Just Airing My Clean Laundry

[originally posted this in May 2014. Someone mentioned it to me this week and it made me laugh when I looked back at it. Hope you enjoy the pics at the end ;)]

(Alternate Title: Stop Comparing your Behind-the-Scenes with everyone else’s Highlight Reel!)

So, I’ve been collecting pictures for months for this particular blog post. Some time around Christmas, a friend told me she wasn’t going on Facebook anymore because seeing everyone else’s perfect kids and perfect husbands and Pinterest-worthy one-year-old birthday parties and Hawaiian vacations, etc., etc., was making her feel bad about her life.

I thought, but you know that’s just people’s highlight reel, right? It’s not their every day. It’s where they post the things they are happy about, excited for…you know…the highlights.

 

Then, I remembered when I posted some family pictures (I actually don’t post many pictures of my kids. Not because I’m against it or anything. No, I just forget to take them). So we hired an incredible photographer (shameless plug here for Sj Bridgeman) to take some family photos and I shared some of them on Facebook…mostly so extended family could have access to them. (Because you know, I’m probably never going to actually get around to having prints made. Yeah, it’s been on my ToDo list for six months.) And also, cuz it’s probably the only time I’ve ever looked half decent in my photos.

 

When I posted this pic…

photo

 

… a sweet young friend commented that she hopes she and her baby girl have a relationship like me and my daughter. I remember looking at that comment and actually laughing out loud. Not because it’s not a sweet sentiment. It is. And not because I don’t want her and her little one to have a great relationship. I do. But because the assumption appeared to be, because we look happy in the photo, that we have a great relationship.

Um…I can say now, that we really do, but that’s very recent. After nineteen years, we are finally starting to get each other. But at the time, we were really struggling to like each other. And being her mom has always been hard … because she’s amazingly smart and strong-willed.

At this moment, I couldn’t be more proud of the young lady she’s become. As a matter of fact, yesterday was probably one of my favorite days ever, with her. I think she’s pretty brilliant. But she will tell you, there were times we didn’t know if she would make it out of childhood alive! (Settle down…it’s hyperbole. I wouldn’t actually have killed her. On purpose.)

Anywho … it struck me then, as it did again when my friend went on her Facebook fast, that so many people are comparing other people’s Highlight-Reel with their own Behind-the-Scenes.

Friends, that doesn’t work. Stop doing it.

It’s unhealthy for you and for those around you. You’ve probably heard it said, “Comparison is the death of contentment.” That’s true. And that’s when you’re comparing apples to apples. But this comparing your life to what you see online? That’s not even apples to oranges. It’s like apples to orangutangs monkeys. (That word just looked strange.)

Most people don’t post the bad stuff on Facebook. Cuz that would just be weird:

“Here’s the picture of Tommy writhing on the floor after his brother kicked him in the balls.”

“Oh, and here’s a great one of my teenager giving me the finger.”

“And this one…can’t forget this one. Little Suzy had just puked and decided to rest her head on the toilet. So sweet.”

“And this is a selfie of me, giving my husband the silent treatment cuz I’m pissed at him.”

 

People! All this stuff is happening to other people, too. It’s just not socially acceptable to share it. So settle down. Relax. You’re not the only one who’s a hot mess.

As a matter of fact, as I said, I’ve been trying to remember to take pics for months for this blog post. I was looking for behind-the-scenes kinds of moments. I got several.

And then I forgot about it. Cuz I do that. A lot.

But this morning, I saw a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen Howerton, and it was about this exact thing!! I mean…exactly what I wanted to talk about. She even used the word “highlight reel” (this is the second time this week that I’ve been pretty sure someone has been spying on my brain.)

At first, I thought … Dang! Now I can’t write my post!

But then I remembered I’m not comparing myself to anyone else so I can write about it, too. I stopped reading immediately, so I wouldn’t be tempted to compare her awesomeness with my awesomeness (haha). 😉 Now I’ll have to go back and finish reading her post. And I’ll even link you to it…cuz even the small part I’ve already read, is awesome: “I’ve Got Your Lifestyle Blog Right Here.

So, I wanted to let you know, if you ever feel like you can’t get your shit together, feel free to send me an email. (When I first wrote that, I wrote ‘shizzle.’ Then I deleted that and wrote ‘s#%t.’ Then I decided that was dumb and I used the real word…cuz it works.) I can list so many things that I fail at. I’ll be happy to give you a list so you can feel better. Actually, I already did. Here’s a blog post I wrote about it.

And to make you feel even better, here’s a fun story. Just this weekend, I broke Nine’s little heart when I got him to the baseball field at 7:30 pm for his 8 pm game … that actually started at … 6pm.

Crap.

“But I was supposed to be the starting pitcher and I was going to get to play first base and shortstop!” (I heard that sentence over and over and over for the next two days.)

I felt HORRIBLE. Seriously, wanted to throw up cuz I felt so bad. But, it happens. I had to let it go. (I even sang the song to myself. Really.)

 

So, now, for your viewing pleasure…I have some Behind-the-Scenes family pics for ya. Enjoy! (and I really did take a pic of my youngest, sitting on the bathroom floor, just after he threw up. But, I can’t find it. So you (and he) have been spared :))

The contents of my linen closet. Pretty much how they looked when they were still in the closet. (At least it's clean.)
The contents of my linen closet. Pretty much how they looked when they were still in the closet. (At least it’s clean.) I still can’t fold a fitted sheet!

 

Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds... Fighting. Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds...
Fighting. Even if this started out as fun, you know there was screaming within seconds…

 

This was a fun day. When Twelve broke his arm the day before basketball season started. It was awesome.

 

This one has a story. This is a picture of my very favorite tea cup. My friend, Marissa, knew I loved this little tea cup so one day, she stopped by and gave me a matching one. I was thrilled. So, I took it to the sink to wash it, and proceeded to drop it. CRASH! I don’t think my friend was even out of the driveway yet. FAIL!

 

What my dining room table looks like, most of the time.

 

I was the one who applied the sunscreen. (or didn't)
I was the one who applied the sunscreen. (or didn’t)

 

What happens any time I don't use a timer. Take that, Pinterest!
What happens any time I don’t use a timer. Take that, Pinterest!

 

And last, but certainly not least, this picture was taken …

IN FEBRUARY!!!
IN FEBRUARY!!! Bam!
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The truth about me

I’m gonna be honest. I’ve got nothin. I’ve been trying to think all night about what to write about for Friday’s post and I just have to admit that I’m slightly brain-dead. I truly don’t have any deep thoughts left in me. I can’t think of anything funny to say and my A.D.D. mind is failing me. It happens. And knowing is half the battle. 😉

So in the spirit of the name of my blog…allow me to ramble just a bit. I want to thank you all for your replies to yesterday’s post about Joshua. He’s such a special guy and I’m glad you all got to kind-of meet him 🙂

I didn’t just put up the post about Joshua yesterday, I also put up a bunch of writings that I’ve done about my experiences in Africa. I’m passionate about the work that’s been done there. But I do have something I want to be clear about. This is a little awkward but I need to say it if we’re going to continue our relationship. I am not any more special than anyone else is. No more special than you are.

I had a phone conversation last night with a dear loved one and she kept saying how much she admired me and how she doesn’t know how I do it all. I’ve heard this before and I appreciate the heart behind it. But what concerned me is she kept putting herself down and comparing herself to me. (Apparently she didn’t read the Apples to Oranges post earlier this week. :))

So just to make myself feel better, I’m gonna do a John Maxwell and tell you all some of my faults.

*Besides the obvious, like I can’t seem to lose 20 pounds, the biggest one is that I’m completely lacking in self-discipline (which of course contributes to the 20 pounds ;)). I’ve been trying for so many years to conquer my lack of discipline, but it’s a struggle and I’m definitely a work in progress.

*I yell at my kids too much. I’m not a screaming banshee but I still yell more than I’d like. (I’m pretty good about apologizing tho.)

*I stay up way too late (It’s 1:17 a.m. as I type this). And then I don’t want to get up in the morning. I do get up…I get my kids off to school and then my plan is always to get lots of stuff done or go work out before my hubby gets up at 9:30. In reality, I almost always crawl back into bed with him and sleep until about 10 a.m.

*I’m a procrastinator. I know that the saying goes, “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” But my brain seems to be hard-wired more for, “Put it off until you absolutely  have to get it done, then you’ll do a better job.” (I know…it makes no sense. As I’ve gotten older I’ve made progress in this area at times. But my default is still procrastination.)

*And the one that probably causes me the most stress and shame..(drum roll please) my house always seems to be a mess. I really admire those people who keep their houses picked up all the time. I think it’s very impressive. But I don’t seem to be able to do it for more than a week. And then when it starts to get messy I get really overwhelmed and I shut down. I have clutter behind every door and drawer in my house. And don’t even get me started on how much laundry a family of six generates. This “messy house” issue has been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. And it stresses me every day.

I tell you all this so that if any of you have been comparing your weaknesses with my strengths, you can just stop it! That’s not what the point of my blog is. I’m sharing this “Fault List” with you because I want you to relax around me. I want you to be honest with me because you know I’m willing to be honest with you.

The good news is that God is not done with me (or you) yet. Philippians 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Thank God for that.

In the interest of fairness, I will say I’m very good at going on vacations and trips. And I think it’s good to do what you’re good at. I keep telling Bill he should take me on vacation again cuz I’m so good at it. So, if you hear of me taking a trip somewhere, you’ll know it’s just Bill giving me the opportunity to feel good about myself.

Thanks for letting me ramble. Turns out I had something to say after all 🙂

Love,

rebekah

UPDATE: 2016- Wow, a lot can change in four years. As I read this over, I find it so encouraging to see that I’ve made significant progress in all these areas. Don’t ever let anyone tell you people don’t change. Anyone can change if they put their mind to it. Now, lest you think I’m saying I’ve conquered all my faults…I still have plenty of things to work on. But these things that plagued me four years ago? Well, here are the updates:

  • I’ve lost that twenty pounds. As a matter of fact, I lost 30 and plan to lose 20 more. Self-discipline is an area I have to focus on but I’ve made so many changes and I’ve been very disciplined, so, Yay!
  • Yelling at my kids…very rare these days. Of course, my oldest was my biggest challenge and she’s almost 21 and out of the house…so, there’s that.
  • This year, I challenged myself to turn into a morning person. And I’ve done it. If you’d told me five years ago that I’d get up five days a week around 5:30am when I don’t actually need to be out of bed till 7:30am, I’d have said you were certifiably insane. I would have been wrong. I’m loving my mornings. They are the key to getting all my work done!
  • I’m still a bit of a procrastinator. That may not change a ton. I get my work done but sometimes I like the ticking clock hanging over my head. It’s kind of how I roll, at this point.
  • The messy house…still an issue. But not nearly as much as it was. I still have clutter that I keep trying to find the time to deal with. But my house is so much better overall. If you’d “dropped by” a few years ago, unannounced, 9 times out of 10, I would have been mortified by the mess. Not now. Most of the time I’ve got things under control. Just don’t look in my linen closet!

This update was very encouraging for me…maybe I’ll write a new post about it. But for now, I just felt I should set the record straight. 😉

Apples to Oranges

A friend mentioned that if my blog were perfect then the readers would feel less than perfect or “inferior” therefore it’s good that it’s not “perfect” (or more accurately that I’m not perfect). I totally agree with that idea on a large scale. Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to speak in public or write in a public forum I’ve always done my best to point out my flaws and laugh at myself. I don’t do this so that people will try to make me feel better. (You know, like that friend you grew up with who always said she looked ugly just so you’d say she didn’t.) No, I do it because I think it’s so important to be real. It makes people more comfortable around you if they know you’re not perfect.

 

For some reason we all tend to compare ourselves with others. The problem is that we don’t realize we are comparing our weaknesses (which we know all too well as they stalk us and shout at us daily) with their strengths (the parts most people show to the world). It’s apples to oranges and doesn’t make sense! I could probably write ten blog posts on this topic alone (and I probably will over time!)

 

I once heard best-selling author, John Maxwell, talk about a large leadership conference he had spoken at. He was not scheduled until Sunday but he attended the whole weekend and said he noticed something surprising. As Friday and Saturday wore on, the mood seemed more and more deflated. So that by Saturday night it was almost depressing to watch the faces in the crowd.

 

He was first up on Sunday and he knew exactly what he had to do. He tossed his original speech and instead stood up there and told those deflated people about all of his mistakes. He laughed at himself and they laughed with him until the whole place was lifted out of a fog.

 

See, all weekend the speakers were so successful that people began to feel like they could never measure up. It wasn’t until John tore down the veil and reminded them that successful people aren’t perfect that they relaxed and started to have hope that they too could reach their goals.

 

And even tho I know not to compare apples to oranges, I still have to be reminded. Just as my book was getting ready to hit the shelves I discovered my new favorite author (Julie Klassen) and as I finished a couple of her books I began to panic thinking, “Who am I kidding? I’m not a good author! She is a good author. I want to be her when I grow up! Stop the presses…don’t print it! My book is not good!” But then I took a deep breath, ate a piece of chocolate (always helps) and prayed. I asked God to help me trust Him and not compare myself.

 

Then again, on the same day that I admitted that I felt like God wanted me to write a blog, I started reading a blog by a woman named Glennon that was absolutely hysterical (momastery.com). I laughed till I cried and then I panicked again. “Lord, I can’t do a blog! This woman is amazing. She is perfect at this. I will suck! I’m not funny like she is, I don’t have the stories to tell that she does, blah blah blah!”

 

But after I calmed down (and again…chocolate) I felt like God was reminding me that I don’t have to be Julie Klassen or Glennon or any other person I admire. I just have to be myself and be honest. I can learn from them and I can grow but thru it all I still have to be Rebekah. I’m glad He’s teaching me these things because for the most part I really do like being me and trying to be someone else is exhausting. So, I’ll be unapologetically me, you be unapologetically you and we’ll all be better off for it. 🙂

 

Love,

rebekah

 

P.S. I often mention my conversations with God. I think most of the people reading my blog at this point will know what I mean when I say I heard God say something. But if you’re interested (or concerned or horrified) check out the tab at the top, “God Stuff” for an explanation. (or click here.)

 

P.S. P.S. I almost didn’t put in the link to Glennon’s blog because I was afraid you’d go there and never come back to my blog again. Haha. But then I remembered that smart girls don’t make decisions in fear. So please go check out her blog and read Julie Klassen’s books too! I know you will love them both and I’m thrilled to recommend them. 🙂