If you read my latest Instagram caption you probably gathered that I have been selfish lately. And, you also have probably gathered that I am just now noticing there is a difference between being vulnerable and being transparent. Thanks to this season’s Bible Study at church I am learning a lot about the “unforced rhymes of grace.” How I am wearing myself out proving who I am, when instead I need pull closer to Jesus, to live as he did so I can live more life, fully connected, and perfectly free.
When reading through the Proven study homework by Jennie Allen, I came across the following quote and it was a serious lightbulb moment. She wrote, “Vulnerability is the edited disclosure of feelings or parts of your life. Transparency is exposing the unedited, unfiltered, unflattering parts of your soul.”
Lately I have been wondering how much should I share in the social media world? The more I prayed on it the more I realized I want others to feel ok. And, by ok I mean I want them to feel human in the aspect that all of us are dealing with this thing called life. I don’t want to be someone who only shows the good and not the bad. I want other moms to know I mess up. I want other wives to know that despite deeply loving my husband we still have to work hard together to figure out marriage. I want other women to know that we all have insecurities, fears, difficulties. But, how do I do that when I only share my happier thoughts, my edited life?
I can’t be real, without actually being real.
So, in the interest of full transparency, I have been selfish, sad, withdrawn, and slightly unhinged recently.
In what way you wonder? In my time. More specifically how I am allotting it to people I love and daily activities. I have not been giving time to my family. I have not been dedicating time to what needs to be done to make our family function smoothly.
You may call it a rut.
I am going to call it a setback.
Because, let’s face it : I put everything I love on the back burner. I made myself more important than anything else.
If you are wondering how, you should be asking me : How many books have you read in the last three weeks?
And, my answer would maybe be alarming to you.
Yes, 14 books.
It’s basically a book in a little over a day.
How does a mother of three read entire book in about a day and a half?
By neglecting her kids a bit. Now, don’t take this too far, they were cared for : fed, driven to school and all activities, homework competed, bathed and in bed on time.
But, any single second they were occupied my mind stepped away and into a book. If their tv show was on it meant Mommy could read. If they were focused on homework I was sneaking in a few pages. If the baby played by himself for a minute it gave me the opportunity to pick up my book.
I did the least amount of laundry possible, I never made our beds, hardly tidied up my kitchen, barely worked out, cooked the easiest meals possible.
I literally did the bare minimum.
I went to bed way too late, and woke up constantly tired.
I made excuses for every time I picked up a book over my family. Excuses like : I deserve me time, I earned this, they will be fine. Which all is true. But, I had no moderation, no filter. I just kept being selfish and distant.
Now, reading in and of itself is not bad. But, when you read in an obsessive manner it becomes like an addiction. A reading addiction isn’t horrible, but putting a book’s priority over the love you have to offer your family is. It 100% is. And, I am ashamed. I am saddened and sickened that I could take something as magical as reading and turn it into something that drives a wedge between me and my loved ones.
And, then I think of all the time I spend reading books – good books don’t get me wrong – but, do I spend enough time reading the most important book?
I have never read the Bible cover to cover. Yet, I have read Beautiful Disaster at least 12 times, I just re-read Maybe Someday for the third time, and I finished the seven Gender Games books in 11 days.
So, here I sit in my insecurity. Here I am in words wondering : why?
And, low and behold I read in the introduction of the above mentioned Bible Study, “What if instead of numbing out because you are tired of striving, you were at peace and could enjoy your life? Jesus has a plan for our emptiness, our fatigue, our inadequacies, our sin. ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, a river of living water will flow from within them.’ John 7:37-38. Jesus is saying, keep coming back to Me and I will keep satisfying you. And out of that life with Me, you will overflow and bring life to others.”
So, humbly and transparently, I say to you : I am not enough, but I know someone who is. I shall return more faithfully to His words and heal myself so I am no longer selfish and hiding in books. I will refocus on God so I can rejoin my family and live boldly. So that, my favorite hobby of reading remains just that, a hobby. So that, any other distractions from Him are addressed and resolved.
Also, I will resume taking my thyroid medication, because I just realized that three weeks without fulfilling my prescription really truly wrecked my world, my mind, and my family. I really, really dislike when I feel my mind gets away from me and I wallow in self-doubt.
I don’t want to hide in books anymore, I want to bury myself in The Book. I want to still enjoy reading, but live fully for the only read that truly matters.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhymes of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mathew 11:28-30