How to Be Real

1,826 days or so ago (that’s five years in case you were wondering) I turned in my razor blades for good.

Now I recognize that many of you cannot understand why anyone would intentionally cut or harm themselves, and I’m honestly really glad you don’t get it. However, some of you probably do get it and wish that you didn’t.

Cutting was how I dealt with all the emotions and moments of life that I didn’t know how to respond to any other way. It was my coping mechanism, and I thought it was okay because I thought the only person it hurt was me. But it doesn’t matter what the addiction is – cutting, food, alcohol, porn, etc – they all come with a price and they all affect more than just the person who is stuck in the vicious cycle.

I think my greatest shame about it, though, was that I was supposed to be the good Christian girl. I knew better. People like me aren’t supposed to struggle with things like this. I felt like I’d be judged if I told anyone, and that it might kill me if I didn’t talk.

In the Christian world it seems to me that we don’t handle negative emotions, difficult life events, the things that just bite, very well. We don’t know how to talk about the uncomfortable moments, the messy discussions, and the things that surpass our ability to extend grace and forgiveness.

We are human after all. Life is rarely black and white. Free will plus millions of people on the planet leads to a lot of sticky situations. So what do we do about it?

  • Be okay with not being okay.

Maybe it sounds questionable, but honestly sometimes things are just not okay. It is a recognition in the moment of this. You shouldn’t live in this spot. Don’t set up camp and tent there, but just acknowledge honestly where you are.

This week I had some “I am simply not okay” moments. Hitting five years for some reason was a huge struggle.  I know that God has brought me too far to turn and give in, but in those moments I had to admit that I was not okay.

  • Extend grace and love to others and to yourself.

Even as Christians we don’t have it all together. We each have our struggles. None of us are perfect so why do we try so hard to act like we are?

The world is looking for us to love and accept them where they are. It doesn’t mean we approve of actions. There is certainly a time and place for rebuking and correction, but if they don’t know that you genuinely love, care and accept them then they will close their ears and hearts to your words.

Sometimes though the person we need to extend the grace and love to is our own selves. I tripped and fell a lot of times on my way to getting out of my addiction. Even in day to day life, I do stupid things alllll the time (especially living in a different culture) and always one of the hardest parts for me is forgiving myself. For some crazy reason I have this insanely high standard set for myself so I am constantly working on extending some grace to me, myself and I.

  • Be willing to share your story (more than just the happy, fun parts).

The world needs us to be real and honest, and you will be amazed at the doors God opens when you are willing to share. Recently someone said, “So Steph I want to hear your story.” My initial response was, “That is not what I expected you to say, but okay.” About a week later I was able to have coffee with this individual as she trusted me with her story, where she’s been, where she’s at, and the question marks ahead.

SO

I’m going to bed now. Tomorrow, God willing, I will wake up and begin day number 1,827.

I don’t really know what the day will hold, other than a couple of meetings if that goes as planned. I’m certain I will mess up a few things during the day. I’ll probably say the wrong thing in Russian to someone. However, whether I see it as a successful day or a “let me get back to bed” day, I’m thankful for another day and pray God uses it and me somehow.

Ninja
The real me... a ninja!

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