An Open Letter to the Woman I Overheard say, "There's nothing she can't do; she's perfect."

i'm not sure if it was meant to be a private thought passed between yourself and your friend, or if you said it just loud enough for me to purposefully hear, but i heard it, nonetheless. i almost opened my mouth and put you on the spot right there, but i stopped. maybe it was my courtesy as to not embarrass you in front of the other women shopping my booth. maybe it was because in order for you to really know the depth of my answer, you would have had to spend at least 5 full minutes with me face to face, and not rely on the perfect world of FB to know my story. 

you see, i'm pretty sure you've heard this before, but there is no such thing as 'perfect.' not unless we're talking about Jesus here, and i'm very well sure you were not. i can't pretend to know much about you, because, well.... i don't KNOW you. i would hope that you wouldn't expect to KNOW me from what you apparently pour over, about my life on social media. i don't know you, but i'm pretty sure i can assume you have some crap in your life. do you think i don't? do you think i don't have piles of laundry and pain that runs deep? don't we all? so why would you for one second think i'm perfect? now i know you may have a rebuttal; you may have just been making that statement under your breath in jest. but i can tell you, i didn't take it lightly, and i'll tell you why.....

i'm 40 years old. i spent the first 33 of those years obsessed with perfection. thankfully we didn't have social media outlets back then to show you all how amazing i was. 'cause let me tell you, i most certainly would have. you would have bet your life savings that i was 'perfect' because i did everything in my power to be so. until. until my perfectionism turned me into someone i loathed. Jesus began a work in my life that flipped my perfect world on it's head and i've never been the same, and WILL never be the same. i am most certainly NOT, perfect, and i will be the first to tell you that i'm not, and not only that, i'm FAR from it, but i do still struggle with moments of perfectionism. so you may have to give me some grace. 

so you think there's nothing i can't do, huh? sure, i can use power tools, and fix a lawnmower, change tires and probably your oil if you asked me. i can paint a beautiful mural, make a mean toffee-nut latte, bake fresh bread and grind wheat to make baby cereal. i can give you some money if you're hungry and sew you some clothes. i can even recite Scripture if you'd like to hear it. that is the most important of all these things, by the way- the Scripture, not the reciting..... 

but there's a much longer list of the things i can't do, and since you wouldn't know that by the pretty pictures i post on FB, let me enlighten you. oh, and let me know if you want to see my piles of laundry and cobwebs in my bathroom... they are there, and i don't mind proving it with an instagram picture (with the 'nashville' filter and the hashtag #dirtyhousewivesofindianapolis). i just think pretty pictures on instagram are way more fun to look at than dirt. unless it's a photo of a farmer plowing dirt, then that's way up there in my ''pretty-pictures-on-instagram meter.''

oh, about that list: some of these may need some explaining....

i CAN'T feed my kids-
-now don't get me wrong, i don't mean the kind of 'not feeding them' as in, we're starving. although, we did spend several years as a one-small-income family (our choice) on food stamps and rounding up all our children to take them to the food pantry once a week or we actually may starve. i'm thankful to those years that taught us contentment, and resourcefulness. remember the rice i ground? way cheaper than boxed baby cereal. and healthier i may add. 
what i actually mean is, i can't stop what i'm doing to feed my kids. i have a problem. it's one of the hardest things for me to do, to stop in the middle of something that i'm doing, or making, to make something for my children to eat. so my default is to have them make something. problem is, i haven't taken much time to actually teach them how to cook, so it's often super healthy food like corndogs, frozen pizza and deli meat sandwiches. lots of pride in this momma for big accomplishments like that! sad thing is, i know how to cook, and how to cook well. my momma cooked everything from scratch and i know how too. are frozen crap foods bad necessarily? they are to me when they are being consumed out of necessity 'cause mom can't tear herself away from her sewing machine long enough to cook up some supper. menu planning is amazing, but for me, i get depressed even thinking about the grocery store. i hate grocery shopping. i'm sure you can relate. you didn't actually think i was good at everything, did you now?

i CAN'T remember-
-yeah, us mom's can't remember where we put our keys, and where our favorite shirt went, but that's not what i'm talking about. i can't remember what my children looked like when they were growing up, a movie that i watched last week, an important conversation i had with my husband, wonderful memories i made with people i love, a back and forth text last week about a vintage refrigerator, a trip i took, friends that i have (yes, you read that right), a book i read, a conference i attended.... it's gone. there have been times i sit on the toilet and honestly can't remember if i peed yet. i joke that i have early onset beginning signs of dementia... and i actually am not joking. it's scares me, and i hate that people have to stay on me about stuff because of it. i just forget. a lot. 

i CAN'T keep my house in order-
-just to name a few: come see me- just pick a random day of the week and here's what you'll see.... the windows have been cleaned 1 time in the 7 years we've lived here. there are cobwebs throughout the house, and my husband is horrifically afraid of spiders. the floor is so dirty that i feel it's pointless to even mop, because there's no way i'd ever get through all the layers of dirt by doing so. i've even considered just sanding the whole floor down just to have a do-over. (now i CAN do that!)  i'm not even joking. our couch cushions smell like dog. it disgusts me. the covers zip off! do i wash them? no. there is constant clutter and i haven't washed the kids' sheets for, well.... let's just be honest here; months. yes, they can do it themselves, but they don't because i don't think to tell them. and they're kids, so they don't think about it either. the list goes on. there's no excuse. 

i CAN'T not grab my phone first thing in the morning-
-i don't think there's one of us reading this that likes that about ourselves. there's guilt there- let's face it. what about my phone makes it so hard to reach for my Bible first thing in the morning, BEFORE i check my business emails and fb... and how many people like the pretty pictures i post on IG. there have been times i just plain didn't bring the li'l sucker in my room at night, and that helps, but it's a constant struggle... and it's one i lose quite often. 

i CAN'T handle germs in public-
-now you'd think my house would be pristine and germ free, but MY germs are ok. see? i'm not ok. i feel germs, i 'see germs,' and i can't handle them. restaurant menu's are the worst. ugh. i carry hand sanitizer with me in the car, and not only me, but everyone in the car my gets a 'squirt' upon entering the car, every time re-entry happens. if i don't feel my hands are 'clean' it's all i think about. when i'm out with the kids, they pretty much can't touch anything. i'm sure they get sick of hearing, "don't touch that! ISH... so many germs!" 

i CAN'T always go-
- yeah- that's right, i can't go. sometimes i can't go out with friends. i can't go to a meeting. i can't go for a walk. i can't to to target with my family. my world would crash down to ever take my kids downtown on a sunny afternoon to walk around or go to the 'big' library. that one is so, so hard. 
why you ask? i struggle with anxiety- self diagnosed of course. there's no reason i shouldn't be able to go, but i can almost bet, many times we have something planned, about an hour before go time, i panic, get scared and end up on my bed in tears. you wouldn't know this about me, 'cause well, to be honest- i don't think of snapping a picture or pulling out my cell in the middle of one of my whiny tantrums- the kind that my husband has to swoop in and save the day by either hugging me until my world is back on it's axis, or getting feisty with me and telling me to basically, suck it up, and God's bigger than this. (oh, and then there's the 'we-rarely-go-anywhere-together-as-a-whole-family-because-that-just-seems-too-stressful-to-me, CAN'T..... let's just not go there tonight, ok? that's too much for one paragraph)

i CAN'T get out of bed some days-
-and not because i'm tired. 

i CAN'T love people-
-i like people, don't get me wrong. and i actually love many people. you may have noticed me at my booth, milling about helping customers, giving hugs, talking with women, crying. i love some people, just not all of them. i'm learning, and growing in my love for people, but i'll be honest, i'm pretty prejudice. i grew up in northern wisconsin, and up there- we're all 'alike'.... it's something that the Lord has been refining in my for a few years now- but i catch myself often- i'm trying to see all people on level ground, and although i've come a LONG way, i've not arrived. 

i CAN'T be free in intimacy
-spending so many years as a child and young adult, doing so many things i shouldn't have been,  really puts a damper on Godly intimacy with your spouse. patterns that form are hard-broken in this life of mine. it was all so wrong and now it's supposed to be all so right... with the man i love so deeply... it's just all screwed up, and it's a struggle. 16 years and counting... and you thought i was so confident. 

i CAN'T say i've been a faithful wife.
-that's a tough one. but, can you? probably. trade ya!

i'm going to stop there. i think you get the idea. there are a LOT of can't-do's in my life. i promise this is just a small sample. we all have them. i think if you look at someone and think they are perfect, maybe it's because that's what you want to see. i mean, i think we're all adults here, and i think we all agree that we all have crap. we all have crap and we all have amazing. my amazing just happens to be different than your amazing. my amazing is all because of Him... my Father who graciously forgives and restores. who instills gifts and insists on perfecting me through HIS ways, into the likeness of His Son. so let's call it what it is. i'm not perfect, but i know the One who is, and i'm clinging to Him to use my cannot's to keep me humble, and my cans to show His glory. 

so, please be more careful about who you look up to. i promise, you don't want someone else's struggles just to 'look' perfect.  

..and if you're interested in seeing another side of me, here's an old blog i wrote... that is sometimes still true. 


becky said...

thank you for sharing. We all are struggling with something. For some reason, it just feels good to know another person's struggles, it puts our own lives in perspective. It provokes us to be thankful for the strengths and grace to overcome past struggles and for our current struggles- it just reveals that we are not alone.

Wani said...

oh my heart! thank you for bearing your soul to share some of your imperfect story with us! i keep watching your posts and frankly, I think we should be friends. ;-) Hugs!

LilMad Studio said...

I love this post. I think you are amazing - flaws and all - we are ALL flawed and there aren't too many of us that can just lay themselves out there honestly, as you have just done. Myself included. When reading this, I thought in my head, "Yep, that's me and that's me and that's me..." My most embarrassing traits..right there. I admire you not only for your faith, but for who you are, who you are not, and who you are not afraid to be!! Oh - and clean houses are overrated! ;) Take care! ~ Stacey

Post a Comment

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...