I suppose it has been said to me before, but today I heard it. Possibly because for the past few months I have been doing my own soul searching, trying to get in touch with deeper things in my life. My search has opened me up to be a little more honest about my weaknesses and failures. Not that I haven’t always been, but at a different level.
I used to think I was an open book, but looking back – my life has been more of an index or encyclopedia. If someone was looking for something, I could open up to the page of my life and share. I have never been a novel for one to just sit and read, enjoying chapters at a time. I am not one to share personal information just for sharing’s sake. If I have something personal to offer that might help or encourage in a particular setting, I will share. My self-disclosure is generally limited to someone needing it.
I suppose today was no different; the comment though was what held my attention, not my sharing of a particular struggle. She said, “Really? But you always appear to have it all together.”
I suppose it is that imposter syndrome again, because I don’t usually feel like I have it all together. Yes, I bring my A-game to work, which is where the comment was made, but even there I don’t feel like I have it all together. I have heard it in a number of life areas though.
I will just say for the record, and shout it from the rooftops, “I don’t have it all together.” I don’t even mean to appear that I have it all together to outsiders. Or maybe deep-down I do. I prefer casual relationships to intimate ones, because if you get to know me, you will realize appearances aren’t all they are cracked up to be. I am proud to say, “I’m not as big of a mess as I used to be.” but will quickly add, “It is only by God’s hand and grace that is true.”
One area where I really don’t have it all together is my weight and food intake. Last year I realized my struggle with food is a spiritual and emotional one. I have placed food above God and I am a clinical binge eater. Having that knowledge, doesn’t mean I can make the change immediately, it’s a work in process. It is one I have failed epically with more often than not and God is dealing with me more and more lately about it.
Another area where I really don’t have it together is creating consistency in new areas. There are areas that I have built-in consistency. Those close to me know I really need structure, so when things are important they get a time frame in my schedule. I give very little wiggle room for those things – my daily and weekly routine is mundane but necessary for my wellbeing. Trying to add new things, surprise activities, or activities that are dependent on someone else’s schedule really wreak havoc in my life. I also find myself having a hard time stopping activities that I have built into my schedule. Trying to develop new habits, take on new things, or let go of old things, despite wanting to have the change really causes me stress. It generally causes me such stress that I will revert to struggle number one and give up the new thing I was trying to cultivate in my life.
I still have days, just like most people, when I would rather crawl under the covers and stay in bed, lately more days than not. Growing up, I learned to take my responsibilities I have seriously, so I suck it up and face the day – unless I am vomiting or running a fever, then I crawl back under those covers after I cancel my responsibilities for the day.
I have days where I have really bad thoughts – like Very, Not Nice, Thoughts. Like, “Oh my gosh, who thinks like that” thoughts. I learned some time back, not every thought that comes into my head needs to be shared. I know my family is thankful for this, especially my siblings, because I didn’t have that filter growing up. I have learned to take those thoughts captive and not meditate on them, but they still come up some times.
I have days where I am not very nice. My grandchildren, children, nieces, nephews, cousins and husband will attest to it. If you have seen me “Not nice” you are in my inner circle. Some people think they have, but I would beg to differ. Sadly I will tell you that a snarky tone, or brash comment is still me holding back. Unfortunately, I am a person who can destroy someone in about two seconds flat with words. Only when I have finished do I realize the damage I have done. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Those days are now far and few between. I thank God for the work He has done in my life because about a decade ago, I would say I was not nice more often than I was nice.
I can let everyone in on the secret, and those who really know me well will attest to this. When people see me and think or say, “She’s got it all together.”, they are really seeing God’s work shining forth in my life. His light is brighter because it shines through all the cracks in my life. The things that have really changed in my life, those areas that are pretty much under control now appear “all together” because I have surrendered them to Him and walked in it long enough that others take notice of His control in my life.
I suppose what I really think when I hear “She’s got it all together.” is “They couldn’t be more wrong. It’s just God’s light shining through all the broken areas He has filled.” Because it is Him, and not me, anyone can have it all together through Him.