Hi. My name is Ashley, and I have always struggled with math.
YOU MAY BE wondering why I am starting this blog post out like a weekly meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. It may seem strange, but I believe sometimes as Christians we need to have honesty hour and talk about our faults with fellow believers. Not so that we make ourselves look terrible, but to be real and help others to understand that they are not alone in their struggles.
One of the biggest problems in our world today is that we are all covered in a mask of perfection. People use so many means of covering up anything about themselves they dislike. Social media comes with a thousand filters to make your life look so much better than it is. The harsh reality is, as girls, we are no longer real people. We have only become the mannequins of our former selves, mannequins that seem to be perfect.
Ladies, I have a huge news flash for you. NO ONE is perfect. Every grandmother, amazing teenager, “totally-goals” young adult that seem to be problem-free are struggling in their own way. They may not like the way their teeth come together in the front, or the way they look in scarves, or maybe they are super self-conscious about their height. Although this is the truth, ,many of us still log onto social media and sigh while scrolling down to see another “perfect” life.
Before I go into how to be more real with those around us, I want to give a little warning. We need to make sure we are careful not to go to the other extreme, being TOO real. Some of our struggles are our own and they don’t need to be plastered on the front page of the New York Times, if you know what I mean. However we can be real about our struggles without taking it overboard.
You must accept that you are beautifully made and wonderfully odd, because you are made in the image of your Savior. I am working on this right along with you.
One of the age old beliefs of people that are acting like they are very put together is that they are not affecting anyone else. If you are faking “perfection” in front of those around you, you are placing an enormous amount of pressure on them to measure up. The honest truth about perfection is that we as humans cannot attain it. Our Lord and Savior is the only one who is perfect, only in Him can we find imperfect perfection.
So now that we have established that no one is ever going to reach ultimate perfection, how can we be real and accept our perfect imperfectness? I think the first way is by being open about the things we struggle with and then taking advice from those around us. If you are having a super hard time in your life and someone asks if they can help you pray for that situation, be open and honest, and accept their help. We as young ladies need to come to the realization that the women in our lives have so much wisdom to share with us. They have already walked through this stage in their lives, and they can help us so much if we are respectful enough to listen.
There has been countless times when an older, wiser woman has given me the exact advice I needed without them even knowing it. But, I had to be listening to them to gain that wisdom. So the first tip is to be open about your struggles and openly accept wisdom from the experienced in your life.
The second tip I have is accepting who you are. This area is a constant battle for me. This is me being real, and I am going to be honest. I personally struggle with accepting the person that I am. I have always hidden behind my own mask of confidence with everyone in my life. Yet, deep down in my heart, I have hidden all my insecurities. This is not healthy, let me tell you. It has caused a lot of problems in my life. You must accept that you are beautifully made and wonderfully odd, because you are made in the image of your Savior. I am working on this right along with you. Once you are honest and open with yourself, it will help you to be more real with others.
My third and final tip is realizing that God desires us to be real. God created us in His image, and He did not create us to be anyone else. When we are putting ourselves down, we are slapping God in the face by saying His creation wasn’t good enough. You are ENOUGH. Don’t let anyone’s seemingly perfect life let you forget that.
So let’s review the three tips to being real. First, be open about your struggles and be willing to take advice. Second, accept that you are perfectly imperfect just the way you are. And, lastly, realize that God created us in His image and He wants us to live real lives. So I want to encourage you to take off your mask today. I am almost certain you are going to be more confident once you do. You may also realize how many others are struggling right along with you.
Be real, ladies. You won’t regret it.