I was a master of disguise that knew how to hide every ounce of pain, confusion, and exhaustion that plagued me. Although I had landed my dream job and was surrounded by people that I loved, my soul constantly ran on empty. The expectations required of me were unreasonable and caused me to neglect my marriage, family, and personal care. The body can only handle so much before it begins to rebel against even the best of intentions. Unbeknownst to many, I battled anxiety, depression, chronic pain, brain fog, and fear….. Yet, I managed to stand behind a pulpit once a week and speak of a hope that I, myself, was having difficulty grasping.
The day came when I was no longer willing to hide behind a smile and I chose to walk away. My personal exodus led me to a literal desert where I had to learn to reclaim the life that I was created to have. I wish that I could tell you that it was a glorious ride. Unfortunately, it was filled with an abundance of shame, trial-and-errors, my blatant rebellion, marital separation, and finally a completely-undeserved-resurrection.
10 years later, I am now standing on my own two feet. I have exchanged shame for grace, anxiety for confidence, unrealistic expectations for authentic friendships, and emptiness for a God who loves every part of me (even the parts that I don’t like about me). I no longer allow the unrealistic expectations of others, or myself, to govern me.
Have you been hiding behind a fake smile? Do you feel trapped by the unrealistic expectations of others? If so, there is hope for you. Don’t settle. Go out and be all that God created you to be.