The other day, I was having a conversation with a close friend. One of those good, heart-to-heart talks that all of us girls need from time to time–you know the ones. About halfway through, she gave me a sincere and humbling compliment. Her words were, “You don’t act like you have it all together, and that makes me feel like I can come to you with anything.”
Wow. Before you start accusing me of getting a big head, understand how undeserving I felt hearing that. Mostly because I know how many past times I’ve tried to “have it all together.” It’s exhausting, and since going through our losses, I’ve decided to give up trying. Why? Because I definitely do NOT have it all together, and I believe there is power in transparency and bearing each other’s burdens.
If you look through Scripture, you’ll find pages upon pages of imperfect people. One of my favorite passages is 2 Corinthians 11. If we were at a modern day anonymous meeting, these verses would be the point where Paul stands up, introduces himself to the group, and begins to explain his weaknesses.
“Hi, I’m Paul. I’ve been imprisoned, flogged, exposed to death, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked three times, constantly on the move, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger at sea, in danger from false brothers. I’ve gone without sleep, food, water, and have been cold and naked. I have been persecuted for the sake of the gospel. I have a thorn in my flesh that won’t go away. I’ve got problems.”
He’s not the only one…
Eve struggled with temptation and gave in (thanks, Eve).
Sarah was barren.
Leah wasn’t as pretty as her sister Rachel, and not as loved either.
Bathsheba had an affair with King David, and she lost her husband and her son who was conceived in adultery.
Esther was an orphan, raised by an uncle, and had the responsibility of saving her entire Jewish people at the risk of her own death.
Ruth and Naomi were both widowed.
Mary was a pregnant, unwed teenager.
There was the lady who bled for twelve years, the widow who lost her only son, the woman at the well who was searching for love and life, and Martha who worried too much about things that didn’t matter that much.
Those are just some of the women, and if I listed all the other examples of men and women who had stressful, life-altering problems, I could fill up the pages of a book. So why did God include all of these broken people from one cover of the Bible to the other? One reason, I believe, is to remind us that we are in good company. We all have our problems and we have a deep need for Him. Our weaknesses, stresses, and brokenness are constant reminders that we are never at a time that we do not need Him.
On our good days–we need Him.
On our bad days–we need Him.
On all our in-between days, we need Him just as much.
And we also need each other. Why do we spend so much time trying to convince others that we don’t have problems, knowing that couldn’t be more untrue? Take a few minutes to scroll through your newsfeed and you will find that most people only post the pictures that portray something happy. We try a new Pinterest cookie recipe and post a picture of perfectly delicious cookies, while the first batch we burned is behind us in the trash. It didn’t make it to the picture because it wasn’t perfect. Our kids are doing something cute? Let’s post it but delete the 100 takes before where everyone is crying or picking their noses.
Life isn’t picture-perfect. It’s messy, hard, and sometimes brutal. Everyday, people all over the world are given bad news, stressed about work, going through divorce, dealing with sickness, experiencing the pain of loss, and a myriad of other problems. No one has it all together. And no one is without a need for the Lord.
So let’s be honest. Instead of pretending, let’s take our masks off and be transparent. Let’s make ourselves approachable and available, willing to get our hands dirty by offering to uphold each other when life is messy. And while we’re being honest….
Hi, my name is Amy. I’m a perfectionist, worry too much sometimes about others’ opinions of me, and I sometimes struggle with believing I am enough. Everyday, I miss my babies, and because of my losses I can sometimes be crippled by anxiety. I need Jesus every single day of my life. If He doesn’t help me, I’ll fail. Without Him, there is nothing good about me. And finally, I do NOT have it all together.
That’s me being honest. Now it’s your turn.