You Are Not the Only One

I sat on the front row in the church and listened to another speaker — my friend – and thought, Why can’t I get it together like she has it together? My best effort is like pond scum compared to her worst effort!

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I had just presented a message before she did and I would present another message when she was finished. And, I didn’t want to stand on that stage and speak again; I wanted to shrink into the seat cushion because I felt totally incompetent and unnecessary at that moment. And then I felt shame for feeling that way at that moment!

But, here’s the thing. It wasn’t just at that moment I felt that way.  That moment describes lots of moments for me!

I am just totally convinced that every other woman has it together but me.  I look at their lives and think, I am the only woman who is this insecure and then I shame myself for feeling this way! I am the only one who can’t get her act together.

You know what I mean, right? In my imagination, I really think,

I’m the only mom who doesn’t read the Bible every day with her kids.

I am the only wife who fights with her husband!

I am the only Christian woman who is selfish and impatient with others.

I am the only woman who should be a better daughter and friend – who just can’t seem to call enough, write enough or be enough.

I am the only woman who is in Christ but is in crisis!

I feel like I am the only one who struggles and stresses and rethinks and regrets and self-condemns because every other woman I meet just appears to wear the right smile, say the right things, do the right things, and they seem just so dang comfortable in their own skin!

And, that should not surprise me because what I think of every other woman is what every other woman thinks of me! Right?

What I think of every other woman is what every other woman thinks of me.
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Most of the time, I come across like I’ve got it all together. There are plenty of women who see my life and think, Why can’t I get it together like she has it together? My best effort is pond scum compared to her worst effort!

Sound familiar?!?

Oh sister, I’m  tired of feeling like the only one because I am not the only one and you are not the only one either.

You are not the only one who struggles with insecurity.
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We all struggle with stuff we regret and wish were different.

We all fight insecurity. 

We are all on the journey and in process.

So, what is the solution?

Two words — imagination and isolation!

First, we need a reality check on our imagination!

We imagine that “she” has it together and we don’t. We think that “she” is smarter, more-spiritual, more put-together, a better mom and wife, a deeper Christian than we are! We can look at other women and really think that “she” doesn’t struggle or stress, or sin or scream at her kids or sulk or shame herself.

But, here is the deal:  “She” doesn’t have it all together because “she” doesn’t exist except in our imaginations!

We can look at another woman who really is lovely, smart, or put-together and idealize her. Though logically we know that what we see is not all there is, we can still create a mental image of something that doesn’t exist.

We can often imagine that all we see is all there is.

But, oh girl, how we imagine someone’s life to be and how it actually is are often very different!

We need to infuse our imaginations with reality!

If we idealize everyone’s lives, then our imagination will be a source of further condemnation and isolation—making us feel like the only ones.  Seriously, think about it?  Is it really possible that I am the only woman who forgets to read her Bible or gets annoyed with her husband?  Is it really plausible that you are the only woman who can’t seem to get her laundry done, regrets yelling at the kids, and feels uncertain or uncomfortable in her own skin?

Idealizing brings pressure, reality brings perspective.
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No! Real women live in the real world with real issues.  We sisters just need to infuse some reality into our imaginations and then it will help reduce isolation!

And, that’s the second word — isolation!

We need to reduce isolation.

We sisters need to be real with each other — honest.

When we are honest with another person, we are no longer isolated and alone.

Now, does that mean we all walk around handing out lists of what we are dealing with? Do we stop trying to put our best foot forward? Do we always answer the “how are you” question with a 45 minute speech outlining our insecurities, regrets, struggles, and fears?

No way! Really — don’t do that. We don’t need to be totally honest all the time about everything to everyone!

We sisters need to be real with each other.
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But, we do need to be honest because what we are not honest about we will never be free from.

You will always feel like the only one if you live as the only one. We all need someone we can be honest with. It may be a counselor or a trusted friend who you confide in, but, you need to practice some guarded transparency, some protective honesty, and some wise vulnerability.

What we are not honest about we will never be free from.
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And, what happens when you share that you feel like the “only one?” You will find that you aren’t the only one because the friend or counselor you share with feels like she is the “only one” too!

Right there, imagination stops, isolation ends, and intimacy begins!

The enemy of your soul who wants you to feel like pond scum can’t keep pelting you with lies if you aren’t isolated in your ideal imagination.

Be honest, my friend, because isolation leads to insecurity, but honesty leads to intimacy.

The enemy’s strategy has always been and will always be to divide and conquer.

So, be honest with yourself — even if you feel ashamed over how you feel — and be honest with another woman. Your honesty will end isolation and infuse reality into your imagination!

Isolation leads to insecurity, but honesty leads to intimacy.
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Sister, you are not the “only one” and neither am I!  But, you are the one — even if you were the only one — for whom God sent His One and Only Son so you could have life — an abundant, honest, beautiful life!

So go for it!

In the comments, let’s all make the declaration…I am not the only one!  Type that statement in the comments so the next time you start to imagine something that isn’t real or feel isolated, you will remember that you already stated the truth right here! And, sister, use all caps like you are shouting the truth! Go crazy with exclamation marks if you want to!!!!

 Tag a friend so she will know!   Emoticons are welcome… whatever it takes for you to shout out the truth!