This past weekend, we hosted the (in)RL conference at our church. It was a weekend of amazing stories in the messy and the beautiful, intermingled with grace.
I sat with close friends along with new friends. We listened to women broken and wounded, yet redeemed and grace-filled — women with stories of community. My heart swelled with the whisperings of “I’m not alone in this mess.”
I allow the self-talk of “No one really wants to hear your story.”… “Your story is not really important in the whole scheme of things.”
So I hide my story… I bury it deep and trudge on alone.
This weekend, I listened to stories of redeemed brokenness; stories of women who have walked this road of striving; doing it alone and failing. I saw the cost of laying it out there, along with the freedom that comes through sharing your story and the healing that comes through community.
My story is one of measuring up…measuring up to an impossible height I set for myself. It’s a story of not having it all together and the struggle to let others into my world of imperfection.
My self-talk screams: “If it’s done correctly… with no mistakes… then it can’t fail.” But I’ve tried enough to know that in all my striving and in all my wanting-to-get-it-right, I still fail. And if I’m really honest… my biggest fear is failing.
- Failing to measure up.
- Failing as a wife
- Failing as a mom
- Failing to get it right.
I have set up my own impossible goals of “perfect” that in reality can not be reached. Growing up, I had beautiful, elegant and graceful examples of pastor’s wives. Never did I see their hair out-of-place or their legs dressed in pants. They were always positioned perfectly at the front of the church with their smile on and their matching even-keel temperament. Looking back now… and knowing the life of ministry… I’m sure they didn’t have it all together. At some point, their house was messy and their husband’s shirt was wrinkled.
Yet that picture wasn’t apparent to this little girl.
In my world, that’s how a pastor’s wife had it together. That was my picture of how it was done right…done perfectly. And in that picture-perfect world, I failed. I don’t blame these women. If I sat with them now, they’d tell me: “Rachel, I didn’t have it all together. I wasn’t perfect.”
Yet, it wasn’t until the last few years that I really wrapped my head around that whole picture-perfect mind game I was playing with myself… and losing terribly.
So in my story, I’m learning to be okay with failure. I’m learning it’s okay to not have it all together. I’m learning there is beauty in the mess and there’s grace for every moment of weakness.
I’m going to fail… and I have failed….many times over.
I haven’t always been a loving wife and my kids have heard this mama speak words in anger more than once. I have been unkind and I have been ungracious. Yet I’m learning that in each failure, His grace is strong and His love is constant.
I am much harder on myself than anyone else is towards me. No one is speaking words of failure to me…it’s my own self talk. So I’m learning to quiet the self-talk and turn up the God-talk…the talk where God speaks words of love to His daughter.
I’m learning it’s okay to not have it all together. I don’t have to be perfect.
There is beauty in this mess. And in the smack-dab middle of it…He loves me.
That’s my story.
It’s taken me awhile… but I’m okay with it.
It’s a story of my imperfection meeting His perfect mercy.
It’s a story of His beautiful grace in the middle of my ugly mess…and I’m okay with it.