life update, life lessons, and learning vulnerability (again)


And again, and again.

Wow. Okay. I have a lot to write about.

I've been on a little bit of a hiatus (your emails and DMs have been so sweet). Life has been a roller-coaster and frankly, I feel really rusty as I type away. Life and living and what I thought it was or who I thought I was going to be have certainly changed.

It has always been my goal to share the messy bits. I'm not the only one looking for authenticity and a sense of tangibility when I log onto social media or when I'm interacting with others. I thought I was getting comfortable with the in-between and the grey and the things that don't make sense. It hasn't been uncommon for people to ask me how I've learned to be so comfortable talking about what has been hard in my life or what I'm dealing with in front of me. But what I've realized in this season is that I still hate the messy bits. I just like picking and choosing which ones I'm the most comfortable with. The ones I have an answer for. The ones that are relateable or more marketable. The easy hashtags. Yikes.

I find most of my revelations (correction: more like mental break downs) happen when I'm trying to finish a paper at midnight, and I have 20 assignments due the next week, and 50 emails I haven't replied to, and whoever said you have to do the dishes every day is a monster; basically, when I am completely and totally overwhelmed - is when I get hit in the face with my own superficiality.

I am a perfectionist, people-pleaser, and I'm obsessed with cultivating an image. And comparison kills me. Vulnerability is still my worst nightmare. Like, real vulnerability.

This past summer, less than a few months ago, my friend passed away tragically. I've written about it before on my instagram, but when it comes up in conversation or unexpectedly I watch myself shut down, in slow motion. I was at a really fun housewarming a few weeks ago and met someone that knew my friend, too (Kennedy, if you're reading this, I am a total dork and you are completely lovely). But as she started talking about Tat I could feel my face fall and my brain start to find ways to get out of there. I wasn't ready. I didn't want someone new to see me cry. I didn't want to come to terms with what had happened. And I had put so much pressure on myself to always be positive. In that moment I wanted to sink into the floor.

The other night I had one of my best friends drop by as a surprise and, like we always do, we started talking about what's been on our hearts and our struggles. And then laughing a lot. Get yoself a bosom friend (as Anne of Green Gables would say) like that. When she left that night I felt so incredibly light. And I also realized that up until that moment I had been carrying so much weight.

The fear of being "disorganized", "distant", "late", "a failure" is like the chain around my neck that pulls me along everywhere I go. My husband (bless is big ol heart) can tell you that I obsess and cry over every grade I get less than 75% (and I've been a mixed-grade student my whole bible school career, so why I still get upset is a mystery to me). Every meeting or email that catches me off guard sends me into stress sweat like no other (it's not pretty, and sometimes my eco-organic-hippy deodorant just don't cut it). I spend so much time worrying and planning and putting pressure on myself to be someone I don't think I could even be on my best day. Let alone when I'm hurting. Let alone when my marriage is starting and I'm creating a home with my person for the first time. And then on top of that I put pressure on myself to look a certain way. Have a well decorated home (with like, $3). Have a certain body type. Buy certain things. I feel guilt over everything. And its not cool, man. Not cool.

There have been so many times when I've sat down and just thought to myself - why am I like this? Was it my parents? My personality? Childhood trauma? I can obsess and diagnose and evaluate and still not solve the problem. I still can't handle not being perfect by every imaginable standard. And it's honestly because - I think I'm my own god. It's pride. I'm so insecure that I can't handle my own failure. And there's no breathing room in that, people.

If God is the same God to me that I preach to others, then there's plenty of grace for me.

If God is the same God to me that I preach on my blog, if God is the same God to me that I tell my friends about, or who I counsel about, then there is plenty of grace for me. There is plenty of room for my perceived failure. I get so caught up in pleasing culture (Christian culture and "secular) that I forget Who my life is about. How's that for a wake up.

So I'm trying to let myself breathe. Come at me, D minus! (just kidding, I think its okay to feel a little bad after a D minus). I need to get comfortable with being messy again, and this season in my life is certainly making it easy to be messy. Griffin has this thing where he reminds me, "Hey, chill out, I love you", every so often, and it works for me. It reminds me that I need to cut that thought pattern off and just... chill out.

Because I am loved.
I am new.
I'm not the person that I used to be.
And I need to be reminded, in order to love others fully. If I'm obsessed with how I don't measure up, how am I going to treat those who feel like they aren't measuring up themselves.

I know that this is a jumble, and honestly I don't know how to wrap this up and package it for you in typical Beth-encouragement-post-format. This is all I have. But I hope that you let God give you a little grace today. Dishes and D minus papers don't last forever. Send me a message and let me know how you're feeling, let me pray for you. We're in this together.


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