Hi friends and those reading this blog! My hope anytime I write is that I might share a little vulnerability and truth. I hope you stick with me and God uses these words to speak to your heart today. So here I go…
The other day I was speaking to a good friend who had seen a post of mine on social media that some of you may have seen as well. My post was a combination of pictures that had been taken since January including some moments during a staff retreat, valentines day celebrations, and a hike I had just recently gone on with some of my friends here in Honduras. It was pretty cute if I’d say so myself.
My friend and I continued our conversation, and she mentioned my post and the pictures she had seen from our hike saying, “Oh my goodness Taylor, those pictures are so cute… it looks like you guys had so much fun…” and even before she could finish her second sentence I laughed stopping her to explain the moments that were not pictured. “It was not as cute as it seems,” I said. This hike was one of the hardest things I have done, not just physically but mentally and emotionally. However, those hard and difficult moments are not exactly the pictures I shared on social media.
The more I think about this conversation with my friend and her perspective of the hike, I wonder how many times in our life we appear to be “living the best life” whether it be on social media or through interacting with those around us. It is easy to put a mask on, and I’m not talking about a covid mask. At times I find myself living this way, and it’s not intentional. The majority of the time my desire is to be transparent with those around me and share in the hard things going on because honestly that’s what I hope for in return, but just like you my flesh wants people to think I have it all together.
A lot of times we can even do this with God. We want to seem to have it all together even when approaching Him. We place human characteristics and qualities on Him thinking that we should also hide from Him and cover up our messes. (I hate to say it, but we’re just like Adam and Eve). Christ knows where I am. He knows the parts of me that many people don’t see and aren’t pictured. (Having a husband who sees lots of those ugly parts of me day to day is still wild to me– but that is another story). God sees the parts of my life that are not cute. He sees the days when I get home and don’t want to talk to anyone. He sees the days when I lay down in bed with tears streaming down my face because it was a hard day at work. He knows the thoughts I have and I don’t have to cover up that mess or make it seem like I’m okay. He knows and is okay with it. But am I?
Jesus is pretty clear in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) when he says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” I think this is a theme running through our ministry seeing that Kylie also quoted this piece of scripture in her blog a few weeks ago. But, there is so much to gain from this passage that Jesus teaches. My prayer for you and for me is that we can come to the Father unashamed of trying to seem okay. But not only that, feel freedom in showing others our true self and the reality of how we are.
We live in a time where many things are romanticized. Social media especially romanticizes life in ways that make other people think you have the perfect life. Envy is another topic for another day, but people probably see your life or mine right now and wish they were us. It’s the “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality. But no matter how hard we might try, Christ is the key to finding freedom and the life we truly desire. We can be freed from the burden to live life perfectly or appear to have it all together. You’re not alone in this, and I have to remind myself that I’m not either.
On Saturday, February 18th at 9:00 am Paul and I started a two day hike, hiking the tallest mountain in Honduras with ten other people. At 4:00 pm, after 7 hours of hiking, we arrived at our camping spot, had coffee, cooked dinner over the fire, and got ready for bed, which at the moment was pretty fun. Those are some of the cute pictures you probably saw. But what I didn’t know was that Paul got injured within 45 minutes of our hike and was still feeling really bad, and to be honest my ankle was hurting pretty bad because back in December I rolled it and it hadn’t recovered 100%. “We’ll just push through it,” we said. That was probably the first wrong decision we made when we started our hike that morning.
The next morning we left our camp at 7:00 am because it rained all night and would have been dangerous to hike any earlier. The original plan was to hike to the top and watch the sunrise but again, it was too dangerous and wet. Before we started our day two of the hike, we were told it would be around 2 hours to the top plus an additional 4 hours back down, or if we chose to start the hike back down it would be around 4 hours. So Paul and I decided because of injuries we would be splitting from the group and begin our hike down instead of hiking to the very top.
As we started down, we noticed the terrain was very slick, muddy, and mostly downhill. I also forgot to mention it was raining off and on. Paul and I hiked for about 3 hours and were hopeful to soon be done only to find that our guide told us incorrectly and we had an additional 6 hours of hiking. We didn’t plan to pack lunch and extra water for this day so we were exhausted and running out of energy. After slipping in mud, being soaking wet, hungry, having a few buckled knees, rolled ankles, and hurt hips, I was angry. I was angry at our guide, the rain, the mud, slipping, and possibly dying. (Yes, I’m a little dramatic). It was a nasty moment of acting out in the flesh. I heard from others that it was a hard hike, but I was not expecting it to be like this. After 8 hours of hiking we finally made it down to the bottom with tears of joy in our eyes.
This isn’t necessarily the picture I painted in my post. I wanted it to seem like it was the best day of our lives, but to Paul and me it wasn’t. We probably won’t hike Celaque again. We did it, but probably won’t do it again. God was our strength through our literal weaknesses and helped us in the moments when we didn’t want to take another step.
Our hiking story might be a silly example of what it’s like to want to appear a certain way before your peers, but I hope you get my point. I don’t want to hide and seem to have it all together when I really don’t. Here’s to vulnerability and allowing Christ to use my weaknesses for His glory.
When you feel the need to appear a certain way, whether that be on social media or in your relationships, humble yourself and share the rawness and truth of what’s really going on. I will do this as well. The next time someone asks, “how are you doing? ” answer honestly. And lastly, be real with the Creator of the universe because He really does see you.
I have hiked that mountain, and I too, will likely never do it again! I am grateful for your vulnerability, and pray that you will continue to push through risk of hurt and uncomfort in order to maintain open and honest relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Here’s to walking alongside you despite each other’s ugly sides.