Part of my profile on my blog reads, “My focus is to live a life that’s real…in attempt to love God and love others…and I share it here.”
I see so many people go through life living behind a mask. So many try to “fake it until they make it.” Many have put walls up around themselves and their lives and they won’t let anyone in to see the “real” person behind those walls.
I vowed years ago that I wanted to live a life of transparency…a life that’s real. I remember the day when our daughter, probably 13 at the time, was standing in front of the mirror in her room in tears. Saying through her sobs hurtful and untrue things about herself and her body. And her words still linger in my ears today, “Mom, you’re perfect. I can’t be like you.” (It brings tears to my eyes again as I write them.)
I used to think I had to be perfect in my children’s eyes in order to be a good example for them. And seriously, Ali thought I was perfect. I couldn’t believe it, because I knew different. But she never saw me mess up because I hid my mess ups. She never saw my flaws because I hid them from her too. She only saw my successes and the “positive” stuff. I never let her see the negative.
At that very moment, I knew I needed to let her see the “real” me. Little by little I shared parts of my life that I wasn’t proud of, my failures, and my mess ups with my children when the times were appropriate to do so. I felt I was freed at last to be me. They know much about my teenage years and the many mistakes I made. And the things I wish I could do over or the things I wish I had never done. I pray they’ve learned a lot from my past mistakes, and I pray they don’t make the same ones. It’s freeing to be real!
I still have a tendency to want to hide the negative stuff that I experience, but I know how that can backfire. I don’t shout these things from the rooftops, however, as I still want to be appropriate and professional. But I’m much more open about my life than I used to be, as you may have previously read that in my other posts. I imagine some think I share too much and am way too open. And that’s okay if they think that.
After I got home from work today, I spent an hour alone in our bedroom sitting on our floor, propped up at the side of our bed. And I prayed. I just needed to feel God’s presence and to be reassured everything is going to be okay. I found myself questioning things of life again, and I wanted God to confirm to me His calling once again on my life. I’ve fought back tears most of the night. Until my family reached out to me and I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer. They’ve seen me and heard me be real tonight in my struggle.
I shared everything in my heart with them. And they cared. I even shared with them how I wanted to be so real on my post here tonight after reading some very disturbing things on Facebook from some “friends.” Statuses about judging people in prison, getting drunk, and bashing the character of another. Really? Is this the status of our lives? But then I saw a friend’s status about her brother passing away yesterday and how her heart is broken. I prayed for her and her family right then, sitting on my floor. God confirmed that He’s still using me to lift others to Him. I needed that.
It’s time for us to be real, friends. It’s time to let those in our lives really enter our lives. It’s time to let them see the real us. It’s time to allow people to see our mistakes, as well as our successes. Especially our families and our children. If I wouldn’t have been real with my family tonight, or if I would have thought I needed to protect my kids from seeing my struggle, I wouldn’t have the peace that I have at the end of my day. And they could possibly think they are the only ones who ever struggle. After tonight, they are reminded that all of us struggle!
My children no longer think I’m perfect…and I’m okay with that! 🙂
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