So it’s been a while since I’ve used this outlet I love so much- writing to you guys. I recently found myself on a break that I didn’t know I needed. Sometimes God pulls some things out of you that you didn’t realize needed some work. Or maybe you did, but you didn’t realize exactly how much work was needed. This past year has been a learning season for me. And sometimes you have to stop and be quiet in order to learn. I’ll share more of this part of my journey at another time…promise.
I’ve been itching to write again, but felt like I didn’t know where to start. I listened to a podcast on writing tips that Jennifer Rothschild posted. I started reading more- both fiction and non-fiction. I’ve spent more time in my Bible. And I know that I’m not supposed to wait for the inspiration before I start writing, but I just couldn’t figure out where to start. I needed some direction, a new purpose.
Then a few days ago I figured it out. And this is what I wanted to share with you today.
Brandon and I recently went on a cruise with some good friends. It was a first time experience for both of us, and we had a blast! We set sail from Miami and headed to the Bahamas- in February. The warm weather was such a welcome change to normal Kentucky weather.
Since this was our first cruise, I wanted to do what all Instagram era chicks want to do- capture the perfect moment to show just how magical the trip was. I didn’t take as many pics as I thought I would, definitely spent some time disconnected from my phone, but I did get a few in. And then on the plane ride home, I made sure to pick the best angle, apply filters to bring out the best features, and crop them down to make us look as skinny as possible and maximize the scenery. After all, it was our winter bodies that were running around in swimsuits. Most of us know how problematic that can be!
So to get this picture, I situated everything that needs situating, sucked in my gut, situated my hair (It was soooo windy!), turned at just the right angle, and ‘turtled’ as I raised my arm to just the right level for the selfie. ‘Turtling’ is a term coined by a good family friend that refers to sticking your chin out as far as possible (like a turtle) to avoid double chin. You’re welcome for that little trick….
After all the work to make sure that I looked as naturally skinny and care free as possible, I let go of my held breath and went back to kicking around in the water that was too cold to get in. All the time wishing I’d brought a jacket instead of feeling the need to run around in my new swimsuit I was so proud of.
Despite colder weather than we anticipated, the trip was relaxing and super enjoyable. But like any trip, I was glad to be getting home to my bed and everything familiar to me. With a day of traveling home underway, I took a few minutes to take a nap on the plane ride, thinking that would hold me over until I made it home and could crash.
As I was falling asleep on my travel pillow, arm linked through my hubby’s, the thought hit me. This had been a wonderful weekend. We had enjoyed some quality time, dressed up, dined romantically, danced, relaxed in the hot tub. But after all this, falling asleep on a cramped airplane with the one human being who loves me more than anything as we travel back to real life together was more comforting than anything else. And I thought about the pictures we worked so hard to perfectly produce, when this was actually the picture that most accurately displayed how I felt about my marriage. This picture was real.
And I wondered how I could communicate this feeling, this comfort, that was more real than anything else. Because our culture doesn’t like to communicate what’s real. We like to dress things up, cover them with filters, only show what makes us look good or put together. I once heard someone call our social media a ‘highlight reel’.
A guy who had been through an affair and nasty divorce was telling me about his experience with social media through that rough spot in his life. He said that no one would have ever known that anything was wrong in his life because he made sure that ‘happy’ moments, posed pictures, and family portraits were what was seen by anyone viewing his profile. His best face put forward regardless of what’s happening in life.
Even in our churches, we duke it out with our husband on the way to Sunday morning services, then switch our smile on, grab his hand so we look in love, and answer everyone with “Doing great!” as we walk through the church doors.
Or we swing too far in the other direction. We try to communicate how ‘real’ our lives are and turn into constant “Negative Nelly’s”. Yes, life is difficult and negative sometimes, but we can also focus too much there.
I want to find a happy medium. That point where we aren’t obnoxiously airing our dirty laundry for all the world to see, but we aren’t faking perfection so much. I want to be real.
And it is this thought that has given me inspiration to write again. I want to portray the ‘realness’ of life as it is, and learn and grow with you through it. How else will we ever know that we aren’t alone in this difficult thing called life if we aren’t talking about what’s really happening, learning that we aren’t that different?
So going forward, I’m going to focus on a variety of topics- how we tend to dress them up, and instead looking at how they really are. I’m going to be candid. And I’m going to go beyond that and talk about what the Bible says about them. Without an absolute truth to base our reality on, we can shift our reality into whatever we want it to be. I don’t know about you, but I need something outside of myself to base my reality on.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey. I’m calling it my #ThisIsReal journey. I’m hoping that together we can start the conversation on life and reality, and grow closer to each other and to Jesus along the way. If you have things you would like to see talked about, please feel free to comment below. I would love to know what’s important to you. I’m looking forward to linking arms together and tackling real life issues together!