In light of my oh so sweaty field trip yesterday to the alligator farm with our co op, this just had to be said…
“You know she’s a sweater, right?”
I believe those were the exact words uttered by my father across the table from my future husband right before he asked for my hand in marriage.
Um, what, Dad?
Now, to be fair, it takes one to know one, he was also “a sweater”, to use his terminology, and he has been his whole life. He wasn’t trying to throw me under the bus, he was bringing a little reality to his love struck future son-in-law. Of course, I would have chosen a different bit of truth to level the field of play, but that is why they are men and have these sort of meetings without us being present!
Here is the truth though, he was right. I sweat. Not pretty glistening sweat, but all out dripping down my temples red-faced sweat. It wouldn’t have been my choice of characteristics on create Carrie day. But my life’s picture, the one that I get to display, isn’t my choice- It’s His. He chooses our “pictures”. He gives us a basket full of traits in life and says live in and with this, and shine through it. He says this not because he wants to torture us, but because He wants to display himself in us. HIS GRACE, HIS BEAUTY, HIS LIGHT.
But most of us don’t like our basket and so we put on our face. We try to create a false front and leave the straggly bits hidden so no one sees the real stuff that unravels. For some of us it’s being a sweaty mess, others have body issues, there are addictions, and eating disorders. There are so many things we work hard for others just not to see.
But here is the thing… those unraveling bits are where the power lies. I don’t think I would have ever learned this without our struggles in adoption over the past few years. It has taken that pain, that exposure, to reveal the power of His truth that comes when we live open and exposed FOR HIM.
And so I have learned to embrace my pain and live it out loud. Instead of letting the hard humiliate me, I allow it to humble me. Sure, I may be the only one who looks like a hot mess, but I am never the only one who feels like one. And my willingness to live in the mess of my struggle is often the entrance into real that someone else needs.
The reality is that we all struggle and it is bearing your struggle, pressing hard into it, accepting it and not running from it that brings truth and human camaraderie. It allows the Holy Spirit the opening to move through me to touch those around me with His transforming power.
It is our struggles that can become the vehicle for true connection and honest growth. So whatever has you bound up today, whatever feels like your prison – don’t hide it from others. Instead, live in it and ask God to use it as He humbles you through it. Let his strong be in your weak. It might be the very thing that He uses to save the struggling soul sitting next to you.