Monday, June 2, 2014

Living Without Blinds

Moving across states, family being separated, and attempting to no longer live out of boxes as soon as realistically possible can stir up some dust. After saying goodbye to my family who opened up their hearts and home to us for five months and unloading the storage units, I sat on a plastic bin covered in hot pink duct tape labeled "girls room".  We had arrived to the long awaited move in. I looked around, a bed with no blankets, a table with no chairs, toys and books dumped over from the green duct-taped bins. Nothing in it's proper place. Who am I kidding? Even with my perfectly color coded organization and key, nothing even had a "proper place" decided on yet. 

Basically chaos. 

People were asking me left and right (with all good intentions), "Are you so happy to be home?"


Not able to take a shower because we couldn't find soap or a shower curtain for that matter. Whiny kids asking to eat but oh, yeah, grocery shopping? That had not even entered the equation yet. Luckily I did do a quick run for toilette paper and paper plates. Whew. That was a life saver.

And as I scanned over the room, seeing a complete disaster and kids running wild, I looked out my uncovered windows and saw a couple of neighbors looking right in. Our eyes caught each other and they quickly turned away. 

Great, no blinds either.

With Josh working spring hours, early mornings and late nights did not afford us much time to just go at it and get the house in order. So, we pecked at it one box at a time, one corner at a time. 

And the windows stayed bare. And the neighbors continued to watch. Don't judge. You would probably take a peek here and there too. It's like a train wreck. You know you shouldn't look but...

And as I lived out my crazy-family-chaotic-mess in front of others, I found myself letting down. There was something relaxing and unobtrusive about the raw and real.

It has caused me to think of how little we allow ourselves to be exposed before the discomfort and awkwardness sets in. Having window coverings in your home keep the world at bay. Something so simple but when they are absent you really notice pressure. 

Pressure to be pinteresting. (Yeah, I just coined that phrase. Okay, maybe others have used it to, I don't know so I'm taking credit here)

Pressure to have "it" together.

Pressure to look good all the time.

And then this resounding WHY pops up and whispers, "Do you really think others have 'it' together all the time? Or are they only showing you themselves when they do?"

With a fast moving culture and a lot of plates to keep spinning, we are bound to not only drop a few but to shatter them to a million pieces in the process. And I would like to go on record saying, I do not want to hide those shattered plates anymore.

Imagine with me...

You lose your job. Your bills are going unpaid. You have to remain minimally phased, unscathed by the burn marks of fear and uncertainty.

Your child is wayward. Unresponsive to any attempt on your behalf to guide or instruct. You fear the consequences to their choices could be life threatening and you have to keep a smile and chock it up to "the teen years".

Your overwhelmed and are doing all you can just to maintain. You aren't able to move forward in any regard because the demands of your daily life are all you can handle. Make some jokes and tuck away the stress.

It is almost laughable how we demand a family portrait front when behind the scenes things are broken down and need attention. I am beginning to ask, "what would happen if we broke in front of others? What would their response be?"

With Pinterest ideas demonstrating the perfect decor and look, and social media profile pics showing us at our most pleasant, there is little room to pull back the curtain and show the mess in our own lives.

I do not know what the next chapter holds. We actually still have no blinds. But as I sit in front of my bare window and those passing by take notice of our moments of continued chaos, I have decided to allow others to bare their mess. It is not only okay to be broken, it is who we are. Everyone of us bears broken pieces and to require others to keep those pieces hidden prevents any of us from knowing one another truly. 

See? It can't always be sunshine and roses.


As an individual, there is a depth to you that no one knows fully. You have an available strength and a gifting that no one else holds. God placed it there. And if we allow ourselves the honesty to be broken, we can shine so bright that others are stronger just by being around us. In our mess is where God's strength is most available.

So next time you feel that tug of insecurity that you should close up, hide behind your "blinds", make a conscious decision to step out into the openness. Be raw. Be real. Ask God to take your hand and lead the way. And allow others that same vulnerability. Let's be amazed how deep our relationships can go when we are free to be the mess we are.

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