Sometimes (just a wee tiny bit…), I wish I was her. You know her. That girl. That girl, who seemingly has it all together. Who’s all that and then some. Whom I admire from afar.
I’ll admit it. I read her books, her articles, her blogs. I see her out and about, I watch her on television. She has the perfect look. She is together in every way. And that’s just the surface, really. ‘Cause she’s more than meets the eye: she’s got talent. She can write like a dream, she’s athletic, musical, smart; she has ambition to spare. She is going places.
And her family. It’s perfect too. Everyone gets along, her kids are angels. Her Husband spoils her. Her in-laws dote on her. She has a friend at every turn. She is sought after for her expertise, her wisdom.
Her career. Don’t get me started. Life just flows along for her. Uninterrupted.
And sometimes. I find myself wishing that I was her.
I’ll come clean, for the record. I dream that the perfect life would be like that. Seamlessly, flowing downstream. Idyllic and carefree. Easy-peasy. Effortless.
And then I remember. Ah yes. I remember…
Life. It’s not (like that). Life is hard. It’s tough. It’s beautiful and brutal all mixed together. It’s brutiful. Even for her. Maybe even especially for her.
And while she might have some things more together than me, that’s okay. Truthfully I’ve got little, to no time to work on appearances, let alone taking time for everything else. Those things that I long for yet seem just out of reach. All the bigger things of life. Like deepening friendships, and being more of a deliberate, thoughtful parent. Like making wise career decisions and exposing myself to enriching life-learning experiences. Like strengthening extended family connections. And offering more time to school, community and church extra-curricular services.
I get exhausted just thinking about it. And that’s just the conscious level of my existence. Underneath the obvious stuff of life is that hidden layer. Where all the emotions, fears, joys and sorrows lie. Where the real action happens. It’s where I think about all the other stuff. And where I make decisions and choices about who I am and who I choose to be. It’s where I really live.
Sadly, it’s not just my Self that I often wish to change. It’s everything else around me too. It’s life in all its intricacies. It’s the realities of life that are beyond my control. It’s that difficult relationship, that challenging child, that painful memory. And when you add those experiences to my own frustrating bad habits, my inability and resistance to change that one thing in myself that would make life easier, life just seems overwhelming. Too big to fix. It is sometimes the composite of both the personal and the public that push me to say: “It’s not worth it. It’s too hard.” And that combo urges me to heed those other voices calling at me to, “Throw in the towel.”
To walk away.
But just when I reach the brink, the edge of the cliff. Just before I fall. I am stirred from within. From deep within my soul. From the cries of the heart come the answers to life’s greatest questions. That still small Voice that sweetly whispers, “Stay the course. Keep on, keeping on.” That Voice that encourages me to not run away. But rather, to turn back. To try harder. To work it out.
To live the life. With grace, with gratitude. With love.
Because the Person behind the Voice believes that I am worth it. That the people in my life are worth it. And He believes that life in all it messy glory, it is worth it. It is worth it to batten down the hatches even through the storm. For the sake of ourselves. For the sake of our families. For the sake of our future.
For the sake of life.
And in that quiet place where I can just be, I have found that I am who I am suppose to be. Flaws and all. I don’t always remember that who I am is enough, but I am slowly learning. Even in its raw fragility, in its exposed imperfection: the life I’ve been given is the perfect one for me. Changing features of my life can alter everything. Sometimes it is best to accept and embrace. To fight for my given life with every fiber of my being.
To not let go the ropes.
For in weakness, I am made strong. In imperfections, I am made whole. In love, I am being perfected. And when we as people truly begin to love ourselves the way God loves us, we are then free to love each other.
Wholly, humbly and completely.
Able to accept things in life which are not exactly as we wish them to be. Willing to change in ourselves what we can, but then able to embrace the rest of life that we cannot control. And further able to love the people God has placed in our lives with a love that covers a multitude of problems and frustrations.
And when this transformation occurs, life suddenly becomes beautiful. It is still brutal, but there is beauty in the harsh realities. Beauty is traded for ashes.
And life is everything we dreamed it could be. And then some.
And it’s all good. It’s truly all good.