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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Real Is Too Real?


One of the main comments I get from you guys is that you like how "real" I am. And that's great-- and a nice compliment. But lately I have been questioning how real to be on this blog especially. Because the main goal I have for this blogging thing is to be an encouragement to others. To point you guys to God and to inspire you to love your place in life-- whatever that place may be.

And yet, if I am really real, will I always do that? If I include the yucky stuff of life, will that inspire you to be the woman God is calling you to be? And yet, when I leave out the yucky stuff, am I deceiving you into thinking that you are the only one who struggles? Should I let you know that I have times when I struggle in my marriage? Should I confess that there are days that go by when I seriously think about no longer doing ministry... that I seriously doubt that I have what it takes on so many levels? Do I openly admit that I don't always like my children or want to be around them?

Because all of that is part of my life-- just not something I focus on here on the blog because I think it would depress you all! And yet, I have this suspicion that there are those of you who think that-- because I don't include it very much-- that I don't feel it. And then you think that you are the only one.

And so, I will continue to struggle with how real is too real? Because the last thing in the world I would want is to lead you down a path strewn with roses without pointing out the occasional thorn. The truth is, I struggle with lots of things. The truth is, we all do. I want to be honest about both parts of this life while staying true to my goal of being an encouragement. And yet, sometimes I think the best encouragement of all is to just know we aren't alone in our struggles. For me, I have the blogs that I read because they inspire and encourage me to do more, try harder, be better and then I have those that I read because they make me sigh with relief and laugh with delight in knowing that they have struggles just like mine. But mostly, these two are very separate-- it is rare to find the blog that does both. And yet, of course, I want to.

If you are struggling today with your calling, your marriage, your friendships or your motherhood then, friend, know you are not alone. We are in this together-- the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I may not focus on the negative very much here, that doesn't mean that I am exempt from it. It doesn't mean that I have some secret formula that results in a happy life all the time. Far from it.

And so, I ask you, how real is too real? How much do you want to know or not know? Do you need to believe that there are those of us who have "figured it out?" Or do you like it when we show our vulnerable, imperfect sides? I wish I could reach a happy medium but I can't quite get there. Just know I wrestle with it and strive to bring truth to this blog-- even when the truth doesn't always make you feel good. I am working to find the balance and that's all any of us can do.
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19 comments:

a moment of time said...

I think being real, and showing how you overcome it is fine. So many of us don't see real people. So many people put on a happy face and don't tell others what is really going on in their life. We all do go through tough times. Weather days of it, or moments. It is how we overcome those obstacles that really matter. I read your husbands blog, and enjoy his honesty......my only complaint is he doens't post much! Ü But I have directed many people to his honesty!

You are doing fine. Don't worry about it! Don't doubt. I would also like to hear more about your kids! I have five, and am hoping to adopt. I am working on starting a non-profit with my husband and mom similar to www.riobend.org They were recently guests on Focus on the Family......So I love a good story about children!

Keep it up
Shannon

Christine said...

I always like "real-ness". I've gotten that comment on my blog as well farily often and yet sometimes when a post doesn't get many comments I wonder if I've offended because I'm being too real!
I'm sure there's a balance somewhere!

I just posted at the cafe today about realness in the church. Funny you posted today what's been on my mind!

Anonymous said...

If you are not real then I don't think we all will be able to relate with you on a daily basis. We all struggle with balancing family, faith, and life in general isn't that why we need our daily friendship with Jesus? If we didn't have struggles then we wouldn't need him or each other. I have always felt that if someone has it all together or rather seems to have it all together then I want to stay away from that person so I don't feel worse about myself because I know I have struggles and many imperfections and I like to know I am not alone!
Being real, isn't that when God seems to use us the most?
I love reading your blog and never think less because of your honesty.
Sweet Blessings.

Joanie said...

YIPPEE! Thank you for the confession that there are days that you "don't really like your kids." I get so guilt ridden over those feelings. Not that we don't love our kids, but they can be tiring and trying. But then, don't ya guess that God feels the same way about us at times?

Praise His name for His continued grace, and may He supply us with His love to extend grace to our kids.

Please continue to share and to keep it real!

Kelli said...

To me... that's what girlfriends are all about... whether they are through the internet or right next door.

When we are open and honest with each other it helps others to be open and honest and not feel that they are alone in different issues.

If we feel we are alone, we will not open up cuz we think no one else feels or has ever felt that way.

I think we as women need that "realness".. so keep it up.

Even though I only have one step-daughter and it's just me and my husband most of the time, I can relate to alot of what you say on here. I love to cook/bake, plan meals, garden, and love all the ideas.

Kelli
kelli.c.turner@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your honesty and lurk around your blog because of the encouragement you provide. I think you do a great job of being open and sharing enough "real-life" stuff. I pray that God will continue to lead you...

Laurie Ann said...

Being real is something that's hard to do for the reasons you mentioned. I think sharing struggles are fine. It's up to each person how much of the gory details they want to share, but sharing them on some level does help people know how to pray for you, relate to you as a person and encourage us that we are not alone.

I'm not sure that anyone has you up on a pedestal if that's what you're worried about. I see you as having God up on the pedestal, which is where our focus needs to be. I see your honesty in what you do share and appreciate the fact that you share the truth with us.

Wrestling with the issue of transparency is a common thing for us bloggers. I struggle with it all the time. Do people really need to know that my husband and I fight about ::insert all the details of the argument here:: or do they just need to know that things came to a head, this is how we felt and this is how we got it resolved?

I'll be praying for wisdom for you as you work to find this balance. Don't let the Enemy fill you with anxiety on posting. You are a true blessing to us and God uses you in marvelous ways.

TheNormalMiddle said...

I like the terms "authentic" and "transparency" a lot better than "real."

You are all three of those. It makes you special, standing amongst a bunch of supermom blogs. (most of those women lie about how great they are, anyway).

I think as long as you are true to who God created you to be, you can't go wrong!

Honea Household said...

I like it when people show their real side, even if it is ugly. It makes me more courageous to share my ugly side. I have a human problem with that. It's called pride. Ugh. It's ugly. But so real to all of us as humans I believe.

Billie said...

OK...if you stop being real, then you will stop being an encouragement to me. There are days when I don't like my kids and hate being a mom. I then doubt my calling in adopting again.

I fall into the trap of thinking that moms with a lot of kids just always love, love their kids and they never become lazy like me.

So, your being real encourages me in that it's not just me...and that I can be a mom AGAIN...and mayb it will actually be ok:)

As far as how real....for me...you don't need to share details...you don't need to share why you don't lke your kids or why you and your hubby had an argument...just hearing the big picture is all the encouragement a mom and wife like me needs!

Anonymous said...

I think that sometimes when people don't include " the bad and the ugly", I get the feeling that they are being fake and therefore do not believe a word they say. I think it is important to real. Mary was real when she started doubting if she could be a single mother and all the craziness it would bring- until God sent an angel on her behalf! She was the mother of our Lord Jesus!!! Now if Mary was real- don't you think it's okay for a mother- a human- someone who's not the mother of the perfect one to be real also?!

Anonymous said...

Well, I come here to read about your life as a regular mom. Someone who isn't afraid to "bring someone down" by saying that your children are being spastic that day and you'd love a break. Someone who can say that you aren't perfect at everything. I get that so much with most christian mom's blogs. You get all the "everything is so wonderful" and you don't get the real life. I much prefer to read something and be lifted up by realizing that you can glorify God in your child rearing even when it doesn't seem like it at the time. God knows we aren't perfect, other humans should be able to know the same thing!

Debra said...

Great post. I am struggling right now with my calling of writing. I thank you for posting yesterday about the writing blog, i haven't checked it in a long while. That is a answer to prayer MB. It is such a small request but could you keep me in prayer for my writing and gaining the confidence I need to do this..I'm so hesitate about it and I shouldn't be because I know The Holy Spirit will lead it for me.
PS-tried the drumsticks in the crockpot with bbq sauce, yummy! My hubby and daughter loved it. I said to myself, Thanks MB, another success in the kitchen. That is the third recipe I have tried from you and all three are great, (note: all three are Crockpot recipes.
You have given me so much encouragement, with writing and cooking.
Hugs,
DZ
DZ

Anonymous said...

Well, I was going to write something encouraging for you about "being real" but after reading all the other comments I think they have it covered! I can understand your concern for respecting your family's privacy however, but I believe you will know where the boundaries are know not to cross them. Admitting that you struggle makes you human. Forging onward in spite of those struggles makes you an inspiration!
Thank you!

Wrinkled Shirt Ministries said...

Keep on keepin' it real sista! I used to think I was the only person in the world struggling with issues. The more I read and the more women I talk to the more I realize I'm not alone in this journey! You being real is some of the best encouragement you could ever give because you continuously push through it. Thanks.
Paula G. <><

Jill said...

Marybeth,
I loved your post today and a subject that's been on my mind lately as well. I don't think we can be too real that doesn't mean everyone needs all the details, but the facts are beneificial. I know I have grown tremendously because of the transparency a few friends have exemplified in my life. The amazing thing is I am finally starting to do the same thing. It's all too often to hide or pretend we have things together because we are worried about what others will think, but when others let their guard down and be real it's an ivitation to do the same. How comforting is that! I actually wrote about this yesterday on my blog and included a poem entitled "Bible Study Girl." Just who does God needs us to be and as one comment said, "The world doesn't need perfect people, but a perfect Savior!!" Blessings and thanks for keeping it real!! Jill

KelliGirl said...

Marybeth,
Being "too" real is something I often wonder about. I wrote one post a month or so ago at 3:00am when I was in a dark place and couldn't sleep. It was my my honest writing up to that point. I finished as the sun rose, posted it and went back to bed. When I woke up later, my first thought was, "What did I do?!" I decided I'd remove it before anyone got a chance to read it...and pretend like it never happended. But, it was too late. Turns out I wasn't the only one who had troubling sleeping that night. My email inbox was filled with encouraging, understanding and prayer-filled notes from my readers. I was so touched, I cried and cried. And I thanked God for making me brave enough to share what most people keep to themselves and using that to bless others.

Being real makes us vulnerable which can be a very uncomfortable feeling. Like showing up naked at a party. But transparency is what makes us real, not plastic, writers. Everybody wants to put their best foot forward and keep the bad stuff hidden. But we're all broken and hurting. Our burdens are so much lighter when we know we're not alone.

Blessings to you today!
Kelli

On Purpose said...

Thank you for this post! I am working on a session titled, "Being Real and it's about Time!" and was looking for some opinions on both sides of being real, and your post did just that for me today! Thank you!

Jill said...

Marybeth,
I was thinking more about your post and one thing that came to mind was what is my motive? Yesterday our marriage wasn't perfect, nothing major, but one of those things...anyway it had me thinking. As I went to bed I reflected more and thought how if I would have wrote about this in the heat of the moment it would have been real, but simply frustration. Now that a little time has passed, I could write about the situation in a way that honors my husband, but still is real. Not sure if that makes any sense, but guess the question to ask is "Why?" Why am I sharing this - to honor God and bless others or simply vent and have a pity party. Transparency is a necessary thing, but it has to be for the right reason in order to beneifit the reader and the writer. Thanks for triggering some wonderful thoughts, Jill