Wednesday, December 2, 2015

make room for ugly

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Hi, my name is Sarah. And I'm a habitual liar. I lie to protect myself. It makes me feel better about who I really am and the life I really live.

But honestly, can I even say that I'm a habitual liar? In reality, I just don't always tell the whole truth. I'm deceptive...and that's not lying, right? Deceivers don't tell the whole truth. Liars distort the truth. I'm definitely just deceptive.

I tell people about the good things happening in my life. I show them all of the lovely things. But I leave out everything else. I wouldn't want to burden anyone with my sorrows. I'd hate to put a damper on someone's day. It actually sounds like I'm doing a public service: all this hiding is for the good of others.

Except when it's not.

Like when I looked in the mirror and hated the fat girl I saw staring back at me. And spent the next decade trying to be good enough for people who wouldn't ever care.

Like when I believed I wasn't lovable and desirable because my uncles teased me about my weight and crooked legs.

Like when I was ashamed of admitting I had kids because I felt like people would think I was "one of those Asian girls" who got married too young, had kids too young, is living off welfare, and isn't gonna go anywhere in life.

Like all of those times I've walked through darkness alone becasuse we act like we've never been ransacked by hurt this deep.

Like this kind of junk doesn't ever end up on our doorstep.

It tears us apart and keeps us apart.

We see everybody else living these beautiful lives while we've got front row seats to the biggest natural disaster there's ever been: the life we call our own.

Just the other day I was thinking about how I'm pretty darn good at being honest. Had a heart check today: I'm not.

There are things we'd rather not include in conversations because, let's be honest, they're unattractive. As in ugly. How about we just assume we've all got skeletons in our closets and call it even?

I've tried that. Doesn't work that way. And if you're still trying to make it work that way, let me save you some years of frustration: Stop trying. It doesn't work that way.

There's this verse in James that I never thought much of until recently when I started cultivating authentic relationships. He writes, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective" (5:16).

I want to live honestly with you. I don't want you to think I'm someone I'm not, living some life I don't. I want you to know my heart so that if you don't already know someone who's more messed up than you are, you do now.
Against the backdrop of broken and breaking, we display God's grace. [tweet]
I want you to know that you're welcome here, just as you are. I know we all have junk; we all haul baggage around. But did you know that in God's eyes, because of Jesus' sacrifice, we're all in the same boat? And it is overflowing with new mercies for you and me.

My hope for us is that our lives are beautiful not because there's seemingly nothing wrong, but because against the backdrop of broken and breaking, they display God's grace.

in this together,