My Ink Dance

Discovering Extraordinary Grace in an Ordinary Life

Get It Together (In Five Easy Steps)

I stared at her knowing the words before she even spoke them. She was talking about me and how people perceive me. Thinking the words would hurt less, I spoke them before she could.

 

Image credit: Lauren Bates www.photodoto.com

Image credit: Lauren Bates www.photodoto.com

“Everyone thinks I have it all together.”

She nodded quickly, too quickly and the silence felt like a dense fog between us. Finally, she spoke saying that it just makes me seem unapproachable.

It was an honest conversation, lovingly honest. But heartbreaking just the same. Because the truth is that I long for honesty and transparency and this idea that I have it all together couldn’t be further from the truth.

And here is the truth you may not want to hear. There are no steps to getting it together. There’s only ways to work on things. We’re going to get it wrong. We’re going to mess up. We will never have it all together. But we can do better. It just frees us up to work on the next thing!

Without even realizing it, I had set a few guidelines.

1. Don’t complain about your spouse.

The respect I can show my husband in this one thing is far more valuable than any venting session with a friend. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to hold it all inside either. Talking with a safe person is good, but find a way to do it without demeaning your spouse. It can only make your marriage stronger.

2. Don’t complain about your body.

Here’s one that is hard for me, but essential to changing the culture of beauty standards for me and my kids. There are enough pressures out there in the world to have the perfect body and skin and hair and clothes. I do not need to contribute to that. I can show my kids that it’s okay not to be perfect. We can all work on being healthy. This does not mean we won’t face struggles in this area, but forcing myself  to choose my words and speak truth to my kids and myself.

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3. Be grateful.

It sounds so easy. “Be grateful for what you have.” But what about when your friend gets a shiny new car or takes a fantastic vacation? How about when you realize your whole house can fit in the garage of your child’s friend’s house? It is always going to seem like someone has more than you. And the truth is, they do. But when you have what you need you are blessed. Because the other side of that same truth is that you have far more than someone else in the world. This may feel awkward at first. I was struggling when a friend had a house I loved. To help my heart line up with what I knew in my head I started saying one simple thing when I came home or went out: “Hello, beautiful blue house,” or “Goodbye, beautiful blue house.” It sounds a bit corny, but soon my heart started to believe it. Gratitude makes even the worst situation better. Even if you have to fake it, this one is so worth it.

4. Say No.

In a culture of more, more, more, saying no is hard. We want to be liked. We want to give our kids all the best. We want to fit in. But the truth here is we are ignoring some of the more important things that are individual to us. What are the things you want that are not cool? One simple one for me: empty calendar squares. I love the feeling of a day without running. A day to relax and know that my people can just be. A day to make time for the other things that are important to me that get pushed aside like family reading time or an impromptu walk on the beach. Find what is important to you and say yes to that. (A great book that helped me with this was The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst)

5. Cut back on (or cut out) social media.

Social media is a double-edged sword. It makes me feel involved and connected. It makes me feel like I can bake that cake and run that marathon and have the perfect house and make all the Christmas gifts. But it’s not real. One person can’t be everything. We were never meant to. I struggle with limits on social media. I click my way right into the rabbit hole of never enough. There’s a solution for this. Don’t get sucked in. Maybe it means setting limits or taking a break or closing accounts all together. Regardless of how you do it, cutting back will help you find your balance.

None of us have it all together. But all of us do have something to offer. Find what that is for you and be that. Do that. Live that. And if you get it all wrong. Try something else.

Right now, I need to find ways to be more transparent while still being true to what is important to me. That’s not easy when you realize you’ve become a people pleaser with the best of intentions. But I know it’s not impossible either.

Next week I’ll share one way I’m finding my way back.


Linking up with writers scribbling hope.

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About Becky Hastings

I am emotional and logical. I am strong and dependent. I am a juxtaposition of head and heart exploring it all through writing. And in all my mixed-up ways I am loved. I’m here to tell you that you are, too. Just the way you are.

One Reply

  1. Good advice, Becky! Only God has it all together.

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