I’m humbled by how God’s been breaking through all the thoughts that have kept me from fully living my life for decades. It took days, weeks of soul work that will continue to be in process, but it is worth every mindful moment.
Through an exercise training I got to do recently, I was asked to look boldly toward what was getting in the way of my full potential. This had to do with fitness instruction, but translated to everyday life much like Brene Brown‘s work in Rising Strong. To complete the exercise I’d have to realize what I was afraid of, what I was avoiding being seen as, and to answer the hard question of why I avoided or feared these things.
It didn’t take me long to recognize I had taught myself to avoid being seen as imperfect, less than, not enough. To avoid messing up. To avoid being human basically. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. That is no way to live. Exactly. But sadly I think all too many of us relate to the feeling of striving to not be seen as something – fat, harsh, unkind, stupid, incapable… you name it for you.
I think for so long in order to avoid the pain of ridicule, I chose to avoid the messy beauty of being fully me. Because after all, fully me means the messy, real parts included.
The reality is I’m flawed, you’re flawed, we are all flawed. It is so so exhausting living attempting to hide the flaws to impress – others, God or ourselves.
If you’re living like I unawarely lived for years, avoiding expressing some very real parts of yourself because they are not perfect, please do the hard work and bringing yourself to embracing your whole self. It is so so worth it.
Freedom is found in loving the real, flawed, whole you, the whole me.
Getting there can be so hard though. It will take digging deep, courage, stepping past your known comfort and actually leaning on the Power in you and not the voice of fear. What you’ll end up needing to do is be brave. To live brave. Every day I wake up, and currently every day when I get on that fitness stage, I need to be brave, to bravely do what I’ve been avoiding – joke, sound like me, say new things, let silence land, set boundaries… be human, be real.
Yes. You might mess up. You might say the wrong thing, not look perfect, not be viewed as smart, knowledgable, attractive… whatever that voice you’ve listened to for years is telling you. Your fear might happen.
But hear me: if you let that fear be your god, if you live to assuage that fear voice, your life will never be able to be fully seen, known…lived or loved. Some of it will be kept quiet, in secret, in your small routine of speaking, living, behaving because it’s safe, known, comfortable.
This becoming and allowing the real you to fully live is not easy. It takes exceptional self-awareness, mindfulness, reflection, renewal of thought patters and courage after courage.
But what I’m realizing lately is this brave place is inspiring. I like it. I like the thrill of actually believing God and letting go of my known control. I like the life of not being perfect – because it’s the real life I have. And real is pretty darn great.
Real doesn’t look like a supermodel, doesn’t sound like the smartest person always, isn’t always nice, pretty, clean, organized… perfect. But you know what it is? It’s fun, it’s lovable, it can give and receive grace, belly laugh, say no, dance, rest, connect…really live.
And when I think about it, the only thing I’ve ever known to be perfect or ideal in this world is fantasy. At this point I would much rather be flawed, real and alive than live chasing after the ever elusive air brushed fantasy, perfection or locked down control of managing life to look as I or the world thinks it “should”.
So like the season of Summer that’s rising hot and energizing around me, the season of being real has been life-giving. It might not sound as good, look like a magazine, or be what the world expects, but it’s bigger, fuller, more colorful, fun, lovable and inspiring.
Be brave friends. Be all of you.
Extra Musings and Random Thoughts
If you’re interested in any of this digging deeper in your own life, I’d encourage you to read any and all of Brene Brown’s work. I’d suggest starting with The Gifts of Imperfection, move to Daring Greatly, then Rising Strong. Each and every word can help your journey. They have literally changed my life.
The latest message series at my church has been excellent in awakening me to hear, see and respond to the fear in a different way and instead live out of God’s power. Watch or listen to the messages on living fearless on LCBC’s website.
I am so excited to share that I got to be the guest blogger for my favorite author in psychology & Christian dating, Debra Fileta! Please read my post on how to love your life when you’re 29 and single 🙂
Photo is me enjoying my favorite “small splurge” of the Summer, my pool membership. What could be more an act of being bravely real, stripped down you than how we all are at the pool?! Hope you’re able to get out and enjoy the beauty of your life this Summer.
Happy living friends!