These Stories Aren’t Mine (Why I’m Blogging: Part 1)

12837586_10209002351766049_347028913_oOne of my very best friends once told me that she hates blogs, people spitting out their thoughts on the internet without any real credibility, no more wise or informed than anyone else.

If you are one of those people who thinks that I am writing on the Internet because I believe myself to be more wise and well-informed than the next person and frankly you could not care less about my thoughts, that’s ok with me. Please know that I don’t think I am a uniquely important voice, in fact I think we all need to remind ourselves more often that no one’s voice is more valuable than another.

I’ve always been a person who loves blogs, loves when someone finds a safe place to share their experiences, thoughts, frustrations, and successes. I love when we let ourselves be honest and invite others to listen.

That’s not usually what happens though, is it? Instead of being vulnerable we create an elaborate facade. In turn, we scroll through our social media feeds and find ourselves wishing we could look a little more like that or live the kind of life we see smeared online. I’m not the first to suggest that social media and the Internet in general encourages us to gloss over our gritty, dirty lives to make them look shiny and pretty. We hover over someone else’s digital footprint, documented with a nice camera and enhanced by good lighting and Photoshop. No one is completely honest online—we all clean ourselves up and advertise the best and most beautiful version of the situation that we can muster.

We wonder why we’re lonely, why we can’t seem to live up to expectations, why we can’t get it quite right. The truth is we all feel that way—and in an effort to feel better about ourselves we make someone else feel a little worse. We perpetuate the cycle that, deep down, I think we all wish would fall apart.

I’m guilty of trying to gloss up my life. I’m guilty of hating the messy parts of me instead of being grateful for how they’ve inspired growth, understanding, and humility. What I’m learning is that when I ignore the ugliness in my life I’m rejecting the redemption story—the idea that, though I’m dirty at my core, a perfect God loved me enough to make beauty from my mess. I’m convinced that when I refuse to be honest I’m turning down an opportunity to reveal the beauty of redemption.

So, truly, I’m not here to try to share a prettied up version of my life or to pretend that I am qualified to give insight that you couldn’t find someplace else. But I am convicted that we should all share more stories—because maybe if we all opened up a little more it would ease some of the anxiety we feel to live up to unrealistic expectations. Maybe if we all shared a little more honestly we would foster more community instead of isolating each other, when privately we’re all as insecure and messy as the next person.

Ultimately, these stories aren’t even mine –the wonderful moments and the devastating losses have one thing in common: they bear witness to Christ working in my life. These stories are really His, and they’re certainly not supposed to be suppressed. Most of the time I want to grasp my stories to myself, but I’m learning that they’re not even mine to keep. In the end, they’re meant to reflect less on me and my failings and more on His salvation, love, and transformative power. And when I share His stories, the ways He’s worked in me, and feel the fellowship and community and joy that this brings, I remember why these stories are meant to be shared.

 

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