I’ve been told I’m brave for being vulnerable. To be honest, I look at it as me just being truthful, more than vulnerable. Living truthfully is a whole lot easier than keeping secrets. Pretending is hard work. Looking good on the outside while slowing dying on this inside? Well, it just is not worth it to me. If I put on a show for everyone, I will have to keep up the facade in order for anyone to like me. Pretending. Over and over, around and around. Dodging questions, covering up lies, running from circumstances. Like a villain in a movie who is on the run. Always looking over my shoulder. Never wanting anyone to know the real me.
I’ve lived this way in some areas. There is no freedom in it. There is no rest, or peace or even hope. Laboring to keep up appearances. Trying so hard to make everyone believe I am something I’m not. Maybe a good little Christian girl? A quiet, gentle wife. A republican. A young lady who is full of faith, smiling at the future, ready for whatever comes my way. Nope. Not who I am. Not much quiet or gentle or republican about me. Not much democrat either. Most days I look at the future with a good bit of dread and I surely don’t feel much like a good little christian.
So I put myself out there. I tell you all how I’m feeling. I type and type, believing that someone will relate to who I am and whatever I’m going through in the moment. Not afraid to share my failures. Letting people in. No need to put up a front. I want to be known for who I am and loved, not known for who I am pretending to be and admired from afar.
I’ve tasted fear. I got pregnant before I was married. I know doubt. I have held the hands of my parents as they took their last breaths. I have struggled to keep my husband’s underwear clean and shrank my children’s clothes. I prefer a good restaurant over my own cooking. I’ve seen counselors and doctors and taken deep dives into the hurt and pain I’ve encountered and induced throughout this journey. Darkness has been my friend. Anxiety has taken my body for spin a time or two. And the clouds of depression loom large over my soul sometimes.
All of this can make me wanna run and hide. Jump on under a table or into a dark closet. It can be so easy for me to just wanna stay in bed, thinking the world doesn’t need me today anyway. Oh, and by the way, who in their right mind would wanna see me like this?
Somehow though? I’ve learned to come on out into the open. Crawl out from under my cozy blankets and get the heck dressed. Asking all the while for the new mercy that is promised to cover me as I go about my day.
And the mercy and grace flood in. No, they don’t make me perfect. They just simply give me the strength needed to take the next step. To do the next right thing.
So for all of this? Well, I’m grateful. Ready to share this mercy and grace with others. Moving through my day with a glimmer of hope that God can move in and through me… even at my weakest moments. Praying all the while that I will have eyes to see others who are hurting. Maybe even be able to pull them under this waterfall of mercy I have found. The everlasting and forever flowing grace and mercy of Jesus. If it is powerful enough to flood my soul? Well, then there must be enough there to wash over others I find along the way.
My job in this life is not to put on a show for anyone. It’s never been about me cleaning up my outsides in an effort to clean up my insides… or anyone else’s insides for that matter. I’m finding out more and more how I am called to simply show others the waterfall. To use my life as an example of how not to be perfect, but how to be real. How to be known and loved.
So I write. Never in long sentences. Just my thoughts. My struggle and my longings. And a Jesus who sees and carries the burden as I rest in his mercy and grace.
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.