Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All My Lies Are Always Wishes

The buzz word that's been going around church (and other places, it seems) for the last few years is "authenticity." Being real. Not putting on a fake smile for people. Not saying, "Fine!" when people ask you how you are but telling them how you really feel. Being honest and open and talking about your struggles and shortcomings instead of pretending everything in your life is perfect.

Sometimes we try to project who we wish we were instead of who we really are. I'd love for people to think I have a perfect life. I have a great life. I have a home, I have a family, I have friends, I have a wonderful church family, I get to stay home with my son. It's a great life.

My favorite part of my life is probably my husband. Honestly, I don't exaggerate about how wonderful my husband is. He's really incredible. He cooks (especially in the summer when we grill a lot, but he also cooks other times when I need his help), he cleans, he takes care of all the yardwork, he's an incredibly caring father who spends a lot of time with our son and a wonderful husband who loves spending time with me, and he provides for our family by working hard all week.

This, of course, has little to do with me.

I didn't make my husband wonderful; his mom and dad did. Thanks to them for that. I feel better when I'm around him, and I think he makes my life incredible. Him + Me = Perfect Match.

But this doesn't make me perfect. While he makes my life better, he doesn't make it perfect. So that begs the question:

What would make my life perfect?

More money? Money just seems to cause trouble in excess. I'd rather have just enough than too much.

Better skills? I don't mind some self-improvement. Besides, my housekeeping skills definitely leave something to be desired.

A bigger house? No, I'd just have to clean more. See above.

More kids? We're not sure what God wants our family to look like right now. We want to be good stewards of what we have, so how many kids would be financially responsible for us as a family? And while I adore my son and maybe wouldn't mind another just like him, would I be as happy with two as I am with one? Difficult to say. It's up for debate in our household right now.

More stuff? My recent garage sale points to a "no" in this category. I'm done with stuff. Besides, I don't want a bigger house, so I don't have a place to put more stuff!

There are a lot of things I could add. Maybe being prettier? Thinner? There's a lot in the personal appearance category that would maybe make my life closer to perfect. 

But it's all just a "maybe," isn't it?

There are people who have all those things who'll tell you their lives aren't perfect. They have family issues to deal with or personal struggles and addictions to contend with. Even people who really, truly seem to have it all together really, truly don't. I can guarantee, with 100% certainty, there is something they struggle with.

And that's OK.

The only place we're meant to find perfection is in Christ. We can never attain perfection. I mean, if we could ever be perfect, we wouldn't need him in the first place. We try so hard to act like we have our poop in a group sometimes, but the truth is that we're meant to find life difficult to a point. Helps us rely on God to get through, which is exactly what we're supposed to do.

Being authentic is more than being "real" with others. It's about being honest with yourself and telling yourself that it's OK to be imperfect. That act alone helps you to be honest with others. I know I can relate to someone with imperfections far more than someone with a shiny veneer.

It's a crazy concept, but—just for today—let's pretend that nobody on the planet is perfect. Not. A. Person. And don't just throw it off as a cliché—really believe it. How would that change your interactions with others? How would it change the way you feel about yourself? Would you have to try as hard to get through the day?

Relax. Nobody's perfect. And that's OK.

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