My life isn’t picture perfect, and this is okay

For years, actually ever since I can remember, friends have told me my life is perfect. I particularly remember one moment in my last year in college when a friend of mine told me they had failed a test and their father was upset at them because he found out they went drinking the previous night. I remember telling this person, “your father will forgive you,” and that I know the feeling of failing– it sucks. The moment I said that, they looked at me and rolled their eyes and said something along the lines of, oh please you live the perfect life without failures and you’re praised by everyone. You’re perfect. You have no idea what failure feels like. Except– I did. This was a big ouch, except I didn’t show it to them. . .except, I wish I had.

The thing is, I use to be insulted by people who said I was perfect or I had a perfect life. I think I was offended because that meant people thought I had life easy; life was just handed to me perfectly on a silver plate with a glass of expensive wine. It meant my life was roses, and everyone I met or who knew me thought I had it made. It meant I didn’t know loss, pain, suffering or hardships.

The truth is, I know all those things–very well. Then I thought, so people think my life is perfect. . .this has to mean something good, right? This perception of people about me simply means—I’ve just gotten really good at not complaining about all the ordeals in my life and I’m better at saying all the really great things that God has done in my life. This is good, yes? I mean, speaking positive things more than complaining is always better. People love to talk about happy things, happy relationships, happy coffee dates and happy kiddos. This brings joy to the heart (especially some happy kiddos). So I choose to talk about those happy moments from the past instead of the pain I’m going through in that moment. Then I recently went to church on a rainy Sunday morning and the pastor tore this thought up to shreds. He basically said sometimes in life, you’re going to go through some pretty tough moments. Know that it’s okay to go to your brother or sister and say, hey, I’m going through this or that. I’m really not okay, I’m not.I don’t know what to do or how to handle this. . .and I’m struggling. This isn’t complaining, it’s seeking help or support. He said to let that be a moment between you and someone else to pray and fellowship and just be honest, open and real. It’s okay to portray that you aren’t perfect and that you indeed struggle. This is how we grow as a body of Christ and help others. Needless to say, that Sunday morning I opened up a lot to friendly strangers. So back to that moment in college when my friend was basically telling me I’ve never struggled in my life, I wish I had opened up and let them in and told them exactly what I was going through that day, and maybe we could have prayed or uplifted each other and been better in Christ because of it.”Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

I make plans, lot’s of plans. Like in the beginning of this year I made new year resolutions about me finding my dream dog, getting a big job and moving. None of these things look like they’re going to happen anytime soon. Instead, I found out I have this no good chronic illness, my apartment doesn’t allow big dogs and searching for a new job has been put up on the shelf for the summer while I’m trying to recuperate in this new found, no good illness. The main thing really is this sudden illness I’m dealing with. I’m very up and down lately.

My life isn’t picture perfect. Sometimes, I’m not okay. I’ve doubted lots of things in my life. I’ve doubted how in the world I’m going to get through this masters program while going through this on and off pain, but I’m still writing my essays on time (by God’s grace). Most people would say living off of GP loans to pay your rent and bills is an awful way to live, but I know God will provide me a ‘big girl’ job when it comes my time and honestly, I’m just grateful I live on my own (by God’s grace). I’m grateful for the time I had with the kids I worked with this past school year, even if I wanted to work with them again, but I couldn’t because it was getting rough on my body.  You see, on the outside my life looks pretty darn good, I’d say.

But on the inside when I’m getting ready for bed, I say a silent prayer to my Lord to keep me in His arms always and never let me forget that I can come to Him just the way I am, broken hearted and all, and He will be there to wipe away my sorrow and make me anew again. It’s okay that none of my new year resolutions are happening yet, God’s always cooking up something better. 

Though I haven’t had it perfect in my life and the way I thought it’d be, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite the things I see as curve balls, I am a blessed woman– so blessed. I’m keeping my eyes on Christ the whole way through, regardless if I’m struggling or not. For now, I will still write my long essays, look at the mountains through my open window, listen to the kids laughing in front of my building right now, drink my coffee in the early mornings, take my medicines and vitamins, go for long jogs by the mountainside, pay my bills on time and continue to pray to my heavenly, precious Father. There is an old saying that says, the smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what God has blessed me with. I will continue to count my blessings in life.

My prayer is that if you’re broken hearted about something, don’t keep it in. Though it took me awhile, I’ve learned that it’s okay to let people know your pain and struggles. I pray your pain goes away, whatever that may be. God has never left you.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

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16 thoughts on “My life isn’t picture perfect, and this is okay

  1. ruthsgirl99

    I started to tear up reading this… I guess I forget sometimes that you don’t have to be perfect to God and He will hold you no matter what. When you wrote at the end about how you still do daily things by God’s grace, it made me realize that being perfect and having everything together does not mean that you are a great Christian … Ya know?? I might be acting really vulnerable write now, but I thank you for writing this vulnerable post… I pray this realization will truly stick with me forever. God Bless you:) xoxo Sadie Charlene

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hi there, Sadie. I COMPLETELY know what you mean.
      I have always enjoyed expression. Thank you for expressing.

      Being vulnerable in todays world is lost and confined. I enjoy when we can openly express our feelings :)
      Thanks for the read.
      I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
      In Him,
      Sav

      Liked by 1 person

  2. DanielleChoosingHope

    I am encouraged by this post because I can relate to it so very much. I was called “perfect” so many times as a child/teen, and it always hurt to hear it. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I struggled to show anything but a smile to others. It took me a long time to realize that I had to be vulnerable and share my flaws and worries with others in order to be seen as a “real” person. These days, I may be too “real” for some tastes, but I love my life (illness and all). There are plenty of things I wish were different, but I am able to find joy in most days.
    And I am forever grateful that God loves me as my messy, broken, quirky, tender-hearted self. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Hey Danielle, agreed.
      I believe in being transparent–not only so others can relate, but so that change can happen. If we never shared our broken selves with others and kept it all inside– how then can we be witnesses for God when he pulls us out of these times?
      Keep sharing that heart of yours, I def. relate :)
      -Sav

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wendell A. Brown

    Always remember Savannah, we may have the physical issues, all will have them some time or another, and yet with our relationship with God, though the flesh is imperfect in many ways our spirits blossom and become so much better, able to cope with everything which comes our way. God is love, and his love is being poured into our soon to one day be new bodies …perfecting our spirits. All we do makes it easy to accept what is, to bless others, share with others, love others and nourish them when we can. The MS has floored me the past two months along with worldly losses in family and friends, and yet God keeps me strong always in his love. Your words, your spirit , your heart have beautifully framed life…we go through a few times years of famine and years of abundant harvest…know that we need both to perfect our spirits, and our hearts that we might always emulate him in the truest of ways, and that his love may blossom from us to others every day. Spiritual hugs, blessings and love to you always dear sister…remember these things shall also pass! Have a very lovely and blessed weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mikey

    Favorable circumstances most always produce smiles, such as good health, an adequate income, and a nice house finds it easy to look happy. However, the smile, though, comes naturally from within. It reflects a joy that remains even when a person has few of life’s material blessings. It comes from knowing God, believing and obeying His precious Word, being assured of sins forgiven, possessing eternal life, and anticipating the glories of heaven. The believer who depends on God for these blessings can smile despite adversity, as you are doing.

    The writer of Psalm 98 had the joy of the LORD and a song in his heart. He called on others to join him in singing “to the LORD a new song! For He has done marvelous things”. He praised God for His salvation, His righteousness, His mercy, and His faithfulness. The psalmist’s heart was so overflowing with praise and joy that he called on the earth to break forth in song, the rivers to clap their hands, and the hills to be joyful. My brethren, if you know Christ as Savior, you have much to be thankful for as well; God’s good gifts of family friends, and His daily supply for our needs. He faithfully cares for us, His precious children. At all times remember, “The joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). We can also take great comfort in the teachings of Jesus, who in John 15:11 said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” We may not be able to sing very well ; however, when we recall all that God is to us and all that He has done for us, we can’t help but “break forth in song” and declared “the joy of the LORD”. So, do you have the Joy of the Lord in your life?

    I can see the joy and contentment in your life from this post and others you have written, which comes from the LORD who lives within you, not from what’s happening around you. Psalm 56:4 puts it this way, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Thus, with God behind you and His arms beneath you, you can face whatever lies ahead of you, in peace and contentment.

    Blessings to you … Mikey

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marianne

    “…the smile on my face doesn’t mean my life is perfect. It means I appreciate what I have and what God has blessed me with.” I love the way you put that, Savannah. Perfectly. And I understand exactly what you mean. I used to think I had to apologize in some way if things were going well for me. Or if someone complained about something I felt obligated to let them know that I’ve gone through similar circumstances or else they would think that I really didn’t understand.

    It’s odd how we try to translate ourselves to another in order to let them know that we haven’t had it easy. No one has. Now, I will say that it’s important not to laugh on the outside and always be crying on the inside, because that really isn’t healthy for our bodies or mind. I was reminded of that in a dream. I was sitting on the lap of an angel or Jesus, or some heavenly guide, and he said to me, you always laugh on the outside, but inside you’re crying. I think he was warning me that that behavior was detrimental to my well-being. And it’s the Truth. So you have the right idea about pondering only the good things of past experiences.

    On the other hand it doesn’t mean that we have to blurt out everything that troubles us. I think you responded properly for the time with your college friend. Comforting someone doesn’t always have to include full disclosure of our lives. We need to learn when it’s important to reveal something and when it isn’t. You seem to have that discernment…so I wouldn’t worry about it.

    Keep being the delightful, lovely woman God is raising you up to be. Your parents obviously did a remarkable job with you. Now God is growing you in a way only He can do. And you certainly are fertile ground.

    I also understand about plans for the new year not turning out the way we expected. Similar circumstances on my end. Doors began opening exactly the way I hoped they would, and I just knew it was God doing it all. Then suddenly the door closed, and the project did not reach fruition much to the disappointment of the editor and myself. He was hoping to feature my designs and writing with the company he worked for. I was so confounded and confused. I couldn’t understand what happened. But, as you said, I must believe that God has something even greater in mind. And this was just a glimpse of success. From it I learned that there are really nice people out there that are easy to work with, and my work is respected and appreciated by professional editors. So I look at it like, I was thiiiis close, and the next time will be wonderful.

    I pray that the illness which has introduced itself to you is cut off in its youth. You are already healed, and I stand on that with you. I’m finding it’s a process to renew the mind to God’s thoughts about what the world presents to us. We can either choose to accept it or reject it. So if healing doesn’t come immediately, I say to myself, ‘I’m a work in progress, and I will just keep standing on the Word of God for my health, my happiness, my prosperity, my flourishing, my Life.

    Blessings to you, Savannah,

    Marianne xo

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    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Marianne, as always, so lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your uplifting words.
      Exactly, it seems you were close to that dream, but God will have it so much better next time around for your work.
      Thank you for your prayers of healing, I am healed in the name of Jesus Christ–I profess it all the time!
      I am indeed a work in progress. . .no pain can take away my faith in the Lord. Thank you for that.
      -Sav

      Like

    • Marianne

      The following is the part I’m still working on, but I know it’s TRUTH – now that you’ve said you are healed, Jesus said to receive it when you pray and you shall have what you say (Mark 11:22-24). The Greek word for receive is ‘take’…so we take it with us after our prayer. We have proclaimed it, asked for it, and now take it…it IS ours.

      LOL…I’m laughing because I’m doing the same thing in the midst of an awful upper respiratory infection. That’s why I say ‘a work in progress’ because I know that I don’t completely ‘take’ what I say. There always seems to be a slight bit of wonder in there. BUT, I’m working on that. And the more I practice saying it, believing it, and and taking it, the more perfected I’ll get at it.

      I love you, dear, and wish all good things for you and for me. We will stay in faith – a practical, working faith.

      Marianne xo

      Like

  6. rolerrol

    Contentment……that is what I see so clearly as I read this post. That and the importance of being real, and transparent! You are right indeed. It’s ok to be transparent and real about what is happening in our lives.
    But the other I got was contentment. You have come to a place of contentment. Yes things may be hard and difficult to understand but you are still trusting God…. That is a great attitude to have Savannah.

    Just know as you wait on Him, a time will come when things fall into place. The winter will make way for summer…….

    Rolain

    Like

    • Savannah Hardcastle

      Rolain, always transparent I am. :) Thank you. There is something wired in me when I write–I literally just speak what’s on my heart openly and transparently, I think this is how we touch lives in a greater way than holding back in our writings.
      I am indeed in a place of contentment; you read me like a book! I realized I’m blessed where I live and the apartments I live in are wonderful. . .it’s everything I’ve asked for and dreamed of. So for now, I’m making this home and it feels good to be content in everything thus far that God has blessed me with. . .
      -Sav

      Like

  7. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    We can never measure up to the worlds idea of perfection, as you said Savannah, but we aim to be perfected in God’s Love by the empowering of The Holy Spirit ( see below) it is True, we all have weaknesses and shortcomings, some call them warts but God calls them ours planks, when we judge other peoples specks. God tells us to be perfected in Love and we don’t have to wait till we die, yes as I shared before, we aim for it now.

    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    1John 4:16-17 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world

    2Timithy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    Christian Love from us both – Anne

    Like

  8. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    So True Savannah, we can never measure up to the worlds idea of perfection, but we will be perfected in God’s Love by the empowering of The Holy Spirit ( see below) and yes we all have weaknesses and shortcomings, some call them warts but God calls them ours planks, when we judge others specks. God tells us to be perfected in Love and we don’t have to wait till we die, we aim for it now.

    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    1John 4:16-17 And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world

    2Timithy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in Love; but perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in Love. We Love Him, because He first Loved us.

    Christian Love from us both – Anne

    Like

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