Two questions have come up on a regular basis recently:
1. Can I share your posts?
2. Why do you put so many of your thoughts and personal business on social media?
First, if you read something that resonates with you, share it with others so they can get benefit from it, too.
Second, I used to keep most of my thoughts and personal life in a bubble. I had a strong need to be perfect. The only things I shared on social media were the highlights of those moments in life I wanted the world to see.
Perfectionism was probably my greatest weakness, and I allowed it to let pride take over my heart. That pride destroyed a lot and could have cost me a lot had I not turned to God and found a church home when I did. I still struggle with the sin of pride daily, but not to the same degree as I did a year ago.
The problem with social newsfeeds is the illusion of perfectionism they provide. One of my most liked and commented on photos on Facebook a while back was me in the ocean in a white dress after a photo shoot. What no one knew (including my family at the time) was in that moment I had turned that week to alcohol to get me through the mental hell I didn’t know how to get out of. The smiles were hiding a lot I couldn’t process. But the illusion of perfectionism was real. It’s a strong illusion … a girl who appears to be cutting lose in the middle of water, secretly feeling like she’s drowning and wishing the ocean waves would take her away.
I’m not at that place anymore. And I know I won’t ever be again. I have a different set of tools to work with now and a husband who knows everything and can now help me through the years of things I never shared with him.
2 Corinthians 12:9 reads, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Last year, I went through a really tough time. Some days, I still struggle with it emotionally. There were days the pain was so tough, I wasn’t sure I wanted to make it through it.
But God landed me at Trinity Baptist Church. Through a ReEngage class I heard a lot of powerful stories that began to heal my brokenness. I began to realize that others had healed from the same things I was going through, and they weren’t afraid to share their stories. Most importantly, I realized no one is perfect, healthy conflict is a good thing, and Christ called us to give our testimonies.
During that time I also read the words, “Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison. Don’t be afraid to share it.”
It has become my life’s motto.
Originally, I started sharing the lessons I was learning in our ReEngage class or the lessons I took away from church because I print my social media feed each year into a keepsake book for my daughter. I thought one day she might flip through the book and see something that helps her through a tough time.
Then something odd happened. Each time I posted something, I would get one comment, one private message, or one TXT message from ONE person telling me something similar to, “Thanks for sharing that. I needed it today.”
I realized my own friends on various levels were struggling.
For the first three months of this year, I stayed committed to sharing whenever I could. Then I took on a project at work where I dedicated all my free time to building it. It had to do with human resiliency.
I realized a lot of things while working on that program. The biggest one was that people heal best when they realize it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to talk about the struggles and what you have gone through. You don’t have to be perfect, strong, or tough.
I also learned that people have to be told it’s normal to hurt. It’s normal to break and make mistakes. It’s normal to not be strong all the time. It’s normal for marriages to fall apart … and normal to repair them.
In mid-June the project I was working on hit a stopping point for my involvement. At that moment, I realized I needed to get back to something even more important … growing personally in Christ. I picked up my Bible again and started studying it. I started going back to God in prayer when I struggled and didn’t know where to turn.
God always answers when I’m tuned in. You’ve had the opportunity to walk that journey with me over the last few weeks.
Yesterday, as I was in a moment where I was struggling with the my thoughts, a friend of mine randomly shared his story and struggle. He is a few years ahead of me in the healing process, but our stories are mirrored in many ways. It was as if God was telling me, “You’ve made the right choice, and I will continue to guide you through this.”
I needed his story.
The rest is history.
Once I made time for me again instead of a work project, I stated my blog (TipsOfWisdom.com) again. I found power in journaling through my thoughts.
But now instead of ONE person a day saying “thanks for sharing” it’s around FOUR. So I know I’m not alone in the struggle or growth. And neither are you.
My cell is 903-490-4896. I don’t share my stories because I think others need to talk, but if you’re not sure where else to turn, I’ll always be here to listen. I’m a vault and a good ear.
Life is tough. You weren’t called to be perfect. You were called to love others. You were called to forgive others in their imperfections. If we all woke up every morning asking “How can I do those two things,” I truly believe all the other problems we face would go away.