Why are we so good at putting our best foot forward in public when we are falling apart in private?
My Bible study is going through the Restless study by Jennie Allen right now (love it!). This was our third week meeting and we had a few women join our study for this session that haven’t been there before. One of the women has children who go to the same school as mine and we see each other just about every day in the hallways. We have chatted a little, but nothing deep. Well, this study gets into some of the deep stuff.
When I finished sharing a story about how I was arguing with my husband last week and running my mouth when I knew that I shouldn’t, this woman laughed and said, “You guys always seem like you have it so together.”
I was shocked! I feel like I am going in a million directions every day and never accomplishing everything. I struggle with fear, insecurity, and doubt. I struggle with feeling like a failure. And, my marriage is still trying to recover from being the brink of divorce 4 years ago. My house is a mess, my car is LOUD, and I feel like I am either living blindly on faith or stupid and on the verge of going over the edge.
I was shocked to think that I appeared to have anything, especially my marriage, figured out and together.
We faked a happy marriage for years when things were not great and getting worse. When it did all explode there was no more faking it. I was a mess everywhere I went. I always looked like I had been crying… because I was. I was ashamed of myself and had a hard time looking people in the eyes. We couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep, and we were a mess.
We even got to the point of getting in front of our church once we started to recover and shared a little of our story during a marriage series the pastor was doing. We were transparent.
So, what did this mean that this woman thought we had it all figured out when in reality we are still so far from it? Were we faking it again?
It took a little thinking, but I realized that we are not faking it like we were before. We are both very aware of our issues. We talk about them. I know what things I am working on and where my focus needs to be.
I am very real when speaking with other women when the conversation gets “real” and not just small talk. I am not afraid to share that my marriage almost didn’t make it and that I have made a lot of mistakes in my past and that I am still not where I would like to be. I don’t try to fake being “perfect” any more. I work hard to try to live the way that God wants me to live and I readily admit that I am not there yet.
Why do we think other women always have it more figured out then we do? We see other wives or moms at the store or the school or church, and think things like “She is so thin” or “She is always dressed in the latest trends” or “her house is always clean” or “she is super mom” and “her kids are so well behaved and she is never yelling at them”. And, the truth is none of us are perfect. That other woman might have some things figured out that you don’t, but that only means there is a different area she struggles in.
It seems like their marriages are perfect, their houses are perfect, their jobs/blogs are perfect, and their children are perfect. Do you see the problem here? This is not possible, it is just an act.
People don’t want to admit and let other people think there marriage is on the brink of divorce or they are about to lose everything financially and they just finished screaming at their children trying to get out of the house in the morning. We would rather pretend to be perfect and have it all figured out.
This is hurting us and hurting others. Do you know how eye opening it was for me to find out that other marriages went through horrible things and survived? I felt like I was completely alone and then I started to hear a few stories about other women in my church, women I respected, whose marriages had almost ended, but didn’t. They overcame huge obstacles, forgave, were forgiven, and reconciled.
Why do we let our pride get in the way of being more open about our failures? We can use our past lessons to help others through their current trials. When we are real about the things that we have struggled with in the past we are able to help give others the strength to overcome it too. Instead of trying to present ourselves as the “perfect wife” or “perfect mother” or “perfect woman”, we should be working to help spur each other on toward Christ.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Has God comforted you through a situation so you are now able to help comfort others through it too?
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