One of my friends tells me that she prefers to read my blog posts here rather than pieces I've written for other websites. She says that on my blog is where she reads the real me. She can hear my voice loud and clear and knows it hasn't been crowded out by the that of an editor.
I kind of prefer the pieces I write for other websites because I know the rough edges have been worn down. Errors in spelling have been fixed. My tendency to repeat myself or use too many words have been trimmed down to fit a word requirement. The wrinkles and scars have been erased, leaving an article than shines.
But I guess what my friend says is true: It's not the real me. The messy me. The imperfect me. The scarred and broken me.
The real me is like the blog posts I scratch out in my journal. Those pages are filled with fragments, run-on sentences, lists, and ideas--many which never develop into an article. My notes there are messy and often illegible. My spelling is atrocious. And like running out to the store and seeing someone you know when you don't have any makeup on and your hair is wild and untamed, I'd really hate for anyone to look through one of my journals. And the same is true about people seeing my real self--my unedited self. It's downright scary to think of anyone opening the pages of my heart and seeing how messed up I really am.
I think most of us prefer to edit our lives before we show it to others. It's why we clean up our homes before guests arrive. It's why we say everything is okay when it's not. It's why we don't ask for help. It's why we pretend we have it all together. It's why we deny our weaknesses, cover our sin, and hide from those who might see behind the facade.
But the truth is, real life is a work in progress. We all come to Christ the same way; we are all saved by grace and are all being sanctified. We are all broken, sinful, and unworthy. We are all adopted children. We all need God's grace every moment of our lives. So why do we try to pretend otherwise?
I've been reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's autobiography. It's amazing the journey she went on to have her work published. The editors of the book have added detailed notes, explaining what changed in her book throughout the various versions that were written. She wrote in the margins of her manuscripts things to cut out or add and the editors explain all those notes. It's helpful for me as a writer and as a reader of the The Little House series to see the story behind the story. To know how she went from having an idea to tell about her life as a pioneer to the publication of The Little House books. It's helpful for me to see that it was a challenging journey. A messy journey. And to understand that there were many rejections, edits, and revisions along the way.
We are all stories behind the stories we show to the world. The face we wear on Sunday morning doesn't reveal that we struggled all week long with our kids. The answers we give at our weekly Bible study doesn't show the doubts we've battled for years. The advice we give to newly married couples in our small group doesn't tell the story of disappointments and trials we've experienced throughout our own marriage.
But as family members in the Body of Christ, connected and bound by the blood of our Savior, we should know the stories behind the stories. We should tell those stories. We should see each other's life unedited. For how else can we love and support each other? How can we serve one other? How can we learn from one another? How can we do life together?
So as you read what my friend would consider my "unedited" blog post, consider the editing you do in your own life. How do you hide from your church family what's really going on in your life? And what would it be like to live life unedited?