If you were to ask me how I have been doing over the last week, the first response to roll off of my tongue would be “Good!” My second response, the one to really close the convincing case for the state of my wellbeing would be, “I’m fine!” Neither would be that honest or accurate in describing the state of my soul, or my mind, or my physical body though.
I struggle to admit that I am not doing well because I often feel I have no reason to be unwell. I have a great life: I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are able to pay our bills, we are loved and celebrated and cherished. I am so thankful when I recall all that makes my life so rich and so full. Yet during weeks like this past week, that glimpse of my life goes from inspiring thankfulness to conjuring up shame. Shame because I am anxious, so anxious that I struggle to make decisions or complete tasks. Shame because I am angry, so angry because I am pushing those I love most farther away in fear. Shame because I am so exhausted I can barely listen to one more babble, which sounds more like yelling at the moment, or deal with one more middle of the night wake-up call from the nursery. Shame because I cannot enjoy my beautiful baby boy because I am so overrun with insecurity. Shame for having so stinking much yet feeling discontent. Shame for believing that I should know better than to fall for these damn lies. Shame.
It is one thing to say, “It is okay to not have it all together.” It is another thing entirely to be content in living out that truth; in genuinely believing that it is okay for your life to be scruffy, messy, disorganized, and imperfect. And not just that you left a few dishes in the sink or a pile of laundry on the bed – for some of you Type A folks, that is huge! – but that you can silence the voice of the accuser in the deepest, most overwhelmed parts of your soul with the reality “It is okay to not have it all together.”
It is okay to not have it all together. It is okay that your toddler either throws all of your thoughtfully prepared food on the floor or spits all of it out – surrender to the squeezy packet. It is okay that dog hair and mud are still covering your floors even though you have tried to clean them on a daily basis – put the broom down. It is okay that your washer has held a load of clothes for a few days – rev that sucker back up again. It is okay to dip that dark chocolate straight into the peanut butter jar – go ahead and double dip. Maybe these scenarios and more have occurred in my house this week. The problem is not saying “It is okay” – the problem (for me anyways) is believing it.
Believing that I am loved by God no matter what I do or do not do. Believing that I am enough as a woman, as a wife, as a mother, as a sister, as a daughter, as a friend because He says I am enough, because He has redeemed me and declared my value worth the death of Christ. Believing that every aspect of my personality, even the introverted, overly anxious, perfectionist parts, have all been intentionally woven together in a way that uniquely displays God’s image to the world. Believing that He loves the very parts of me that I find most unlovable. Believing that His compassion towards me is sufficient grounds for me to extend compassion to my weary, wounded soul. Believing that He took a sufficient beating for me on the cross so that I can stop beating myself up over my shortcomings. Believing that He is God and I am not; that I do not have to have it all together because He always has and always will.
Feeling frayed is not the same thing as being unthankful. May we give ourselves permission to address the frayed nerves, the threadbare soul and the worn out heart strings from the well of compassion that Father God has towards us. Then may we extend that kindness and compassion to one another in the warmest encouragement: It is okay for us to not have it all together, because we know the One who does.