We’ve all seen them. “Them” being the amazing before-and-after photos of people who committed to a weight loss journey and shed their unwanted pounds. Sometimes we see the photos of graffiti-riddled parks that were turned into amazing places of connection for a community, or homes once run down and abandoned that were completely restored.
Being able to see the old next to the new is extremely inspiring and in those moments something goes off inside of us. Sometimes that something inside is hope and we think to ourselves, “I should give that a try,” and at other times we brush up against perfection, and with erasers in our hands we become our own critics ready to carefully edit out what I like to think are the most inspiring aspects of our lives.
I had one of these “eraser holding moments” the other day as I sat scrolling on Instagram. Having come across an amazing account that made every photography and fashion bone in my body leap, I was filled with an urge to get up and “create”. I visualized the way my account could look and what it might convey to my followers and I considered starting over from scratch. I was going to go for more of a “clean-cut”, marketable look. Literally seconds after having what I thought was a refreshing revelation a friend of mine reached out just to say, “Hey, I know what you’ve been struggling with and see you pushing past it. Keep sharing because it’s encouraging.” I’m so grateful for that text message because it helped me realize that my life wasn’t “clean-cut” and that the parts of me I wanted to edit away were needed. On my most put-together days life is still so messy and that’s what makes it beautiful and unique to my journey, so why bother trying to recreate it?
It’s great to see someone when they’ve overcome and are on the other side of a challenge but it’s also just as amazing to watch the process and stand as witness to both the before and after moments. So, with confidence, I’ll share one of mine, before: I was weighed down by comparison. I often looked at the lives of those closest to me from a place of jealousy and competition and because of that I made sure that every thing I presented was picture perfect. To be a Christian woman with baggage took me out of the race. My life had to look just as good as how I perceived theirs to be, and that was really rough emotionally and mentally. My after, is that I now live in the freedom of authenticity. While I still like friendly competition, I no longer have to hold my life up to another’s because I know that my journey is special. I know that I am not perfect, yet I am loved. I still miss the mark, yet I am whole in Christ. I don’t have answers for every desire in my heart, yet I am fulfilled. I love my before just as much as my after and I pray that as you look at your life and the story it tells you will too. I pray that you can put down your eraser and embrace everything that makes you, you.