I have been reading a book by Brene' Brown called The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. It's a long title for a concept that should be simple, and it's a huge box (ie. can of worms) I'm opening and unpacking in this season in my life. That's causing me to feel like my emotions are always just under the surface.
Reading it (I'm actually only halfway through) has already given me a lot of food for thought. You know how you may start reading a book, but it's just not the "right time?" Well, I started this book early last year, and it wasn't time. But it feels like now is the time because so many things she's talking about in it are resonating with this season in my life.
We all have those issues in our lives where we think that if we get that one thing figured out, we'll be okay. We'll be worthy. I'm no different. Maybe once I get parenting right, I'll be okay. Maybe once I get my life balance figured out, I'll be okay. Maybe once I learn who I'm supposed to be and start living that life (whatever that even means), I'll feel like I'm in the right place and I belong. I don't compare myself to other people so much, but I definitely compare who I am to the woman I have always thought I should be.
But whomever that woman is, she's not me. She's not at all who God has made me to be. And I have to get used to that being an okay thing...I don't have to be the imaginary me. I have to stop being disappointed in myself for what I see as my imperfections, and just embrace who I really am, at my deepest level.
I'm trying to remember not to should on myself, and to not let anyone else should on me, either.
To many of us, "flawed" has become the new "F-word." In our culture, recognizing, and even embracing, one's flaws is an oddity, but I am one flawed individual, I tell you. I've been learning some stuff in the last few years, but, y'all, my coping mechanisms still leave something to be desired. I give in and let down my boundaries too easily to avoid conflict. I say "yes" or show up when I really don't want to because I don't want to disappoint people. I avoid discomfort in some areas of my life and then seek it in other areas. So often, I let my exterior circumstances dictate my level of inner peace.
But I feel like I'm in a season of UN-becoming--unraveling all the unhealthy expectations I've put on myself, and those I've allowed others to put on me. I'm learning that imperfections don't make me inadequate. I'm learning the importance of boundaries, keeping toxic or draining people at arm's length and not taking on other people's issues. (As an empath, that's really difficult for me.) I'm learning all of that, though, and some of that learning has come from enduring some difficult valleys.
I've shed many tears. I've punched a lot of pillows. I've run a lot of emotional miles. I've lost my temper, and said things I didn't mean. I've hidden myself away when I needed to be present. I have had many moments where I've been a hot mess!
UN-becoming is uncomfortable. If I allow Him, God pulls out emotional and mental weeds at the root. Man, that hurts! While it makes my life more fertile and fruitful in the end, it's certainly is not a comfortable experience. Removing toxins from my life is necessary, but filtering it all out is "no bueno" while it's happening.
I just have to trust God's process, though. I have to trust that He is making me into something beautiful--that He's going to take the crap and dust and toxins and weeds, and use them to bring about healing and peace and wholeness. I am trusting that He will make order from my chaos.
If you're going through this, too, I feel your pain. It's a rough thing, this unraveling. But disillusionment and unraveling are good things, in the end. Illusions are fake, so hold on to what's real and true.
In the words of Lecrae:
"In the middle of the darkest heart is heartless, tarnished carnage
The Master Artist makes your mess a masterpiece regardless"