On Vulnerability and Comparison

I had the honor of writing this post as a guest writer for a website called The Christian Girl. If you haven’t checked them out, you totally should. 

Lately I’ve felt like there has been an attack on leaders and relational connections amongst the Church as a whole. So here are my thoughts on fighting that, through vulnerability. 

I’ve always loved Pinterest. I love the beauty in every picture on the page. Dinners that seem to be so elegantly and effortlessly thrown together. DIY projects that turn out flawless. Weddings where the bride and groom look incandescently happy.

It’s all of my dreams wrapped up in one place. It holds the house I would love to own and decorate one day. The love story I would love to find myself caught up in. The fitness goals I would hope to achieve one day. The body I would aspire to have.

And so I compare. I begin to become unsatisfied and discontent with my life. I look at Pinterest and groan, inspired yet discouraged that my life doesn’t seem to belong in the pictures that glaze across my screen.

I have a house that I love but it definitely doesn’t look like that. I have a boyfriend whom I love but we certainly don’t look like that when we take pictures. I made this beautiful chalkboard all by myself but my calligraphy skills are not up to par with that.

It’s an endless and vicious cycle of continually not feeling good enough.

And quite frankly, it leaves me feeling like garbage the majority of the time.

What I fail to recognize too often, however, is that these aren’t the real, everyday, messy scenes of a normal life.

What I see on Pinterest is the highlight reel.

It’s the moments that people are proud of; the moments they want to broadcast.

But it isn’t real life.

Real life – real stories – are made up of messes. Pinterest doesn’t tell you about the behind the scenes story that lead up to that one moment where the photographer snapped a picture. Pinterest doesn’t tell you that that couple had been through years of counseling or that the bride had cold feet on her wedding day. Pinterest doesn’t show you the time and effort that happen in the messy, unkempt process.

Yet still – we broadcast the life we would prefer people to see. We broadcast the highlight reel and the images of us at a most flattering angle. We write about how in love we are or share when things are perfect.

But the highlight reel won’t bring breakthrough. And the highlight reel doesn’t create community.

Community is formed and breakthrough happens when we begin being vulnerable about how messy each one of our processes is. It’s when we show up to a get together and don’t reply “Great!” when asked how we are if that’s not the truth. It’s admitting to the human sin in our own lives and the moments where we perhaps gave into our insecurities or had moments of anger. It’s when we fail big on a project at work and ask someone for advice, help or prayer.

I never knew that being in love wouldn’t always feel like I was in love. I never knew that dating someone I adored would also include moments where I didn’t feel anything for him and wondered if I was crazy. I never knew just how imperfect a Godly relationship could be and how much mess I would realize was inside of me by dating someone who is also seeking God.

I never knew this because this wasn’t what I saw broadcasted on social media. Relationships on social media are filled with him buying her flowers for every date and her being overwhelmingly in love with him at every second of every day.

The truth of the matter is that dating, marriage, friendships, ministry… it’s all imperfect.

Because the reality is we all have the mess. We are all in process. We all “fall short of the glory of God” (New International Version, Romans 3:23). We all are seeking to look more and more like Jesus but will never be perfect. And the reality is there’s no such thing as flawless.

It’s time we stopped broadcasting things in hopes that someone will hashtag #relationshipgoals in the comments. It’s time we opened the doors that have been closed for too long and invited someone in to the messy processes. You are not alone, friend. You aren’t alone in your process. There are many women out there who can sympathize. There are many more women out there who can pray and war with you for the breakthrough. There are women who want to know what’s happening in your life.

Think about it.

How do you respond when someone shares with you what is really going on in their life?

You hold them in deeper respect. You embrace them. You most likely begin carrying them in your heart. And your heart connects with theirs having heard more of their story.

What if this was the key for women being able to overcome comparison with each other? What if this was the secret to defeating any desire for your life to look like someone else’s?

Being vulnerable in the process.

Revealing the imperfection.

Rejecting the airbrushing.

Embracing each other in the mess of life.

You don’t have to have the most glamorous revelation or relationship. You don’t need to have it all together to enter God’s presence. And as women, we should insist that other women shouldn’t have to have it all together to be around us either.

To look like Him, we must embrace each other mid-process. We must share about our journeys and love each other through it. We’re all on a journey to look like Him and we must give grace to each other in the mess.

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