Having been through a rather tumultuous last 18 months give or take, I’ve shared a lot on my social media accounts. Not always sunshine & rainbows, but laced with hope.
I shared feelings from dark moments.
I shared feelings from moments of refreshing.
I shared when people sent things to me.
I shared when people loved on our kids so we could breathe for a minute.
I shared when people dropped off meals.
I shared about it all.
So many messaged me or told me in the middle of Target aisles, how brave they thought I was for being so vulnerable during such difficult times.
Can I be honest with you for a second? Asking that always makes me laugh because I’m nothing but honest…lol
I don’t understand NOT sharing. Okay, that’s half true. I get being guarded. I get being private. I get not wanting everyone up in your business because you don’t need other people’s opinions about your life, every second of the day. I do get that. A thousand percent yes!
What I don’t get is that…
If we ALL are struggling with something.
If we ALL experience pain in one way or another.
If we ALL worry about our kids.
If we ALL want peace within & with each other.
If we ALL have passions & are trying our best to succeed.
If we ALL have doubt creep in some days, or feel unappreciated on others.
Then why the hell do we insist on staying quiet?!
Why is it considered brave to say what so many others are thinking or feeling?!
As a writer/entrepreneur I’ve read that we are supposed to find something that comes easy or even second nature to us, that others deem as difficult. Then you break down into steps how to do it.
Being vulnerable may not always be easy peasy, but it’s something I can’t help but do. I feel an urgency in my bones to be vulnerable with others so that they know that when I say “I get it” or “You aren’t alone” they aren’t just cliche words, they’re statements filled with obvious truth because of the difficult circumstances I’ve already shared about.
I share about how others have shown up for us & what has helped bring comfort so that others can have specific examples on how to help those they know that are hurting. We often feel so helpless when we see others struggling or being hit hard by life. I shared on social media how others showed up for us so that it would hopefully inspire others & empower them to reach out to those in their own circles.
My newsfeed isn’t about bragging about “having people”. Because for a long time we felt like we didn’t.
My newsfeed isn’t about wallowing in grief or focusing on depression. It’s about being honest with the feelings that come at me frequently. Ignoring them doesn’t make them stop coming, so I honor them, as I keep moving forward. My feet may be heavy because of it all, but I lean into the strong arms of my God as I trudge through. Even picking up momentum at times. This is me being grateful. Grateful that my life doesn’t have to appear beautiful or glamorous to be valuable.
I’m a freaking mess most days. I mean yesterday I hid in the bathtub while eating leftover chocolate covered cherries & had my two-year-old throw each wrapper away individually after he found me. I AM NOT PUT TOGETHER!
My body decides to feel anxious without me even trying. Suddenly my heart will start racing, my breath becomes a bit labored, I get light-headed, even a little lethargic…I start feeling trapped in my body. I lay down in my room under the fan with the lights off. I pile blankets & pillows on my chest to slow my breathing. I pull up scripture. I listen to worship. I play Freecell. I try to cut my caffeine. My point is…I put forth effort & sometimes my body betrays me.
Writing that all out on some days feels like such a defeat. It can feel too messy. So I click the delete button & then go take a nap. BUT some days, I type it all out & I say “okay, this is what I have to work with”.
Some days are difficult. Some things [well, probably a lot of things] are out of my control. What can I do? What can I control? What do I need to let go of?
I breathe in & then I breathe out.
& I realize that in doing all of this…I’m a badass.
Not because I can do it on my own. But because I accept that:
my best = doing all of the things that I’m able
I do not curl up & give up. I show up when I’m able. I make memories with my kids as often as possible. But some days I need space & a nap. I take things off of my plate when I need to. I carve the time out for rest. This isn’t laziness, it’s taking care of me & doing my best.
So it’s difficult dealing with anxiety & depression.
It’s difficult having a spouse with mental health issues as well.
It’s difficult parenting – in general.
It’s difficult parenting through foster care.
Then to add the task of learning self-compassion & enforcing personal limits, it’s sometimes just too much. When I get to that point where I just can’t take another step, this is when I remind myself that I need to: Stop. Breathe. Prioritize. Sharpen my ax. & then get back to it.
Me refusing to give up & sharing with you all about my struggle is me “winning”.
Can’t stop. Won’t Stop.
Does this resonate with you, friends?
This is what I imagine happening as you open up about the unbearable things in your life:
- It will become abundantly clear just how NOT alone you are in your struggle.
- You will inspire so many people that you won’t even know how big your impact is on this side of heaven!
- Before you share, your problem feels like the size of Mt. Everest, a.k.a. nearly impossible for the average human.
- After you share, the size of the problem seems to diminish, just enough to not feel impossible to overcome.
In short…sharing our struggles with others often births hope for our situations.
People that love us know that we need them to show up when we make it known that we are struggling. But when we allow pride to dictate what we share & what we don’t, we make a home for loneliness in our hearts.
I would like to write more about sharing & what others may see as “oversharing” only because I believe that vulnerability & sharing is what makes communities stronger & more unified.
As an action step today: Reflect on what you may be facing that seems too big to conquer & yet also seems too big to share with someone else & if you feel even the tiniest bit brave [because I know deep down you are] share with at least one person.
Maybe without detail even. You could tell someone that you are really struggling with something that is making you weary. Explain that you don’t have the energy to talk about it but would like to know that you aren’t alone with it.
This allows your bravery to grow.
In my experience, when we make our needs known to others, they show up with outpouring love.
Now, there have been times when people didn’t show up too & that seemed to make it worse. I will talk more about that another time. Today though, find your person & share in any capacity you can.
Plant a seed & we can water it together in the weeks ahead, as we keep moving forward.
The Mess in Me Honors the Mess in You
P.S. I get that sharing with others can be difficult. & sometimes we don’t feel like we have anyone TO share with, even if we wanted to. In that case, maybe a good first step would be journaling about your heavy things.
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