(P.S. This is unedited and written in a short period of time but it's rather fitting for the topic. Enjoy.)
So right now, it's 4:18. I have to leave by 5:00 to go meet a few people on the other side of town. In two days we leave for a weeks vacation up north. I just got off the phone with my sponsor from my 12-step program so I could vent about the balancing act of life and how sometimes it just feels like we're being pulled in 50 directions. If you are reading this, I know you get this - no matter what path we've chosen in our lives, we're all busy. I completely get that and I know you do to. I won't get into the rest of how crazy the earlier part of the day has been. It was actually good in many ways, but we all know that life doesn't always go exactly according to plan. Life - doesn't come in a pretty blue Tiffany box. Life comes sometimes in a messy box.
That's why I'm writing this post, because my life with this Healthy Voice isn't all inspiration and glory. I don't live in a fantasy world. I do love to inspire others and have a huge passion for bringing the Healthy Voice out in every one of you to shine. But guess what? That doesn't mean it's the only thing I've got going on in this life. I've got a life - a very full life. I am grateful for my life and everything in it. But this imperfect life has a very REAL side and that's why it is very important for me to share with you - that there is Healthy Voice: FOR REAL, and there is Healthy Voice. I'm not here to show you how to live this perfect life. I'm here to show you the good and the bad, the crap and the glory. I'm here to show you why the stuff that goes in my life is WHY I need my Healthy Voice, and the Healthy Voice that comes out of my heart and inspires me or you is only because my Healthy Voice has carried me through the crap. I need that Healthy Voice just as much as you do.
So I wanted to tell you - that I'm going to be doing a series of blog posts over the next week sharing my commitment to that Healthy Voice: FOR REAL by sharing the honest to goodness truth about what certain aspects of my life are like. Some call it taking the veil off. Others see it as being real. I see it as just being me so I can inspire you to just be you.
This weekend my husband and I listened to a couple of Podcasts on the drive North from sermons by Steven Furtick, a Pastor in Charlotte, North Carolina. I like him because he talks REAL.
The first one we listened to was called, "Death by Distraction," and how there are four concepts of how we can get distracted in this life that keep us from planting seeds that last. He mentioned how the seeds get 1) snatched (like when you choose to read Facebook instead of being present at the dinner table with family), 2) scorched (when we're superficial in acting like we've got it together and it lasts for a bit, but isn't rooted so it doesn't last for long and we're not "committed"), 3) choked (when we let what we "think" might happen, our anxieties or our worries keep us from actually trusting God, even if we know he's got this), 4) sabotaged (this happens when [and I thought this was really good] the Lord plants seeds in our life and the devil plants weeds right next to those seeds to distract us from being present to the good seeds. He will do anything to distract us from our purpose. Furtick mentioned that he can't take it away, but he can distract us enough that we can't focus on it. That's when we are spiritually sleeping. That's when God can't pull out the root of our pain because we're stuck in the weeds of distraction.
(At this point of the podcast we arrived at a lighthouse called "Point Betsie" which I thought was fitting because it reminded me how God IS our lighthouse).
I don't know about you, but I want to stay focused on what God's got planned for me. I know it's good and I know how easily my Unhealthy Voice can get me to think or feel that it's the weeds that need my focus. It's just not true. That's why when I finished this podcast, I literally deleted all the social media apps off my phone because they are all distractions from being present in the moment. Of course I can be on them at my computer to share info, but I don't need to be on them constantly. It's what is in front of me that's more important than anything. It's that BEING PRESENT.
That brings me to his second podcast called, "The Problem with Pinterest." He used 2 Corinthians 12 to discuss this problem we have a society with "showing" others how we have these perfect lives, but we don't share the REAL stuff. He went right to the concept of COMPARISON, and how we live in a culture that breeds it. I highly recommend you listen to it because of the powerful message behind it essence he challenged us to not just "preach from your strength, but preach from your struggle."
Everyone is so scared of sharing their struggle. Of course - we live in a world that is all about NOT showing struggle, and I'm certainly not saying that it's really "safe" to show the world your struggle around everyone because some people are so uncomfortable with you being real that they will try to shut down your real. But I'm with Pastor Furtick. I say, BE real.
I loved this whole podcast because I'm with him. I think Pinterest is cool and everything, but where is the reality? He referenced a website called Pinterestfails.com and talked about all the ways that people tried but failed their attempts to do stuff on Pinterest. People spend so much time sharing images of positive quotes and images, but how are they doing and being it in real life? Let me tell you - I love doing that, but I also know that sometimes writing a blog about what's really going on in my life is SO much more real than an image with a pretty quote. Again, I love them - but I can't get from them, what I can get from being IN my life and present to it.
Phil Cooke, a Christian Hollywood guy shared a blog this past week that pointed to how little inspiration really offers in our lives, and I loved it because really - how far can inspiration go? In some ways isn't Pinterest sometimes finding the stuff we want on the outside of us? I've loved it for a long time because it keeps me out of the stores and keeps my creative imagination going. But it's still - like the rest of the world - a comparison game. So again, why keep life to just inspiration? Why not go deeper than inspiration?
Some of the things Pastor Furtick said that I want to remember:
- The #1 complement he gets from people is, "Thank you for being REAL."
- "Instead of trying to impress people, share how life REALLY is!"
- "The goal of my ministry is to deplastify this pulpit."
- "The most helpful way to encourage someone is not always to say 'You should', but 'Me too."
- And my favorite....(it deserves it's own quote box.)
- He said, "Only in Christ does this image management come to a head."
- He said, "Our memory is selective and defective. So we'd rather live in a memory and the great thing about a memory is it sanitizes the past from the pain. If it's not memory we live in imagination of what it WOULD be like. I'd rather PIN the thing I'm going to do, then LIVE now."
And finally he says, "Instead of comparing yourself to the glory of others, contemplate the glory of God." He recommending getting into HIS work instead of going on Instagram and allowing HIM to transform us instead of what we see we want in someone ELSE to get us what we want.
So - I don't know if you are in with me on this or not, and I know people say I'm "brave", but I want people to see who i REALLY am, not who they "seem" to see, or want me to be. I want people to have the courage to BE who they are not because I taught them, but because I was just me and by being me and being real about my struggles - it gave them, that one person maybe, the courage to share their own struggles.
You in? I hope so.
If you want to check out Pastor Furtick's podcasts, I suggest finding him on ITunes. Both of the ones I mentioned are on there. Here is the link to the Phil Cook Blog Reference for you to contemplate yourself, it's called "Don't waste your time on inspiration." You can follow both of them on social media or read their books. You can also follow me on social media, but I'd encourage you over the next week to pay attention to the blogs I post and how I share REAL life with my Healthy Voice. Tomorrow I'll talk about what those will be and the reason for my commitment to sharing them. Oh, and I'd check out that Pinterestfails page. Hilarious.