Every day that I do Pilates, (which is not every day) I begin with Sara Groves‘ song “Just Showed Up for My Own Life.” I love the lyrics… and if I were more talented, I would sing along. But, not so much so I just sweat through them.
Have you heard it?
Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer
There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real
And I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright
For us to “show up for our own lives,” we first have to say goodbye to the ideal lives we thought we should live.
How do we say bye bye to our ideal lives and hello to our real lives? And, how can we see our real, messy lives like Sara suggested — bright?
Yes, let’s have a party — a going away party.
Let’s say “so long” to those ideal images of ourselves who never allow us to just be the real us… who keep us from showing up for our own lives.
Who will you invite to your going away party?
Here is a sample guest list (this could be a big bash!)
1. Sally Self-Controlled
This ideal diva thinks that she should always have perfect control of what goes into her mouth and what comes out of her mouth. When she over eats, she feels guilty and hopeless. When she says things she shouldn’t or talks without thinking, she shames herself and calls herself a hypocrite. Her standard is unattainable, but for some reason, she thinks she, alone, can pull it off.
2. Wanda Witty and Wise
This girl wants to have the right thing to say in any situation. She never says the wrong thing. She can think through anything and come up with a solution. She is clever and quick, except… she isn’t any of those things! So she feels really dumb and disappointed in herself when she doesn’t live up to her name.
No matter how old she gets, Ms. Stella thinks she should and could look like she did in her twenties if she would just eat right and exercise enough. She can’t seem to remember or acknowledge that she isn’t twenty any more. She can’t seem to embrace today’s version of her. She lives in constant guilt that she is doing less than she should when it comes to her eating and exercise even though she knows better, she falls for the images she sees on Facebook and TV and thinks she really should look like those women do.
4. Bianca Balanced
This ideal image never wavers. She doesn’t have highs or lows. She doesn’t get depressed. She doesn’t have mood swings and always stays even keel emotionally. And she never feels uncertain in her faith or calling. She is visionary, organized and has a personal mission statement which keeps her in step emotionally and spiritually. But, then she weebles and wobbles and wonders why her daily life doesn’t match her mission statement. She feels defeated most days because it’s really hard to maintain balance and maybe it is overrated anyway.
5. Heather Happy
This female phenom loves life every single day. She overlooks the sad things and only feels the joy. She is Tigger all the time and Eyeore never. She sees all the happy around her and hears the promises that if she just does this or that, she will be happy, happy, happy. And she believes it—at least she tries to! She really, really wants to be this way, but then real life creeps in and blankets all that sunshine with rain clouds and the horizon gets dark and so does her mood. She thinks something is wrong with her because she did what she thought she should, she believed how she thought she should and unhappy was not supposed to be the result.
Now, these are just a few of the ideals we can invite to our going away parties, but you can include Paula Perfect if you want. Also, Maude the Magnificent Mom, Ava Attractive, Polly Proficient and Betty Bible Expert can come too if you think they belong on your guest list.
Sister, it’s time for us to show up for our own, beautiful lives!!
Determine the ideal in your life that is unattainable that you have been striving to be and invite her to your going away party. Kiss her goodbye and tell her she wasn’t all she was cracked up to be anyway!
And then, as the door swings shut behind her… lock it! Don’t invite her back into your life.
Be the you God created. Ask God, who began this good work in you, to complete it! (Philippians 1:6 ESV)
Trust that as your mind is renewed in God’s Word and ways, you won’t feel the need to conform to some elusive ideal, you will already be being transformed! (Romans 12:2 ESV)
Instead of striving to get and achieve, you will rest in the reality that God has already given you all you need for life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3 ESV)
Which one of these party guests do you most identify with? Share with us in the comments below, and then tell her goodbye!
P.S. I have a funny story to share with you… it definitely helped me let go of my “ideal me.” Click here to watch.