I grew up thinking that appearances were one of the most important things to consider. Things need to look good on the outside. It doesn't matter as much what the inside looks like, as long as we don't let people see it and we manage the outside well.
Over the years I have most certainly dealt with this struggle internally. Not wanting to be all about appearances, while at the same time constantly wanting to appear as though I have it all together. Not wanting to try to fit in to the "mold" while at the same time just wanting to blend in to my surroundings.
But the freedom I have felt more recently by just being able to be me and not always trying to overcompensate or apologize for that has been amazing. Having friends that I really feel comfortable just being around feels so freeing. To be able to ask for help. To not have to say sorry for everything my boys do and make them appear perfect to others. To be able to admit that I have a lot going on right now and I need help with that dinner I said I would prepare. To be ok with not making something from scratch this time. To be ok with not always trying to make sure we are "even" and just knowing that we are friends and it will all even out at some point, without feeling guilty about who is giving and who is receiving at any one moment. I still struggle with all of these. With changing life-long habits and patterns, but I see that it can be different. That I can be ok with my flaws. That it's better to do life together than to appear flawless.
Freedom feels good. I am not perfect. My kids are not perfect. We are far from it. I am often weak and lonely and worrisome and prideful and I want to be around more people who see this and know this and still love me! My kids yell and hit and bite and lie and I want to be around people who see this and know this and don't try to fix them or fix me, but instead love us and through that love help us grow.
It's been almost a year since we moved to this new town. I wrote this post on my pride shortly after that move. Asking for humility is hard and scary and stretching...But it is good. Good to release the need to feel right and perfect and justified in everything. And looking back at the year, I see not only that God is growing me, but also the people God has brought into my life to help me see things differently. And feel them differently. Not to feel loved because of the appearances I have tried so hard to control, but to feel loved just for being me. To feel loved even when people do see it all, and that only makes them love me more.
And feeling the freedom to be me is something that I don't want to lose now that I have "tasted and seen." God is good. He has brought people into my life to be this for me. To show me more clearly what this should look like.