One night last week, I had a group of friends over. We sat outside drinking malbec, eating spicy goat cheese, and sharing stories. There was a mixture of people: married and single, parents and without kids, under and over 30. We always have a great time together, but there was something unique about this particular night. Stories quickly turned from more surface-level to sharing deep struggles and worries. We shared about the hard parts of marriage and the hard parts of singleness. We shared about how God had protected us, and how following him meant a more difficult path. We encouraged one another in our individual strengths, and we shared about our weaknesses. We talked long into the night, finally dispersing only because we had to get up early the next morning for work.
I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd just experienced something holy and precious. Something that Christians should experience more when they gather. There was an authenticity, a lack of judgment, an increasing empathy for other's situations.
And the biggest takeaway for me was that we normally do a poor job of sharing this part of life: the messy, fragile, tender parts. And yet we all walked away encouraged. Though the enemy often lies to us and tells us we're alone, we're failures, and that no one will understand, sharing our stories allowed God's truth to wash over us.
A week later, I'm still thinking about this, and it has prompted me to start a new tradition: intentionally sharing the messy stuff--even on Facebook. I realize that sharing real stuff can sometimes come off as negative, but my hope is to share in a way that's encouraging--or at least funny--just like our conversations were last week.
I'm going to intentionally share the messy stuff so that I'm presenting a fuller, truer self on social media. And I want you to know it will be hard. But I believe sharing the real stuff is too important to skip just to protect my ego. This is just one piece of working to share my life more authentically.
So here's my first #realmoment:
Last week I attended a conference. I was excited to hear from the great speakers. But as a nursing mom, I also had to think about where I might pump during lunch. I brought my pump with me, and left it in the car. On my lunch break I went to the local mall that features a family restroom with small rooms for nursing. I thought it'd be great to pump there. Except there weren't any electrical outlets. Which meant I couldn't use my electric pump . . . and I needed to find another place to pump. Luckily there was an old-school bathroom in Macy's with the sitting room in the bathroom. With an electrical outlet! So I sat just inside the bathroom at Macy's pumping. And all I could think was: #pumpingproblems. Nursing is hard, and it puts you in situations you never could have imagined pre-baby. And no one tells you about these weird, awkward moments. Then again, I may not have believed it before I was a nursing mom myself!
I'm determined to share more of my #realmoments, and I hope you'll consider doing the same.