Vulnerability. Such a popular word these days, isn’t it? Millions of people have read Brené Brown’s books on being vulnerable, living authentically and “showing up and being seen.” (And I’m one of them!) Podcaster and absolute social media BOSS Jordan Lee Dooley watched her business take off when she coined the phrase “your brokenness is welcome here” and printed it on t-shirts and mugs and sweatshirts and hats and… well, basically anything you can think of. And I love it. I love it all. I love that these days, it’s more acceptable to be truly authentic and open about where our hearts and our lives are at any given moment. No need to hide our messy lives and needy hearts under a mask of perfection. Because nobody—not even one person—is perfect. We can finally be real - with ourselves and with each other.
So if all of this is true, then why is it so easy to still somehow fall into the lie that we have to have it all together 24/7? No screw ups, no big unanswered life questions hanging over our heads, no oh-my-gosh-I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing moments allowed? Some of us (myself included!) still live life believing that we have to have everything figured out—the big life decision all the way down to the smaller day-to-day details. And if not, we’ve failed. If not, we’re somehow not good enough. If not, there’s something wrong and we have to fix it ASAP. We must have everything under control... or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
Looking back, when I was little, I thought I’d have life figured out when I was a teenager (well that couldn’t be further from the truth, am I right?). Then when I was in high school, I thought, “I’ll definitely have it all together by the time I graduate college.” I seriously wish I could laugh and say to my 16-year-old self, “Hate to break it to ya Dana, but by the time college graduation comes around, you actually won’t have a single clue what you’re doing with your life. Not. A. Clue.”
Well now, I’m a full-fledged adult. Can you believe it? And I’m grateful to report that when I hit my twenty-second birthday a few years ago, all of the sudden all my problems went away, things I’d been struggling with for ages were no longer difficult whatsoever, all of my self-consciousness disappeared, and I now know every single step I’m supposed to take in my career, my relationships, and in my faith, and I never misstep... like ever. Let me tell you, it is THE best.
Alright guys— if you actually believed that, even just for a second, I’ve got to say I’m almost a little flattered. Now let me give you the reality straight up:
I’m a twenty-something girl and not only do I still deal with some of the same worries, problems, and questions I had years ago, but each year and each new season of my life ushers in a whole new host of them. No struggles? Yeah right. Let me tell you, even as I’m writing this right now... the struggle is real. Like REAL real. Just like anyone else, I still have my moments of not feeling good enough, or smart enough or talented enough... and I have to reassure myself by repeating the exact same encouraging truths I tell everyone else to my own heart time and time again. And my emotions. Man, emotions can be a rollercoaster. One day I might feel fine, like everything in my life is close to perfect, but the next day I may feel anxious and have a minor internal freak out... or two or three... about one thing or another. And honestly, half of the time I’m thinking to myself, “What the heck am I actually supposed to be doing right now?” and I just try my best and wing it, hoping that my best is good enough. And don’t get me wrong, I do feel prepared for a lot of situations, but on the flip side, I often feel completely and utterly unprepared for others. Some days I smile and say to myself, “Yes Dana, you’re really doing this. You’ve got this.” I loooove those days. Yet other days are full of moments that make me think, “You’ve got this? Ha... yeah right. FAR from it.”
I don’t know which day you’re having today... the “I’ve got this!” kind of day or the “What the heck am I doing?!” kind of day. But I want to tell you that, whatever the case may be, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel confused. It’s okay to feel like you need help. It’s okay to feel like you can’t do this alone, can’t face this problem you’re encountering alone, can’t figure out this next step, or even this next moment, alone. Because hey, guess what... you can’t. You can’t do this life alone. You weren’t made to. And you don’t need to have it all together and under control every hour of every day. You were never expected to. Somewhere along the line, you probably put that expectation on yourself. I know because somewhere along the line, I did, too.
So I know I said when I was little, I thought I’d have things figured out when I was older and wiser. But now? Now I know that the end game isn’t to have everything figured out and feel like I have it all together all the time. Because I never really will & that’s okay because this is my security and I hope it becomes yours as well: we can always lean on the One who DOES have it figured out... every moment, every situation, every problem, every puzzle piece. He fits them together with ease when we don’t even have the slightest clue how to.
Do you know what that means? It means we don’t have to tense up and hold our breath on those days that make it painfully obvious to us that our lives are a little messy and our hearts are a little needy. Instead, we can take a moment, give it all to God, and just breathe.
So take a second right now. Breathe in. Breathe out. God’s got this.