A Life Stirred

I just can’t tell.

There are some people who are really good at recognizing genetic similarities within a family.  They can tell you that the baby has Daddy’s nose, that the toddler has Mommy’s eyes, and that the sisters share the same smile.

I am not one of those people.  Even with my own girls!  I can’t tell you who they look like.  I can’t even tell if they look similar to each other!  I mean, other than the cheeks.  They both have big cheeks…so there’s that.

Sometimes I think people are just making things up as far as similarities go.  Because sometimes people say they look identical.  Sometimes people say they look completely different.  And sometimes the Walmart check-out lady tells me that she can tell they got their big cheeks from me.  Note to the Walmart check-out lady:  don’t tell a grown woman she has big cheeks.  It’s not a compliment.

So, it’s your turn.  Here are some pictures of my girls at the various month-markers.  Do you think they look the same?  Or different?

Joanna (left) and Claire (right) at one month Apparently, it's really exhausting to be one month old.

Joanna (left) and Claire (right) at one month.
Apparently, it’s really exhausting to be one month old.

Joanna (left) and Claire (right) at two months. Hello, cheeks!

Joanna and Claire at two months old.
Hello, cheeks!

Joanna and Claire at 3 months. Bald and cute!

Joanna and Claire at 3 months old.
I love my smiley girls.

Joanna and Claire at 4 months old. Man, I thought Joanna was bald, but Claire is really lacking in the hair department.

Joanna and Claire at 4 months old.
Man, I thought Joanna was bald, but Claire is really lacking in the hair department.

So what do you think?  I think they look different, but then again, what do I know?!

And a bonus picture courtesy of my dear friend and excellent photographer, Liz…

Joanna (top) and Claire (bottom) at one week old. Aaaah!  Cuteness overload!

Joanna (top) and Claire (bottom) at one week old.
Aaaah! Cuteness overload!

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Captive Thoughts

Some weeks are just harder than others.  But, thank the Lord, even the hard weeks don’t last forever.  Can I get an amen?

Here at the Morse household we are coming off one of those hard weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited that we’re through it.  It involved some ridiculous work hours for Ben, a stomach bug for Joanna, and a HUGE struggle with fear for me.  (Claire seemed to have a pretty good week…must be nice to be 3 months old.)

This struggle with fear hit me hard.  Like panic-attack-y sort of hard.  Like I-need-the-Lord NOW sort of hard.

So Joanna had a stomach bug.  Just your average sort of stomach bug (well, not-so-average…it resulted in her throwing up 4/7 nights…ew).  And fear just decided to camp out in my heart and mind.  It was ugly.   Thoughts would leap into my head:  What if I get sick?  What if Ben gets sick?  What if Claire gets sick?  What if she’s sick again tonight?  What if she eats dinner and then I have to see it again? What if?  What if?  What if?  And these thoughts would just take over!  I could feel myself spiraling downward into the depths of useless thinking, and my heart would start pounding, and I was a mess.

And I knew, on some level, that all these thoughts were pretty useless.  I could logically tell myself that we would deal with whatever happened, but that didn’t seem to resolve my struggle.

So, I turned to the Lord.  I turned to His word and His truths.  I needed His truth to battle the lies that were raging in my head.  As per Beth Moore’s suggestion in “Breaking Free”, I wrote down relevant scriptures on note cards and just walked around reading them anytime I felt the lies trying to grab ahold of my mind.  I may have fallen asleep a night or two with the cards in my hands.  I just needed a tangible reminder of God’s truth, of His love for me.

My very sweet husband wrote this on our bathroom mirror for me.  I love this translation of this verse.  Tell God what you need AND thank Him for all He's done.

My very sweet husband wrote this on our bathroom mirror for me. I love this translation of this verse. Tell God what you need AND thank Him for all He’s done.

And it wasn’t an instantaneous solution.  I continued to struggle, but I was diligent to take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Honestly, I’m not sure if I’m truly over it yet or not.  I’m not sure if the struggle has faded because Joanna is feeling better (4 nights barf free!!) or if I’ve truly gained ground on this struggle.  Only time will tell, but I know that next time this fear pops up, I will be quick to turn to the Lord.  It is only through His strength that I can have victory over this!

So, in a way, I’m thankful for the rough week.  It pulled me to the Lord in a way that a good, easy week doesn’t.  However, I’m not going to lie.  I’m really really really glad it’s over.  And there’s nothing like a hard week to make you oh-so-thankful for the healthy, normal-work-schedules, good weeks.

Aaaah.  Healthy kids.  So thankful.

Aaaah. Healthy kids. So thankful.

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Isn’t it ironic?

Remember Alanis Morissette’s hit song, “Isn’t it ironic”?  Remember how nothing in that song was actually ironic?  Did that bother anyone else?

But I’m not here to critique Alanis Morissette’s hit song (though I guess I just did a little).

Remember how I wrote about how my girls are easy?  They still are, but we have just had (are still having) a really rough week.  A stomach  bug for Joanna that just won’t die has made this week so hard.  I’m tired, worn-out, and feeling mildly nauseous all the time (because when  someone else has a stomach bug, I become fairly convinced I must have one too).  So yeah…not  so easy this week.

Remember how I wrote about mommy guilt?  Specifically about screen time?  Yeah, Jo and I have watched Cars no less than 4 times in the last 3 days.  I’m starting to memorize it.  Right now, she’s watching What’s in the Bible? (a show by Veggie Tale’s Phil Viscar…it’s really good.  I’m learning a lot about the Bible!).  And Claire is twisting all around on the couch so that she can watch too (gaah!  Screen time for a 3 month old!  I feel the guilt coming on).

Yeah…just a little ironic (turns out it hard to figure out what exactly irony is).

But I’m releasing my desire to have it all together, and I’m working on simply getting through this season.  I’m trusting that one week of difficulties and more than normal amounts of screen time is NOT going to mess up my girls.  I’m trusting the Lord for His strength in this week.

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When Mommy Guilt Strikes…

Mommy guilt is a silly thing.  And it’s also very real.

Before I was a mom, I remember reading about it and hearing others talk about it, and I didn’t really get it.  I thought, “Why can’t moms just find joy in the fact that they are doing the best they can?  Why can’t moms show themselves a little grace?  Sure, they may not be perfect, but no one is.  There’s no need to feel so guilty about not being perfect.”

Yeah, now I’m a mom.  And from time to time, Mommy Guilt hits me.  It really is a powerful feeling.  It can distract me and pull me down.  It makes me feel inadequate.  It makes me feel like I’m messing up my kids.  I makes me feel like I’m not really all that good at this Mommy thing.

I don’t know where you are most susceptible to Mommy Guilt. (I’m just going to go ahead and assume that if you are a mom, you have some Mommy Guilt.  If you don’t, tell me your secret!)  Most of the time I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job, but sometimes my thoughts get away from me and before I know it, I’m feeling like a failure.  For me, it generally has to do with Joanna’s screen time and diet (particularly with regards to veggies and milk).  And  I find this guilt sneaks up on me most when I start comparing myself with other moms or worse, when I compare myself with the impossible standard I have in my head.  (Or when I’m at Joanna’s well-baby visits and they ask if she drinks whole milk and I always have to say, “Uhhh…no….she doesn’t really drink milk.”  Every. Single. Time.  Can’t they just make a note and stop asking me?!)

She really does love her TV time.  So glued.

She really does love her TV time. So glued.

But really the problem boils down to my impossible standard of motherhood.  It’s there in my mind all the time.  It tells me I’m doing it wrong.  It tells me that I’m going to mess up my girls.  It tells me that Joanna is going to be permanently messed up because I let her watch TV while I shower.  It tells me that I’m a bad mom because Joanna only had one vegetable today (and by “one vegetable”, I mean one single green bean).

Now that I think about it: those things sound an awful lot like lies.  Lies that the Enemy would like me to believe.  Because when I am believing lies, I’m not believing God’s truth:

His truth that involves grace upon grace.

His truth that tells me that in Him, I can do all things.

His truth that says that Joanna and Claire are His daughters and He has a plan for their life.

His truth that says I’m His daughter and He has a plan for my life.

His truth that gently reminds me that one green bean is better than no green beans (no, that’s not technically Biblical, but it should be).

Oh, Lord, help me to show myself grace as a mother.  When I get bogged down in lies and guilt, I miss out on the joy of motherhood.  You’ve blessed me with two beautiful, healthy girls.  Teach me to just rest in You, knowing that I’m doing the best that I can.  I am not perfect.  But You are.  And You can fill those gaps that my human-ness leaves.

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A Case for Myers-Brigg, Part 3

My mom likes to tell a story about a four-year-old version of me.  It was after Easter, and I had jellybeans at my disposal (way to pull through, Easter Bunny).  I asked my mom if I could have some, and she said, “Sure, just a few.”

To her, “Just a few” meant don’t eat the whole bag of jellybeans right now.  She meant “Take a small, four-year-old size handful.”  She was being a cool, kind mom, and letting me enjoy my jellybeans.

To me, “just a few” meant two.  That’s right.  I took two jellybeans.

She found me a few minutes later, crying.  Apparently, I was pretty devastated that I could only have two jellybeans.  She cleared up what she’d really meant by “just a few”, and we moved on.

But clearly, I was quite a rule-follower.  My desire to follow the rules (even a made-up-in-my-head rule) was so strong that I just sat there crying that I couldn’t have more jellybeans.

[Goodness, I wish I still had that sort of self-control with regards to jellybeans.  So not a problem for me now.]

Dang, I was cute.  Also, I'm pretty it was my idea to imitate the pumpkin's face.

Dang, I was cute. Also, I’m pretty sure it was my idea to imitate the pumpkin.  Also, while this costume was super creative, it was not very conducive to sitting down.  That was a rough day in preschool.

Even at age 4, my personality was already somewhat defined.  In fact-checking this story with my mom yesterday, she told me that sometimes my rule-following nature was a little extreme.  Occasionally, she wondered if there was something wrong with me.  Nice.  Apparently, if my parents told me something once (that was specific to a certain time and scenario), I would made it a permanent rule in my head.  I don’t think that’s so weird.  I just wanted to be obedient.  All parents should be so lucky, right?

All that to say, I am still very much a rule-follower.  And my Myers-Brigg type confirms that.  As an ISTJ, I’m a “Duty Fulfiller.”  I still remember reading my type’s description for the first time in college, and I was shocked to learn that some of the things I thought were just unique to me were actually a trait of an ISTJ.  For some reason, I find it fascinating that various aspects of my personality are NOT as random as they feel, but rather they are a cohesive part of who I am and how I work.

In fact, I reread some of the ISTJ descriptions, and I laughed out loud (yes, I lol-ed) multiple times.  It totally nails me.  Even now, as I’m in a completely different stage of life.

Just for fun, here are some of the ISTJ traits that totally describe me (from this page):

  • “While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor and can be a lot of fun – especially at family or work-related gatherings.”  An offbeat sense of humor?  Yup.  That’s me.  And I’m definitely a lot of fun.  At least I think I am… [See above picture of me and the pumpkin.]
  • They’re not comfortable with breaking laws or going against the rules…However, ISTJs more often tend to believe that things should be done according to procedures and plans.”  Say what you want, the world would be a crazy, crazy place without ISTJs.  We follow rules.  Rules are good.  (Except the jellybean-related ones.)
  • “The ISTJ is not naturally in tune with their own feelings and the feelings of others. They may have difficulty picking up on emotional needs immediately, as they are presented.”   I have come a long way in this, but I am really not good at knowing what I’m feeling.  Mad?  Happy?  Sad?  Hungry?  I really can’t tell.  And don’t even ask me to ID what you’re feeling!  You’d be shocked at the number of times I’ve asked Ben if he’s mad at me only to find out that he’s tired and/or hungry.  This has happened at least 3 times today!!

So fun, right?  Have you taken the test yet?  What descriptions nailed you?

[On a side note, just found a list of other ISTJs.  Apparently, Darth Vader, Eeyore, and Puddleglum (from the Chronicles of Narnia) are ISTJs.  Not really loving that list.  I thought ISTJs were a more fun group.]

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A Case for Myers-Brigg, Part 2

I vaguely recall an English class or two where I had to write a “persuasive argument.”  I’m all of a sudden wishing I could remember anything about how to be persuasive!  And I’m really worried that I’m not going to be able to do justice to my love of Myers-Brigg.  I mean, I love it.  But I’m not an expert…at all.  Remember I just got into this because my roommates senior year were into this.  And we were the same girls who named our apartment.  And beat Super Mario Brothers from inside a tent.  My credibility is limited.

Apparently, I deleted the picture of us in the tent (why I did that, I have no idea).  But to prove that we were silly...here I am with my roommate, proudly holding homemade Eagles jerseys.  That's not weird, right?

Apparently, I deleted the picture of us in the tent (why I did that, I have no idea). But to prove that we were silly…here I am with my roommate, proudly holding little Eagles jerseys that we’d made.  That’s not weird, right?

So, let’s dive in.  If we were together, I’d probably talk about the letters and what they mean.  But why rewrite what’s already been done?  Go here for a good break down of the letters.  I like to really understand each letter (that way I can tweak the results of the test, if I feel like it didn’t accurately portray me).

Then, after I did a monologue on the letters and you were sufficiently hooked, I’d make you take the test.  Yes, I would hover over your shoulder and watch you answer.  And I’d probably try to formulate my own guess for what type you are.

I would also spend a good amount of time telling my over-analyze-y friends to “Stop over-analyzing!”   And I’d spend a lot of time telling my I-hate-being-put-in-a-box friends that this wasn’t really going to put them in a box, and to just give it a chance.  And with all my friends, I’d probably giggle and squeal, “This is so fun!  I’m so glad you’re willing to do this with me!!”  (I really am a nerd.)

Now, the fun part.  You’ve got your type, and you’ve got some percentages for how strong your letters are.  I highly recommend googling the type and reading about your type.  This website is a decent place to start.  If you find that the description isn’t feeling totally true, I would have you try some different letters (especially the ones that you were “weaker” on).  I really do believe that you can find a description for you that is shockingly accurate for you (yes, even you, Miss I-hate-being-boxed-in).

But what I like best about MBTI (that’s what the pros call it) is that it fits so well into our Christian walk.  There is room for the Lord to refine us.  In fact, I believe that the closer we are to the Lord the more balanced our letters will be.

For example, I’m an ISTJ…and pretty introverted, right?  And there are some serious benefits to my introversion.  I tend to be good at certain spiritual disciplines, like journaling and reading and studying (if you count listening to sermons as study).  I’m not naturally good at the more extroverted disciplines, like evangelism or preaching.  HOWEVER, being an introvert does not give me an excuse to bury myself in solitary things.  We are all called to share our faith with others…which is going to involve interacting with other people.  So clearly, I need the Lord to grow me in that area.  And He will.  (He has!)  So, as I come to love the Lord more and more, I actually become less of an I and more of and E.  I become more balanced.

It’s really very cool.  We could do that with all the letters!  And that is what I find so awesome about Myers-Brigg.  That it can show us where we are strong and naturally gifted (I have a natural talent for making and completing to-do lists…thanks to my strong J), but it also shows us where we need to grow and where we need to let the Lord change us (flexibility and an ability to go with the flow can help me be a better friend/wife/mom).

If you’ve taken the test, do you see areas where the Lord has transformed (or is transforming) your natural personality/gift into something more balanced?

 

Next up:  Part 3…in which we talk about me, and how awesome it is to be an ISTJ.  Because even though they say there’s no “right” type, I know differently.  ISTJ FTW!!  (And yes, I am cool enough to use “FTW”.  Hopefully, you’re cool enough to know what it means.  Though I suppose you can google it and then just pretend you knew what it meant all along.)

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Ten on Ten

So, I’ve seen lots of other people do the “Ten on Ten” thing.  And I just LOVE the idea–taking 10 pictures (one every hour for 10 hours) on the 10th of the month with the goal of capturing the ordinary beauty in the everyday things.  Plus I figured it’s a great way to capture the little moments that I’m no doubt going to forget about in a few years.

Today was supposed to be just another regular day.  But by some random (or maybe God ordained) coincidences, it ended up being a wonderful day of fellowship with some of my favorite people!  I’m so glad I got to document it.

 A little pre-breakfast sweeping.  Hey, you’ve gotta earn your oatmeal here at the Morses.

A little pre-breakfast sweeping.  Hey, you’ve gotta earn your oatmeal here at the Morses.

A sweet sister moment.  Joanna brushes Claire’s hair head.

A sweet sister moment. Joanna brushes Claire’s head.

Ah, the car.  I love the car.  As do my girls.  It’s a nice arrangement.

Ah, the car. I love the car. As do my girls. It’s a nice arrangement.

Some unexpected time with some great friends!!  (Yes, we were at McDonald’s.  Yes, we ate all that food.  Don’t judge.  There’s a Play Place.)

Some unexpected time with some great friends!! (Yes, we were at McDonald’s. Yes, we ate all that food. Don’t judge. There’s a Play Place.)

Bonus Picture!  (Rule-follow-y me had a very hard time allowing myself to do 11 on 10.)  My long-lost Canadian friends hanging out with my baby…such an awesome random surprise.

Bonus Picture! (Rule-follow-y me had a very hard time allowing myself to do 11 on 10.) My long-lost Canadian friends hanging out with my baby…such an awesome, random surprise.

 Finally made it to Wal-Mart.  Oh, how we love you, Diaper Aisle.

Finally made it to Wal-Mart. Oh, how we love you, Diaper Aisle.

Naptime…or not.  I was going to take a cute picture of Claire napping, but at the last second her eyes  eye popped open.  Just a little creepy.  (We’ve been battling gunky eyes for nearly a week…no pink-eye…just goop.  Ewww.)

Naptime…or not. I was going to take a cute picture of Claire napping, but at the last second her eye popped open. Just a little creepy.

A happy, chatty baby.  Love this kid!  Confession:  I don’t often remember to enjoy my one-on-one time with her when Joanna is napping.

A happy, chatty baby. Love this kid!

Confession: I don’t often remember to enjoy my one-on-one time with her when Joanna is napping.

Diaper change time!  This happens many, many, many times a day.  Disclaimer: No babies were left unattended during the taking of this photograph.

Diaper change time! This happens many, many, many times a day.

 Disclaimer: No babies were left unattended during the taking of this photograph.

Daddy’s home!!  It’s a favorite time of day.  For all of us.

Daddy’s home!! It’s a favorite time of day. For all of us.

Tyler’s 6th birthday party!!  Love that kid.  And he was seriously Claire’s age like yesterday.  Where does the time go?!  Fun fact:  Liz (his mom) tossed him into my arms when he was just a few days old.  I was mildly terrified of newborns at that point in life, but Liz trusted me anyway.

Tyler’s 6th birthday party!! Love that guy. And he was seriously Claire’s age like yesterday. Where does the time go?!

Bonus Fun Fact: Liz (his mom) tossed him into my arms when he was just a few days old. I was mildly terrified of newborns at that point in life, but Liz trusted me anyway.  (No, really, she tossed him.  I didn’t have time to prepare.  I got very sweaty.)

Another bonus picture (because once you've broken the rules, you might as well keep breaking the rules)!!  I think Joanna has a new  best friend.  For a non-snuggly kid, she certainly wasn't holding back any snuggles for this handsome fella.

Another bonus picture!! I think Joanna has a new best friend. For a non-snuggly kid, she certainly wasn’t holding back any snuggles for Morgan.

ten on ten button

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A Case for Myers-Brigg, Part 1

If you’ve been my friend for any length of time, I’ve probably made you take the Myers-Brigg Personality test.  I’m a little bit obsessed.

See?  I made my friend take the test in the parking lot and took pictures of her.  Well, she couldn’t handle all the noise in the car, so she sat in the parking lot.  (The best part?  When she came to the question “You prefer to isolate yourself from outside noises.”)

See? I made my friend take the test in the parking lot and took pictures of her. Well, she couldn’t handle all the noise in the car, so she sat in the parking lot. (The best part? When she came to the question “You prefer to isolate yourself from outside noises.”)

I know there are a lot of personality tests out there.  You can be phlegmatic (umm, ewww!) or choleric (yeah, who wants to be a crabby baby?!).  You can be a Golden Retriever (“Toss that ball!  I’ll go get it!  I promise!”) or an Otter (oh…well, otters are pretty cool).  And all these personality tests are just fine…I guess.

But the Myers-Brigg test is awesome.  Yes, that’s my professional opinion.

Each Myers-Brigg type has four letters (with each letter having 2 choices).  This makes for 16 different types, and within each of those types, there are spectrums and variations that make each person truly unique (that makes my I-hate-to-be-put-in-a-box friends happy).   And while the Myers-Brigg test isn’t Christian, I can’t help but to see the beauty in how we were all designed!

Myers-Brigg stirs my affections towards the Lord.  I love using it to understand my friends better.  I love using it to have discussions about how we process and interact and think.  I love seeing how as we get to know the Lord better and better, He refines us so that we’re more balanced in all our letters.  <Happy sigh>

Ideally, I’d want to go out for coffee and talk with you about how God designed you and take the test with you and process the results with you for a few hours.  BUT that’s not really feasible (although, if you’re interested, I’d never say no to a Myers-Brigg Coffee Date).

How about we just pretend we’re on a Myers-Brigg Coffee Date?

How about we just pretend we’re on a Myers-Brigg Coffee Date?

I’m not even sure I can do my geeked-up excitement justice through one blog post.  So, I’m gonna just leave ‘ya hanging.  You’ll have to come back to find out more about the awesome-ness that is Myers-Brigg.  Again, my professional opinion.

(If you’re just dying to take the test now, here’s a link.  I recommend googling your results to read more about your type.  I also recommend inviting me out for coffee so we can discuss your results together.  I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun.)

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When real ISN’T messy…

So, as you know, my desire is to be real.  I want real relationships.  I want depth in my friendship.  [Don’t get me wrong, though…I can do surface-y relationships with the best of them.  Depth doesn’t always come naturally for me, but I crave it nonetheless.]

But I have to confess something about “my real”…

My kids are really easy.

Wait!  Don’t leave!!  I think we can still be friends.

Let me clarify a few things real quick.  First, I’m NOT saying my kids are easy because I’m an awesome mom.  They seriously just came that way.  Both of them.  And it is 100% God’s grace to me.  He has blessed me with my children.  It’s completely undeserved.  It has NOTHING to do with me.  Claire’s middle name is Annabelle which means “Beautiful Grace.”  And that what it is.  Beautiful grace.

Second, I am well aware that they may not always be this easy.  I’m not naïve to think that I have perfect children that will always be easy (boy, wouldn’t that be nice?!).  Joanna and Claire are sinful by nature.  Hey, while we’re at it, I’m sinful by nature too.  And that alone is enough to guarantee that the future will hold challenges.

But right now, the girls are fairly easy.

I feel like this disqualifies me from relating to moms who are having a harder time with their kids.  What can I offer?  I don’t know what it’s like to have a defiant child or a climber or a non-sleeper (oh, dear, that would kill me) or a bad nurser.

I feel like this disqualifies me from being an advocate of being really real in relationships.  Why would anyone what to be real with someone whose real (at least in regards to mothering) isn’t very messy?

But I believe that we can have relationships with one another even when we don’t have the exact same experience.

It’s like my friend who generally has very clean floors.  She has 3 young kids and clean floors.  Now, my floors…not so clean.  But I believe we can still be friends.  I can rejoice with her because her floors are delightfully clean.  Her clean floors don’t pass judgment on my messy floors.

I could let comparison take over my mind.  I could let her floors make me feel bad and inadequate.  I could probably get pretty mad at her floors if I wanted.  I could even be a little bit happy when her floors aren’t spick and span (“HA!  See?  She’s not perfect).  OR I could just recognize that her real doesn’t generally involve messy floors.  Her real will involve other messy things (probably more figuratively…her house is really very clean).

My real doesn’t involve difficult children.  Your real may involve difficult children.  But I believe we can still be friends.  We can rejoice in God’s grace.  I can practice empathy with your challenges.  And you can practice empathy with mine.  Because there are no doubt things that I struggle with that you do not (like the selfishness in my heart, my idols of food, my struggle with body image…just to name a few).

I think being real involves recognizing that our reals are not going to look identical.  And that is ok.  I think we can still support, encourage, and love one another even if we are in different places.

And THAT is my desire for my friendships—that we can be real with one another, regardless of whether it’s a messy real or a not-as-messy real.   I want us to rejoice in the things that are easy and not messy, and encourage and support in the things that are harder and messy.

But that’s not easy, is it?  It’s easy to let comparison and jealousy and judgment rule in our hearts (I know because I let those things rule in my heart all too often).  So, when things are hard, it’s best to practice them more.  (Whoa, flashback to my piano-playing days and my mom’s assurances that if I practiced, it would get easier.  It did…a little.)

So let’s practice this.  Let’s practice empathy.  Let’s practice rejoicing with one another in our easy non-messes.  Let’s practice encouraging and supporting one another in our hard messes.

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