Guest Post by Julie's Lighter Side Columnist

Recently, a friend told me that she wished she “had it all together” like me. Then I died laughing. No really, it was probably the best compliment I’d gotten in a while, except that time my 5-year-old told me that I only had the second stinkiest feet in the family. As a modern mom, isn’t “having it all together” (or at least the appearance that we do) what we’re striving for—the ultimate goal of millennial motherhood?

Let me assure you that I absolutely do not have it together. My family’s collection of Happy Meal toys alone is proof of that. I try to be very transparent and open about my shortcomings. I don’t want anyone to feel bad if they compare themselves to me. If you must compare yourself to me, please ask and I can tell you lots of things that will make you feel like a fine, upstanding human being.

When we see someone who appears to have it all together, we envy her. We want to know how she does it, we want to be her friend, we want to be her. Of course we can consult our reasonable minds for a moment and realize that no one has it together— we just see what they show us for a short period of time. I think my friend caught me on my one good day in a decade when she made that assessment of me.

The girl at the gym who can do squat thrusts and look cute, instead of obscene. The mom at Starbucks with the perfect messy bun and the Pinterest-worthy outfit. The woman at Kroger with no GMOs, processed foods or artificially colored snacks in her buggy. The mom at the park who corrects her children calmly and kindly, never raising her voice.

This is what we are comparing ourselves to! But do you know what that is? A snapshot. One tiny bit of an otherwise hectic life. Instagram-worthy moments that make us feel less-than. How bizarre that such a short, incomplete glimpse into someone else’s life can make us feel so inadequate and defeated.

I think about this a lot, and as a Type-A list maker, I tend to make mental lists of what I’ve got under control and what I need to improve on. Sometimes I think that once I move everything over to the “Under Control” side, I’ll truly be a got-it-all-together person.

When I start trying to check off that list, that’s when God does His best work in me. Inevitably, I fail. Then I try harder, and fail harder. Because the more value I put on my own ability to take care of everything or be everything to everybody, the more He reveals my need for His strength.

James 3:16-18 says For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. (NLT)

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want that perfect messy bun, but it is certainly jealousy that makes me compare my life to another’s, and selfish ambition to think that I could or should project the image of having it together. I don’t have to make perfectly balanced and healthy meals every night— God tells me to be gentle and peaceful. I don’t have to hand crochet matching turtlenecks for our family photos, I need to be merciful and sincere.

God shows me that my desire to check off the boxes that the world values is limiting me to a shallow version of what He wants for me. I don’t need to hide my shortcomings, He can use my weaknesses to show His strength.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)

Calamities, ya’ll. That is my life, Every. Day. It’s like Paul was writing just for me!

God made me the kind of woman who gets frustrated trying to buckle the infant seat in the van properly. He gave me the face that shows every irritation when my kids are wild. He gave me those 3 little circus monkeys who have terribly embarrassing table manners. And He made me love gluten, soy, dairy, GMOs, MSG and red 40.

He did that so that you could look at me and think “Bless her heart, she’s a mess, but she sure does love Jesus.” And that beats having it all together any day.

Julie Holt is a wife, mother of three, hair stylist, runner, reader, writer, and is tired. Very tired. She works in Brentwood, lives in Spring Hill and can be reached at You can follow Julie on Twitter at jh_lighter_side.

Dear Friends, 
I hope you got as much from Julie's words as I did. I will be inviting other guests to join us from time to time.  See you next week when I am back from vacation!

1 comment:

  1. "God shows me that my desire to check off the boxes that the world values is limiting me to a shallow version of what He wants for me." LOVE THIS!


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