If ever you were looking for a recipe for the most refining year of your life, I have the answer.
- Loss of a life
- Cross-country move
- Raise & live on support
- Plant a church
- Start a new job on said church’s staff
- Work with your spouse, thus seeing them 24/7 and having all your lines cross, all the time
Mix all of the above together thoroughly until no ingredient is recognizable and it’s all just one big glob. Voila. You are now officially the hottest mess currently living.
OK, sorry for the sarcasm. It’s my tragic flaw. My point is that I have felt like the biggest mess lately, and as I’m looking up and actually taking a good look at what the last year of my life has looked like, I’m realizing how much it makes sense that I am such. a. hot. mess.
And I’m not even necessarily a mess spiritually. I actually feel (praise God!) the most whole and healed and alive I have felt in a very long time. But I’m starting to notice places in my life that are just a little bit off center — and ultimately, that becomes an issue of me being a “spiritual mess” when I keep taking off-center steps until all of a sudden I look up and I am NOWHERE near where I thought I was going.
Last week I had a meltdown of epic proportions, and I don’t even remember how or why, but somehow the smallest miscommunication in my marriage blew up into me ripping my husband to pieces. Because that is what I do when I feel out of control. I make someone else pay for it.
Mercy. Jesus, help.
It was the kind of fight that you walk away and instantly feel the weight of how terrible you just were to the person you love the most. I got in the shower, and I just wept. Like, ugly cry wept. It was sort of a “I can’t do this on my own anymore” moment.
I felt crazy in my head. I felt like a failure of a wife. I felt anxiety and fear over the most ridiculous things, and I was beating myself up about having those stupid thoughts. I felt like I wanted to quit everything.
Y’all. It was so irrational. But it was so real in that moment! Also the hormones. They were so real in that moment.
I got out of the shower and I texted my sisters, my two closest friends in Salt Lake City, and my two sister-friends that I talk to almost daily on Voxer. I told them all the ridiculous things I was thinking, how much I felt like I was failing at being a wife, and all the fears I was wrestling with.
And then they responded. I cried and I laughed and I actually think I snorted once because my sisters are hilarious. I felt known. Understood. Free. A couple of my favorite responses:
- Wait. Are you talking about you or me? Because half way through reading that message I thought you were talking about me. Sister, we all feel those things.
- Oh, good. I thought I was the only one. I threw a broom on Saturday.
Sometimes we just need some solidarity, right? We need to feel human again. We need to be set free from the crazy that is our minds when we let them run wild, hidden from the light. We need to know that someone else ate ice cream for dinner last night and we are not alone in our weaknesses!
I just feel so fed up with false expectations and the lack of honest conversation about things that are real in our culture. Social media tells us who we should be and what we should be doing if we want to be “X, Y and Z” — and where in the world are all of those white walls that all of those trendy girls are posing in front of?
Why are we not having honest conversations about getting free from impossible standards? Why am I spending more of my mental energy on how I sound to thousands of people I don’t know than on how I sound to the man I’m married to?
That day that I texted my sisters & friends and confessed all the lies I’d been believing, and the horrible ways I’d spoken to my husband, and the fears I was wrestling with, I felt a freedom in that moment that made me ask, “How many people don’t know this kind of freedom is an option?”
How many people are walking around carrying all this weight that isn’t theirs to carry because they don’t know they can be free? Ugh. It hurts me to think about, because I literally thought I wasn’t going to make it through another day without losing my mind.
We need to talk about these things.
We need to talk about the comparison that runs rampant in the age of social media. We need to talk about self care and not running ourselves ragged. We need to talk about our thought lives and the lies that can easily rule us if we don’t choose to rule them instead. We need to reign in our pride and learn to live broken and vulnerable before one another because that is where we begin to bear fruit.
I’m not even really sure how yet, but I want to spend some time in the next few weeks talking about some of these things here. I want to Biblically address some of these things that I know we all struggle with at times. Because I need it. And I learned last week in reaching out to my sisters in that moment of need that I’m probably not the only one.
So buckle up, guys & gals. Let’s slay some giants. I’m kind of over looking at them.