Have you ever sat around a table with you all eyes on you? What about a situation where all eyes are on you and you have nothing to say? That’s what happened last Thursday at my “Friendsgiving.” If you have no clue what that is, let me explain.
Ready? It’s a Thanksgiving celebration with friends. Genius right?!
I love this holiday. It has my favorites things. Food, family, and food. Our family tradition involves each person sharing one thing from past year they are extremely grateful for. Friendsgiving did not disappoint.
My sister in law made guilt-free eggs cups with a side of yogurt and berries. The table was set beautifully with turkey shaped candles! We did what we’re best at…WE TALKED. My sil(sis in law) started with a bible verse and then posed questions for the group.
The questions prompted some silly responses. “Chocolate and peanut butter. Yup! Those are foods I am thankful for.” Here are a few in case you want to pick up our tradition and spark some convo around your table this week:
- What are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?
- What challenging experience has ended up changing your life for the better?
- What place do you feel most grateful for? Why?
- What act of kindness has made the greatest difference in your life?
- What, from this year, do you feel most grateful for?
AND THEN….the question that stumped me and caused me to sit quiet at the table.
Is there a personal limitation or flaw that you’ve come to appreciate?
Woah, hold up! Are you really asking that? Pull out the therapy couch and start the timer. “I am not sure you want to open that can today Jen.”
You might have read that question and immediately had a response. If you are like me, personal limitations can be painfully obvious. But if I answered out loud I was admitting to something everyone else already saw in me and would probably confirm. That would have been hard. I know these things about myself but it will hurt if they know them too. I actually thought of several limitations, but I wasn’t sure I had accepted them yet. I sat silent, and took a pass.
I left Friendsgiving needing to reflect. I turned the radio off as I drove home and thought, “Why do I have such a hard time accepting my flaws?”
My mind immediately went back to my childhood. HEAR ME: I had a beautiful life. My parents both loved God and loved me and my sister unconditionally. Life was good. But I’ve learned that every childhood comes with some sort of adult baggage.
We had more good days than bad. But the bad days involved a lot of screaming. That screaming affected me more than I realized. I am not a yeller. I do not like disorder or chaos. When the screaming between my sister and mom began, I retreated to my bedroom to hide. I cleaned and organized my room. I stared into my fish tank. I did whatever I could do to escape the craziness on the other side of the door. I couldn’t fix it, so I mentally and physically hid from it. When our family was attempting to work through it, I refused to share my feelings. I chose to ignore those moments hoping that meant they never happened.
Some of those screaming matches would occur on the way to church. It was amazing how inside the 4 doors of our Ford Taurus it was a war zone and yet the minute we stepped out and walked into church our faces were all smiles. An outsider would look at our family and wish for what they thought we were. I knew the secret. We were not perfect.
I learned something at a young age I carried with me into adulthood. It’s okay to be imperfect. Just don’t let anyone know. What they don’t know, wont hurt. Our family actually worked out those issues together. Years of counseling did help. But I clung to the need to hide my problems. I remember leaving a local therapist at 9 years old and hiding under my sweatshirt so no one would recognize me. I was ashamed of my family’s dysfunction. If no one knew, it never existed. DING FREAKING DING.
That 20 minute drive from my SIL’s house allowed for this aha moment and I was finally able to answer the question I passed on earlier. My flaw? I’m a hider. I run from conflict and I have a really hard time embracing my imperfections. BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL.
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new- 2 Corinthians 5:17
I have hope because I can grow from my sin, accept my flaws and become a new, better, version of me. Did he say perfect? No! I can release the expectation of perfection and walk with imperfect confidence. How have I learned to accept this flaw?
I decided a few years ago that I would live my life out loud and on line. I’m learning the “social media me,” is a few steps ahead of the “face to face me.” I have the opposite problem that most folks complain of when they talk about social media posting. I share the good, the bad, and a lot of what I find is ugly in me. I’m all about sharing and showing my imperfections ( I do believe in great filters and apps that help smooth some of my pimples and wrinkles.-hey, I am a work in progress). But as I learned at Friendsgiving, my face-to-face me isn’t willing to share it all with those closest to me.
So it’s time for me to catch up with me. Running and hiding from the things that are imperfect can no longer be a part of my character.
What about you? Are you aware of your flaws and limitations? I think you are. Are you hiding like I have been? DON’T. It holds you back from becoming the perfectly imperfect you. We are unique and beautiful, flaws and all.