Can we just get really brutally honest here for a moment?
I had a bit of a rough day recently.
I woke up roughly one hour later than I should have that morning.
I stumbled into the bathroom and did the abbreviated version of my “morning routine.” This includes washing my hair super quickly, using my husband’s body wash (because mine’s gone and smelling like a man is easier/cheaper than going to buy more), washing my face, and pretending that I didn’t need to shave (5 minute showers do not allow time for smooth, hairless legs).
I dried off, put on some moisturizer and deodorant, sprayed some rose water on my face and put in contacts.
I threw on a pair of Target jeggings and a camisole, and shuffled through the dirty laundry and eventually found my least-wrinkled cardigan.
I grabbed my hairdryer, plugged it in and set it on my vanity. It promptly fell into my sink. This is mainly due to the fact that my master bathroom only has approximately one inch of vanity on each side of the sink bowl. I should also mention that the sink drain is currently not draining. So my hairdryer fell into half a sink full of water. I unplugged my hairdryer and tossed it on the ground.
I ran out of the house, into our Buick, where my husband sat, waiting to drive me to the bus stop. I promptly turned on the car hairdryer (aka: the face vents as hot and as high as they go) and tossed my hair around for the five-minute car ride.
I got on the bus with no makeup on and half-wet hair. I also noticed how blurry everything looked. Did I actually put my contacts in? I assured myself that I did.
I got to my office (where I use very little of the skills I learned in my $75k+ college degree) about 20 minutes later, and once again noticed how blurry everything was. I told myself that I really needed to get my eyes checked soon.
I made it to my desk, and quickly put on a little bit of makeup with a tiny mirror, applying it as fast as possible so my coworkers wouldn’t see me putting it on.
I made it through about 2 hours of work, when I suddenly realized that I used the yellow contact case that morning. The yellow contact case that contains Greg’s contacts. Not the red contact case that contains my contacts. It then dawned on me why I could only see half as well as normal.
I got to noon and was dishing out apologies to friends and family that I’d been a brat to in the past few days and weeks. I realized that I’d been taking out my frustration and sadness out on others. I beat myself up again for being a jerk to people I love.
I made it past lunch, and was experiencing a little afternoon crash. The cookies sitting at the desk behind mine began to beckon. I consumed and thoroughly enjoyed two cookies. 30 minutes later, I felt like crap and was reminded of the ten pounds I had put on in the past 6ish weeks, due to stress, traveling, too many commitments and recently going off of a medication. I quickly could only focus on the muffin top protruding out of my jeggings and how much rounder my face looked since just two months earlier.
The rest of the day, the voices in my head raged against me. The culture and self-imposed ideas of what a life (particularly a life as a woman in her late-20’s) should look like were taunting me.
“What do you mean you don’t have a morning routine? You don’t curl your hair everyday? You don’t have a cool, hipster media job? You’ve been married for five years and you still don’t have kids? Your house isn’t old and unique, but also completely functional and updated? You’re rude to people sometimes? You pinned all those Pinterest organization hacks but you are still a hot mess? You still buy your clothes at Target? You’re eating sugar? You don’t have a perfect body image, while also being incredibly fit and trim? You are still paying student loans? You only have one old, grandpa car for you AND your husband? You have dirty clothes on your floor?
Wow. When are you going to stop throwing your life away?”
It was devastating and debilitating.
After a few hours of an enemy-induced self-pity and destruction party, Gilmore Girls popped into my head. Suddenly I was pumping myself up and pulling a Lorelai Gilmore, screaming at the enemy “Look around… This is a life! It has a little color in it so it may look a little unfamiliar to you, but it’s a life!”
And no matter where you’re at, you have a life too. No matter how colorful or grey or full or empty it seems, it’s a life!
Jesus said in John 10:10 that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” And it’s really easy to see the literal stealing, killing and destroying in our world today, isn’t it? I think it’s harder to identify how the enemy steals, kills and destroys in our mind, heart and spirit, but this less obvious deception is far more powerful than we know.
When the enemy gets that footing, he steals our joy, kills our hope and destroys our contentment. And that’s when our lives don’t seem good enough. That’s when we begin to chase material, worldly pleasures to bring us joy. That’s when what we have is no longer a gift and a blessing, but a second-hand freebie that will have to do until something better comes along.
Jesus finishes in John 10:10 saying, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus IS life! He is the one who gives us a full, messy, adventurous, beautiful, redemptive, hard, free, grace-filled life.
So what’s the lesson here? Why am I writing about this? What do I need to look back on if (and when) these days and these deceptions come again?
- Check yourself before you wreck yourself. See how all those voices in my head were condemning? They were all attacking? That’s the trademark of the enemy. Learn to identify Satan’s tactics for what they are.
- Contrast those condemning thoughts to the word of God. “I’ve gained weight and look disgusting” becomes, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made and can exercise self-control through the fruit of the Spirit.”
- Contentment does not mean you’re settling. We can be content with our messy, unglamorous, mundane lives because of Jesus. He’s all we need and He’s the ultimate source of our joy. But this doesn’t mean that we’re settling in life. It’s ok to want to be healthier, to establish routines to make us better stewards of our time, to work hard and own nice things.
The good news is that Jesus is in all of it. The struggling, the waiting, the rejoicing, the trying, the failing. He’s there with us, fighting the enemy’s advances and whispering in our ears, “this is a life. Through me you have life. Now live it abundantly!”
So here’s me. Unwashed hair, remnants of yesterday’s makeup, untamed eyebrows, dirty sweatshirt, pants a little too tight, driving in the car, taking selfies with my naughty puppy. And this is a life.
This is my life.