Embrace the Real

Why do we so often pretend—pretend our lives are immaculate, pretend we never cry into our pillows, pretend we know how this thing called life is supposed to work?

Why is it hard to be honest with ourselves and others when we’re struggling to trust our Father, when we’re at our wits end, when life isn’t looking how we think it should?

Are we scared? Scared of looking like we actually don’t have it all together, like maybe we actually don’t know how to be perfectly kind, loving, and tactful.

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In the past six months, I have done quite a bit of traveling. And you know what? I don’t recall those people I met with put together lives. I don’t remember the people whose outfits were perfect or the people who made life look effortless. The people who are most firmly burned into my memory are those who were okay with their flaws and struggles—who were okay with being real. I remember people whose eyes shone with the gladness of being alive and the passion of figuring out what to do with this gift. I remember the cashier who apologized that her words just weren’t coming out right that day. The woman with messy hair lost in an intense discussion of what life should look like. The man wiping tears from his eyes from laughter at his own stories. The woman with tears of gratitude and relief for the help we offered and the love we shared.

Each one of these people inspired me. They didn’t inspire me to a life of perfection. Instead, they inspired me to be genuine. Genuine people aren’t the ones who tend to be celebrated, but they are the ones who tend to be appreciated and remembered.

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Maybe its okay for the people around us to know that life is weighing kind of tough on our shoulders right now. Maybe its okay to cry on someone’s shoulder. Maybe it’s okay not to do all the ‘right’ things all the time. And maybe it’s okay for life not to be completely sane all the time.

Everything these days is so edited it’s hard to see the beauty in the raw. It’s something we have to train our minds to do. Instead of pulling away from the struggle, what would happen if we would lean into it? When our perfection fails us, why don’t we look to Christ’s perfection to complete us? We often vainly flounder for all the “right” things—the right attitude, the right outlook on life, the right response.

Yet all those “right” things can’t be found, they can only be given—given by the One who is perfection in its fullest. We aren’t called to search for for all these good things, we are only called to abide in the One who will grow good things—good fruit—in us. Abiding isn’t about doing, it’s about resting.

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