Early in our time overseas, I thought I had it all together. I was balancing raising two preschoolers, learning a second language, living overseas, and having a personal ministry, with joy. I thought I was Super Mom. Then God, in His mercy, led me away from that illusion.
In the fall of 2004, we moved to Singapore. Both our kids stopped napping at the same time. I no longer had household help. The first time my husband traveled that fall, he returned to a house that looked like a tornado hit it.
“What did you do while I was gone?” he asked me.
“How about we decide right now that’s a question you don’t get to ask me,” I responded (not one of our finest marriage interactions).
I realized I wasn’t Super Mom before; I was just an over-functioning, exhausted mom (with a maid). Then I started homeschooling (Jesus, take the wheel). Soon after that, I got so sick from allergies, some days I could barely survive. I couldn’t keep it together any more. Gina came undone.
What a blessing.
God led me to feel my desperate need for Him. I was confronted daily by my own inadequacy, lostness, pride, and self-sufficiency (God is so not impressed with that quality, unfortunately).
It was one of the hardest and most frustrating seasons of my life. Many times I sided with Rich Mullins when he sang, “I can’t see where you’re leading me, unless you’ve led me here, to where I’m lost enough to let myself be led.”
The illusions of having it all together were just that-illusions.
But as my illusions fell away, to my surprise, others drew closer. They met me in my need. When I showed them my lack of togetherness, they were gracious. They gave me a new place to rest. They even (dare I hope?) seemed to love me more.
As my friend Holly Sheldon once said, “People don’t draw close to strength. They admire it, respect it, but don’t draw near to it.“Having it all together may impress, but it doesn’t invite. And we need to extend an invitation to others, an invitation in to what is true about us: we are messy, weak, needy humans. Not super human. Just human, like everyone else.
And when we extend the invitation to others to see that we are, in fact, undone, we give others the freedom to be undone as well. We can all step out from behind the curtain and own what is true. Together sigh a breath of relief that we can set the illusions aside.
Letting go of our illusion invites God in too. There, He can sort out our messy places. Be strength in our weakness. Fill our needs. Help us be human.
None of us really has it together. Oh, we can try to keep up that illusion. But why? There is freedom, love, and rest on the other side. Let yourself come undone.