My Mom always taught me the old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Well, that was a VERY difficult lesson for me to learn apparently. One that I guess I only half learned. For those of you who know me well, you know that I have a “strong” personality (if you want to put it nicely). I have zero qualms telling people how I feel. If you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe, I will tell you. I will be as discreet as possible, but I will tell you. I won’t laugh at you. I won’t tell everyone that I just saved you from public humiliation. I will just tell you and move on. That same honesty heads your way when you are in the wrong. When you are being a jerk, I will let you know. I have been so fortunate to have friends that do this for me in my life. I don’t know how people survive without honest friends who call each other on the carpet. I think sometimes we convince ourselves that is what we are doing in our circles; when really we just have an entire circle of no one wanting to tell each other what we really think for fear of hurting each other’s feelings…but isn’t that what it takes sometimes to be real? Don’t we need to get down and dirty before we can get to a better place?
I think of when I purged my closet recently. I had to take everything out and my room was a COMPLETE DISASTER!!! Then after I went through each item and decided whether to keep, trash, or donate…slowly but surely, not only was my room looking cleaner, but my closet was amazing and so organized. I felt so clam walking into my closet and being able to see what I had accomplished. All of the garbage was gone. I didn’t see the bad stuff anymore, the clutter was gone. I could actually move around and my mood didn’t get sour just falling over stuff in there.
Sounds kind of like the negativity and baggage in our relationships that we just sweep over thinking it will blow past but it never does…it just builds up until the relationship collapses and breaks. Or we break.
This is me being R.E.A.L.
I am in the struggle of my life right now. I am hanging on by a thread and I am trying so hard to be true to myself and not let this change me. I am desperately trying to not let it change my kids. Believe me, I know that we never really know what goes on behind closed doors, or in the lives of others…but I also know that most of the people we surround ourselves with have not known true heartache and strife. Most of the teenagers and young adults my kids are friends with have no idea what true struggle and adversity means. They will someday, and that will be life changing, but to claim that their characters have been built upon the adversity they have met thus far is insulting to those who have actually survived real challenges.
I’ll be honest, by the time I graduated, I thought my testimony couldn’t get any more real. I thought I had one of the most difficult lives of any of my friends…which was probably true at that time. And then I lost my mom at 20…suddenly, and with no warning. At 21, I thought my story would never get worse…now, 20 years later, I have a sick child. I can promise you, I pray there is nothing worse than that…but even so, I have 3 beautiful kids, a husband that adores me, an abundant life, lifelong friends, and blessings too many to count. Although my testimony continues to surprise me, so does God by carrying me. I have days that exhaust me. Days that terrify me. Days that I just can’t move forward. Other days are wonderful and perfect. Life is full of twists and turns…some are dark and twisty, some are exhilarating.
I guess my point to this story is this…sometimes it gets difficult to hear people speaking about overcoming adversity in their lives that seem pretty perfect from the outside. Maybe they do have some unseen struggle. Maybe they’re thinking the same thing about me….
The fact is, it’s ok to not be struggling. It is ok to be ok. I think in a world that is topsy-turvy, people think they must have some inner darkness in order to fit in. Especially Chrstians…we think we have to have some dark and twisty road in order to have a great testimony. That simply isn’t true. I think sometimes people think they need the street cred in order to be taken more seriously as Christians. Trust me, I’d trade my scars and road rash for one more day with my Mom. I would trade my entire story, if my daughter could attend every birthday party her friends have; to feel “normal” and healthy.
Your testimony doesn’t give you character…your character gives you a testimony.
Your story will come. Don’t live your life waiting for your story. Your life is the story. Go live it, and live it well.