It's funny, the things that people take away from a first impression. You manage not to burn the Easter brunch egg souffle casserole and suddenly you're June Cleaver. Or because you managed to wrestle your hair into an easy updo in time for an early morning appointment, clearly you must have it all together.
Sometimes, friends, on any given good day, the hair's the only thing one wrestles with and wins.
We wear our victories like a badge of honor, bragging on even our best efforts. We do it for others, to validate their successes, and others do it for us too, buoying us up over our created seas of self-doubt.
Admittedly there are struggles - we know no one is perfect. But we celebrate the high points, hoping to erase any signs of the tussle to prove that those hiccups were something of the past. And now we're relishing this fragile moment, eager to get through our acceptance speech before someone notices that the manicure done by our six year old needs a touch up.
No matter what we had to sweep under the rug to make you notice.
But for you to ever take notice and see me, just me, you're going to need to meet me right where I am.
Because honestly? What's under the rug tells a far truer story of who I am, of who I am becoming in this beautiful struggle.
I want to live honestly. I want to share the lessons gleaned from the ugly. I want you to know that there were tears, there are always tears, on the way to triumphs.
I want to testify to grace that showed up when I was least graceful. I want to deflect any temporary praise for what I managed to do in a moment to an eternal hope that keeps me plugging away in these never ending moments of life.
I'd rather disclose the ish hiding under my rug than, despite my best facade, to have the exposed realities suddenly pull the rug out from beneath me.
Which is why we've taken to celebrating the journey around our house. It's not just the peaks and A pluses that earn a place on the fridge. But the dips and detours too that prove our progress. The anonymous apology glued together from magazine clippings. The dictated story that tattles on the marital discord but testifies to the unity eventually fought for and won. The bad choices made and the ramifications that followed.
No hiding allowed. No acting accepted.
Just me and you. At our best and at our worst.
Because it's not the holy words enclosed by gilded frame on our walls or the bookshelves lined with paper spines boasting our higher learning that will speak into the lives of others.
It is our lives and our daily choices lived out in authentic transparency that show others how our stories - the good, the bad, and the ugly - are transformed into testimonies even as we ourselves are being transformed.
So, you've had a bad day. Me too. Tell me about yours and I'll let you read about mine from front and center on my refrigerator door.
//“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone. I do not think more of myself nor less of myself. Instead, I think of myself less.” - Tim Keller