exposing my ugly.

September 6, 2012

I really don't want to publish this post.
Nobody wants to spill their ugly all over the internet for the world to see.
But if I keep it locked inside I'm choosing pride over humility
and keeping others from learning from my mistakes.
And why else are we here if not to share our struggles
and point one another to the Light?
I like what Jami calls it... This is a "dark corner" of my heart.

I read a blog post recently that linked to a sermon about comparison.
I instantly thought to myself, oh, well that's something I've got a handle on.
Bloggers write about it all the time.
I know we shouldn't compare houses, lives, children, gifts.
I still struggle sometimes but it doesn't really affect me too much.
I know I have blessings to be thankful for, yada yada yada.
Then I read a little further...
And before I even listened to the sermon,
God slammed me in the chest and said, "BOOM. This is you. Take care of it."
So I'm trying to obey.

First and foremost, I love my sister.  A lot.
Seriously. Don't mess with this big sister.
I realized the depth and intensity of my love for her a few weeks ago
when I was ready to rip an interested young man apart, limb from limb.
He may have had respectable intentions, he may not have.
You don't want to see me go all Cullen, mkay.
(She'll appreciate that reference.)
And I don't just love the girl, I adore her.
We are friends as well as sisters.

So. Me and Cassie.
There are 11 years between us.
I was 11 when she was born and watched that sweet baby girl come into the world.
I was a really weird, mature, old soul kind of kid.
I loved learning about pregnancy and fetal development and loved being in the room for her delivery.
Crazy, I know.
I was the first to see that Cassie was in fact a girl
and I was the first to look down into her sweet, beautiful face
(a face that looked an awful lot like my own baby girl).
And the realization that I finally had a sister hit me.
This is the kind of love and relationship we have.

But as my sister grew into a teenager and then young adult
I started to compare her life with my own.
What she got and what I got.
Who she was and who I was.
Her life seemed perfect while mine seemed severely flawed.

And please. Do NOT get me wrong.
I had a wonderful childhood - not perfect by any means - but I would even go as far to say privileged.
But I couldn't help but compare my life with my sister's.

Cassie turned into a beautiful young woman
and completely skipped the horrible awkward phase that us mortals have to endure.
I had an extremely long awkward phase that lasted from 6th grade to my junior year of college.
You think I'm kidding.
I still struggle with what my husband lovingly refers to as "ugly duckling syndrome".
I don't think I'm an ugly duckling anymore. But in my heart, I'm afraid, I always will be.
Cassie was popular, a great student and a good athlete.
I got lost in the crowd, had to work hard for my good grades, and did not, ahem, excel in sports.
Cassie has boys truly knocking the door down.
I.......did not.
Cassie went to a very expensive private Christian school.
I was a face among thousands at a public 6A school.
Cassie got a BMW when she turned 16.
I got a Chevy Lumina.
I remember thinking, my dad wants me to look like a nerd!
(How snotty, selfish and shallow do I sound!?)
Cassie's birth parents are not divorced.
Cassie didn't have to choose between the two at ball games.
Cassie never had to feel betrayed, confused, burdened as a child.
Cassie will most likely marry Prince Charming
have a perfect marriage, a perfect life, never have financial struggles etc.
(I've seriously thought these things.)
While Jeff and I have endured some hard, hard times
both financially and in our marriage.

Why God?
Why did you give me so much to endure and bear as a child, teenager
and now wife and mother?
Why was I given such a heavy load...and Cassie was not?
Do you love her more?
Do you see me?

These questions started to eat me from the inside out.
They started to make their way to the surface.
Make their way into conversations, into snide comments to my parents,
but more importantly, into my heart and relationship with my heavenly Father.

And I realized it was the enemy speaking lies.
Controlling me with those lies.
Making me believe them.

You'll never be as good as her. 
Your parents favor her beauty and talent.
God loves her more.
Look how he left you to suffer, hurt, and struggle.
Look how he lifts her up
and hands her every desire of her heart on a silver platter.
Look how you've had to claw and scrape for any good thing you've ever had.

Lies.

I know the Truth.
And I'm appalled at myself for believing anything else.

But it's kind of easy isn't it?
It's kind of easy to believe all the bad things about yourself.
It's much harder to believe the good.

That Christ loved you so much that He died for you.
That God is there for you, no matter the trials and tribulations that come your way.
That you're beautiful.
And special.
And important.

And you know what's crazy?
I don't even struggle with the examples this speaker listed!
And I still find things to compare and complain about!
How screwed up is that?!

I was looking to my left and to my right and not at Christ.
Like Peter, I was worried about what John (Cassie) was going to have to endure.
Just to make sure it was "even", ya know?
And Peter loved John.
Probably as much as I love Cassie.
He wasn't wishing for bad things for John.
He just didn't want to be the only one having to endure them.
And Jesus said, it is not your concern! Look at ME. Follow ME.
{John 21:15-22}

I have battled this...well, lets call it what it is - JEALOUSY - for a long time now.
Years, in fact.
So, I realize its something I'm going to have to work at.
It's not going to get better overnight.
And it's not going to be better because I wrote this blog post.
It's going to take constant conditioning of my heart
because I will be bombarded daily with how our lives have been so different.

Let's face it.
This is not about Cassie and her "charmed" life.
Not one bit.
Its about the ugliness in my heart.
Ugliness that must be dug out and replaced with good stuff.
So that I can spend my time and energy doing what I'm supposed to be doing.
Furthering God's Kingdom.
Not worrying about Cassie, or John, or anyone else that seems like they have it better than I do.

Our Pastor said one time in a message that it doesn't say anywhere that God is fair.
Our God is just not "fair".
And that is enough. MORE than enough.
When I'm feeling low, invisible, or watching others be blessed over and over again
while I seem to be spinning my wheels,
and I'm grasping for some kind of hope or encouragement
I'll often hear God say, "I see you. Keep going."

I started this post some weeks ago
and already feel so much better just writing it out. Like a burden has been lifted.
My sin is just as ugly when put into words, but its not nearly as scary.
When Light is shined into the darkness (especially those dark crevices and corners of the heart),
healing can begin.

3 comments:

allyson cheney said...

love you and your honesty so much, sweet friend. xoxo

Allyson

The Thibault Fam said...

Just remember that somewhere, someone out there is thinking the same thing about YOU. From the outside looking in, it's pretty easy to think other people have it all together, but she has insecurities about things you'd never imagine just as you do :) (and I do, and every other woman in the world...)

Banana Belly said...

i listened to the same sermon weeks ago and it struck a cord with me as well. we are currently going through john in our bible study and i cannot wait to dive into discussion about this as well.
everything (at least i think) has this in their heart. the most amazing thing is understanding and working on it - before it clouds us and hardens our heart to those that we love.
it brings me back to the prayer of st. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

Thank you for your blog - while I never comment I am an avid reader and so in awe of your beauty, your faith, your grace and your passion - for all things.

Thank you!

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