31 Days of Real


Day 1: A Real Invitation

The world is full of advice on how to be better and I've always had a tendency to drink it up. 

Walk through any checkout line in America and you'll see an array of glossy magazine covers touting all the ways you can be more than you currently are. 

You can be a better mom, a better homemaker, a better meal planner, a better manager of money, a better friend. You can have a better body, a better home, a better garden, and a better retirement plan. Morning news segments and afternoon talk shows deliver more of the same. 

Go to your book club, PTA meeting, homeschool conference, sister's house, Bible study or child's soccer game and you'll probably hear or overhear someone giving advice about something or exhibiting their "better-ness" in one way or another. 

Lest you think I'm cynical towards everything from book clubs to my sister, I assure you that's not the case. I love magazines, the Today Show and blogs. I'll listen with rapt attention to anyone who's an "expert" and I get the best ideas from family and girlfriends all the time. 

I'm simply stressing the point that our poor brains are inundated with advice and information and how-to's all the time. Without even realizing it, we can easily believe that we're not capable enough to function on our own as we should. 

It's hard to just be.

When I was newly married I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living. Oh how I loved all things Martha. I read article after article on exactly when to clean your baseboards and how to plan the perfect birthday party and the only way to make a flaky pie-crust.

I felt inspired to do everything just right. And then I felt guilty because I couldn't measure up to those Martha standards. I internalized magazines and expert advice and then drafted ridiculous standards for myself.

I'm embarrassed to admit that but it's true. 

What I really needed was permission to be me. I needed someone to say: You know what? The Martha Stewart in the magazine is not necessarily the real Martha. And she has an army of people to help her do all of that stuff. And she's going to jail in a few years. 

I still peruse Martha Stewart Living but now I simply enjoy the pretty pictures and appreciate the recipes, even though I never make any of them. 

In this 31-day series, I give you permission to be real. {And permission to clean your dryer vent during the wrong month. Or not at all.}

No, this isn't going to be 31 days to reckless, slothful, irresponsible hedonism. It's not 31 days to relativism or 31 days to apathy. I'm not an anarchist and I've never gone to jail. 

I just talk to so many women who are trying to live a life that's not really theirs to live, who are trying to force their square selves into round lives or vice versa. 
We'll talk about how being our real, authentic, God-created selves translates into everyday life. I'm planning to write about real motherhood, real marriage, real life at home with kids and meals and mess, real thoughts about clothes and beauty and books. 

To quote from my last post,

My hope is that this series will inspire you to embrace the life you actually have instead of the one you wish you had or the one you feel like you've settled for.  
I'm learning that beauty and acceptance and redemption can bloom full in the midst of messy and crazy and broken. 
Sometimes it's about unrealistic expectations. Sometimes it's about choosing to see things differently. Always, it's about grace and grace gives birth to freedom and joy. 

Daily I struggle to overcome conformity, expectation, doubt, and insecurity. This series is my story and my ongoing journey. I hope you'll come with me. 

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