One day last week I was on a short break at work (NOT the work I do at church – my other job, folks) and I ended up crying in the restroom….again. I wasn’t crying about work…I was crying because of hot flashes and just….just, to cry, I guess. I was also laughing out loud as it was happening. Laughing…Crying… All at the same time. I entertain myself quite frequently.
Nice way to start a blog post, eh?
Don’t worry, it’s all about hormones, my friends. Nothing earth shattering going on here at all.
But I start the post out this way on purpose. The reason is because a lot of people have told me that they think I am just always sparkly – always happy – always smiling, shiny, glittery, and – well…..just… little “Miss Perfect.”
But I am not. And I think it’s good for people to be reassured of that – people who wonder why they don’t have it all together, when it seems like those around them do.
This, along with my primary goal of glorifying my Savior, is exactly why I make sure, in these writings, to share a mixture of those things which are joy-filling, positive, fun and happy, with those that “shed light”, so-to-speak, on all the dark that I have experienced as well. I share these things here on this blog, and I share them out in the world….as the Spirit of the Lord leads me. Because maybe you have experienced similar things too – or maybe you are going through a difficult situation running along these very same lines and you need to know that you are not alone.
Are you someone who wonders about such things at times? If not in reference to me and my “sparkly-ness”, maybe in regard to someone else around you who seems to be more joyful than not…..happier than you are…..who seems to have it together most of the time?
Do you feel inadequate when you look at the joy someone around you exudes and wonder what is wrong with you? Do you ever compare yourselves to them and feel you come up short? Do you think something is wrong with you because you aren’t that way right now? Do you sometimes not like those people in a season of sparkle because you assume they are either fake, have a hidden agenda, or something about them and their mood just seems too good to be true?
Just know this:
We all go through seasons in life. And you know, even the people who are mostly sparkly have their less-than-shiny times (I can assure you of this).
I have gone through vast periods of dark and have had my fair share of the light as well. Through them all, the Lord has done His work in me. And I have to say, I enjoy the sparkly times more than the darker ones, but I have learned and grown so very much from both. God can always grow us, enrich us, and do a mighty work in us – no matter what the circumstance. We just need to seek Him and accept in faith He shall do His work in us in His perfect timing.
When I am not going through anything that I think “warrants’ feeling bad, that is when I get upset, like that night last week. I start to listen to the little enemy whispering in my ear….
He says things like this:
- “Gosh, Annie…don’t you think you are being kind of petty that you are in here crying about some lame hormonal issues when there are children starving in the world?”
- “Oh, you are such a loser – you are never going to be able to be good working in the church, Annie – they need strong people there who can rise above such stupidity as this.”
- “Why isn’t God helping you right now? I mean, sure, there are worse things in the world to contend with, but doesn’t He care that you need to be able to get enough rest to be cheerful and shiny to help lift others up? He is leaving you in the dust.”
- Or the worst….”I bet God is really displeased with you right about now.”
I know these are lies – which makes me cry all the harder – because I hate that they can even be heard, even if I don’t entertain them or give them any credit.
I don’t “fake” sparkly, but sometimes I do have to work at it. I don’t buy into the “just act how you feel for the sake of being fully transparent and honest”, stuff. Quite frankly, I think that’s a lame excuse to just be ugly, self-seeking, and plain rude. So, having to expend some energy doesn’t really bother me. What does concern me sometimes is that I still feel sooo uncomfortable when I just can’t get past something that is sapping my sparkle. See, I forget about that “God’s timing, not mine” thing, folks.
Once I check in with God and make sure it isn’t due to any sin on my part, I am usually then okay. He then helps me accept it for the gift that it actually is to be in a slump for a moment, a day, a week, month, or however long it lasts. Whew! That is a relief when it happens that way.
And when it is due to sin, or disobedience, He is faithful in helping me out there too. It’s even more unpleasant, but necessary at times. (Remember? The not perfect thing I have?) Yah.
I see the bummer attacks like I had in the break room as another form of God’s grace being made manifest in my life – I really, really do. I tend to want to be good – I tend to want to be the best I can be (yes, most of the time) – I tend to expect myself to be sparkly, even when I don’t feel like it. I tend, I tend, I tend…………Sigh.
I know this doesn’t earn me anything with God, or with other people – but it’s still how I like to be whenever possible. It doesn’t make me a good person – it doesn’t make me a person absent of sin – it doesn’t make me anything – I am just called to do it. Not everyone is called to this either, and I realize that. But you know when you are.
Why does God call some of us to be sparkly whenever possible? Because I think we need light in this world and He knows it (of course!). I think we need people in this world who can be sparkly most of the time. I think we need “builder-uppers”, positive forces, and all that seems “nice” in this world, as long as it is done with pure, sincere, and Godly motives.
And sometimes, we aren’t equipped to be that, for whatever reason or circumstance. What is important, is that we do it with the right heart, the right motivation, and we realize we cannot do it in our own power. What is important, is that we follow after that calling if it has been placed upon our hearts and that the glory be given to God, not ourselves as we do so. What is important, is we seek to uplift out of love, not out of the ulterior motive of getting others to like us, make us feel better about ourselves, or validate us.
That night, I was angry and frustrated with myself because I temporarily forgot that I can’t pull myself out of my little slump in my own power. Hence, the Satan whispers.
Right now, most of the time, I am in a season in my life where God has equipped me to be this way – sparkly. Not every day, but a lot more than say, a year or two ago. I am enjoying that and am grateful for that, and I definitely want to use that to lift others up, rather than wallow in it and suck up all the benefit for myself. But I do have down days like today, and don’t we all?
You know, I have found that it relieves people to know that – to be reassured that even the sparkly and glitter-like people in the world don’t have it all together. That they don’t always feel good – that they don’t always feel blessed, even when they know that they are. That they are human,imperfect, flawed, downtrodden, and a host of other things too. That they can be understanding of such things as depression and grief, sadness and loss –they can relate – have compassion that is genuine and real – be merciful out of truly understanding versus just being nice. Not all sparkly people are genuine, this is true – but know that some of them are, and let them be the ones to build you up and offer support when you need it.
In relation to myself, I don’t share this to be a martyr at all – God has placed others in my life who build me up too…some are sparkly, and some are not sparkly. I do share this because it is so important to me that people realize that even the sparkly people might just be able to understand what you are going through.
As a side note – Sometimes sparkly people aren’t placed into our lives just to cheer us up. For example, you may be surprised that I have it on my heart to help those who are grieving – just to be there for them…to understand what I can about what they are going through and help support them. To weep with them if they need a friend. I want to laugh with those who need to laugh, and be a shoulder for those who need a lift.
Doesn’t sound too sparkly, does it? But it’s all part of what the Lord is placing upon my heart – and I want to follow after and seek that with all of mine.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
Besides being able to understand others, God allows us to go through rough things to remind us we need a Savior! He graciously and mercifully allows me to see quite clearly how not perfect I am – not to condemn me – but to keep me on the right path.
- So I don’t forget my Savior again, like I did on and off for years….
- So I don’t forget that I NEED Him….
- So I don’t forget that life can be a pain in the rear and that if I never went through any stuff, I could not love others the way He would have me love them.
- So I never, ever forget how far-reaching His love for me is!
- So I can truly appreciate the joyful times, and carry the joy and the peace that He gives me in Him with me through any and every single circumstance in life that may ever come my way.
- So I can continue to care for others who don’t feel so sparkly. (SECOND in line next to my relationship with Jesus)
Part of why I have sparkle right now is because I understand the dark stuff too. Like many of you, I know grief, friends. Like many of you, I know depression. I know anxiety, pressure, “be all you can be” mentality, vanity, selfishness, loneliness and sin, frustration, confusion…just name it.
And right now, with no shadow of a doubt, I know hormonal imbalance and how it can change that personality you think is yours. It’s quite a good lesson to be reminded that nothing belongs to us…not our sanity, or our next breath. And certainly, most certainly, not our hormones. Ug.
So, when I am able to feel and be “sparkly” I really feel good about it – hence, even more sparkle – Sparkle for Sparkle! I have something dark to compare it to, so I can appreciate it to the fullest! God’s light shines all the stronger through that dark.
“You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.” Samuel 2:29
When He does bring me into the lighter times, I feel strongly that I should appreciate it to the fullest – praise Him for it – and use it to build up and edify others….don’t you? Don’t you find that you want to spread the joy when you can…when it’s appropriate? And then, you have room to weep with others when they need you to do so….because He has made that room for us…He has filled us with what we need to help support others in their darker times.
That’s what led me to the tears and laughing out loud, almost hysterically at myself last week…the hormonal stuff I am going through. I do not wish to minimize the things in life that are FAR worse than hormonal imbalances and the ripple effect they have, because I am all too aware there are far worse things in life to deal with, friends. Some of you are in the midst of that right now. And as I said, I have been through loss, sudden death of a loved one, prolonged death of a loved one, heartache beyond imagination in reference to sin, choices, mistakes, and some things I just won’t name here. I have been with others who have lost children, battled cancer, thought they would be leaving this earth and didn’t know who would take care of their own kids, financial destitution, and fear beyond imagination. I have known what it feels like to be on the brink of losing your sanity, your child, your marriage, your sense of security, and your relationship with God. I have been in places where there seemed to be no spark whatsoever -No glitter – places that seemed just perpetually dark. But He was there, friends of mine – even when I didn’t see Him…And He has brought me through – every time.
And this hormonal season (I am told it can last 10 YEARS – really?)……..I know this too shall pass. AND, it will enable me to help other women when they too go through such things. Because I will have been there (or….sigh…may still be there).
Know what? I am choosing to keep hold of the joy I have in Jesus, even when I don’t feel sparkly or happy. We all can. This is just one of the blessings we have in Him. Joy in Jesus is not contingent upon happiness, feelings, moods, or hormones. The devil can’t take that from us – not ever!
Do I hope to be back to my sparkly self sooner rather than later? Sure! Do I feel added pressure because I started helping in a new role at my church in which being upbeat, friendly, approachable and caring is very important? Sure! Do the physical, and now emotional symptoms get me down – all the way down on the bathroom floor at times? You betcha!
But I will not be defeated – I will not have to worry that the enemy will get to take this stuff and make it into something that he wants for bad. I will not forget who is fighting for me and to go to Him constantly and ask Him to fight those battles, and help me to stand strong and do my part – I will try my best to remember too, to get out of the way and let God do HIS part (which is most, if not all of it, I tend to think).
I am going to make my next post more “sparkly” and more fun ( I think we need that after this) but keep in mind, I am talking to myself in all of these posts I share, friends – far more than I am to anyone else. We all have struggles, big and small. We all feel less than sparkly, for serious things, or things that are simply dumb old thorns in our sides. But we all can have Jesus on our side too – as long as we choose Him.
I am not perfect. I am not perfectly sparkly, or perfectly drab. But I am a child of God – and that, I am very, very thankful for – no matter how I might feel today. How’s that for sparkly? And how’s that for a perfect life?
I am going to milk that sparkle for sparkle for every last glittery little drop it’s worth!
**Blessings to those of you who feel sparkly today – and to those of you who don’t!