A Life Stirred

When real ISN’T messy…

on October 6, 2013

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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One response to “When real ISN’T messy…

  1. […] 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 […]

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