it’s just the same damn thing, over and over. That you just fall down seven times and get back up eight. That each time you earn a little more wisdom to help you up faster the next time you fall. So I came here today to say: You guys. I got a little jacked up again. And I’m in the middle of the mess now. I’m not at the ball. I’m scrubbing floors: wondering why everyone else gets to dance and make it look so easy. I’m a little angry and confused that I’m almost forty years old and STILL DEALING WITH THIS SHIT. Why I don’t have all of this figured out yet. Why I can’t just get on with it already. It’s exhausting, to tell you the damn truth. And embarrassing. But it’s real. The before it’s fixed part is real. The storm before the calm is real. The during is as holy as the after. And it’s okay. It’s a good place to start.
Friends, family members, strangers at the beauty shop:
I invite you all into my storm.
And I hope that you’ll invite me into your storm, too. Because we’re all on a journey, we all spend time scrubbing the floors. I’ll leave you with one last thought from Glennon, from a post entitled Telling Secrets:
Maybe my public service could just be to tell people the truth about my insides. Because it seemed to make people feel better, for whatever reason. It struck me that for this particular “ministry,” my criminal record was a PLUS. It gave me street cred. And I considered that maybe the gifts God gave me were storytelling and shamelessness. Because you guys, I’m shameless. I’m almost ashamed at how little shame I have. Almost, but not really, at all. So I decided that’s what God wanted me to do. He wanted me to walk around telling people the truth. No mask, no hiding, no pretending. That was going to be my thing. I was going to make people feel better about their insides by showing them mine. By being my real self… …I decided, based on firsthand experience, that it’s more fun to say things to make women feel hopeful than it is to say or omit things to make women feel jealous. And it’s easier, too. Less to keep track of and monitor.
I started Momastery a few months later, to tell my truth recklessly to more people. And here, I’ve learned, along with hundreds of other brave women, that the most revolutionary act is telling the truth.