Oh friends. I had been so looking forward to writing this blog post. In fact, I had it written in my head weeks ago. I’ve been waiting and waiting to get a copy in my hands and then I was going to shout it from the rooftops.
I was going to say, “It’s me. ME! I’m in Better Homes and Gardens!! Can you believe it?!”
And then I received my copy in the mail.
I ripped open the package and quickly flipped to the ‘I Did It’ feature on the last page.
There I was. All of me. ALL of me. Head to toe.
And it took only a few seconds for me to be flooded with insecurity. I stood there at my kitchen island with my precious, excited family crowding around me to get a look at the page and all I could think was that I wanted to crawl into a hole.
My 12 year old son quickly brought some levity to the moment by pointing out that my feature was right next to a giant ad for dog food which for some reason he found hilarious. Boys.
I closed the magazine and resumed making dinner but all the while the thoughts were creeping in….whispering…taunting.
“Why did you wear THAT outfit?”
“Why do your folded arms look so awkward?”
“Why did you go with the shirt that kind of bunches up in the middle?”
“Why couldn’t they have airbrushed your face more?”
“Who are you to think that you even belong in this magazine in the first place?”
Here I was, having this amazing experience, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and rather than being able to just enjoy the moment, I was tearing myself apart.
The next morning, things began to explode on Facebook. I was being tagged left and right by fantastic, supportive friends and family who were all so thrilled for me and wanted to celebrate this achievement.
But every time the photo of me in the magazine was shared I cringed.
Later that day as I was driving to pick up my son from school, I found that my inner turmoil had reached it’s peak. As I wound my way along the country road, I felt the desire for quiet, for peace, become overwhelming. I turned off the radio, let my shoulders relax a bit and looked around at the beauty of that crisp, winter day.
And all I could think was, why do we do it to ourselves? Why when there is so much positive do we focus on the negative?
Why was I allowing my insecurities to overshadow what should be a wonderful moment in my life?
I pulled into the parking lot and for once was thankful that my usual parking-lot buddies (the other middle school moms who I sit and gab with while we wait for our kids) weren’t there. Because I knew what I needed to do.
I sat there in the quietness of my car and prayed. You see, when I first found out that I was going to be in Better Homes and Gardens, I immediately whispered the same words I always whisper when an opportunity presents itself.
“For YOUR glory, Lord, not mine.”
But here I was, making things all about me. All about what I perceived to be my flaws. And I was allowing all of the negative thoughts to steal away the joy of the moment. The joy that I believed God allowed to come into my life as part of His greater purpose.
And I realized how much I struggle with simply being in the moment. With just receiving. With allowing myself to actually celebrate an accomplishment.
I realized that it was easier to pick myself apart than to deal with the REAL reason I was struggling.
When it comes down to it, I feel so incredibly undeserving of anything that it’s much easier to pick it all apart than to give it any sort of merit.
As I sat there in my car praying, I could feel God telling me words of truth. Words that started as a whisper and were in a stiff competition with all of the whispers of insecurities, but words that grew louder and louder.
He told me that no, I didn’t deserve ANY of it. It wasn’t ever about being deserving. The opportunities that I’m getting have nothing to do with my value, my worth, my deservedness.
He told me that by focusing on the negative, I was actually being selfish. I was taking back the moment I had originally given to Him.
And He told me that it was ok to look at the page in the magazine and smile. To allow myself to be celebrated by family and friends. To just enjoy the moment for what it is.
A really neat thing that happened in my life.
But a neat thing that doesn’t define me or define my life. And suddenly, as I put it all back into the proper perspective, I felt the peace washing over me.
And with it came the reminder that perhaps I had neglected to do something when I held that magazine in my hands for the first time.
I had forgotten to thank Him. To remember that I want my legacy to be that I was a woman who was gracious in accepting praise but ALWAYS pointed to Him.
I could have just done what I had originally planned to do here. A quick, “Here I am in Better Homes and Gardens! Yay!” kind of blog post.
But (and I might be way off here but I don’t think I am), I suspect that that’s not why you come to the picket fence.
I think that you come because in the midst of the home decor and crafts and recipes, you will hear from our hearts. Maybe even find a nugget or two that you find resonates with your own heart.
Our desire has never been for any of it to be about us. It’s always been for this to be a community where we can support and encourage each other in the journey. So we’ve tried to keep it real. Sometimes brutally, painfully real. We’ve talked about weight loss and infertility and other struggles.
As we head into a new year, our promise is that this will continue to be a safe place. A place where we share our lives; our real, messy, beautiful lives. And a place where you can share yours too.
Because you are always welcome, just as you are, right here At the Picket Fence!