The Pain of Pretending

I have herpes. (click bait. haha 😉 )
Every once in awhile I’ll get a cold sore on my lip from stress or if I’m in the sun too long. They’re pretty gross and painful to have, and when I’m out in public people stare a lot.

Well, recently my husband and I went on a little getaway here in sunny Orlando FL and I got SERIOUSLY burned. I made a very dumb decision and laid out by a pool for 5 hours without any sunscreen. I had forgotten I was pasty white. I’m fairly certain I had sun poisoning. It was a really frustrating scenario.
Within a couple of days after the fact, I felt my lip start to swell and sure enough out popped 5 (!!!!) cold sores. It was rough.

I avoided the public eye as much as I could, but I’m a mom so I had to get my kids out of the house eventually. When I did finally get my butt out and about, I was a hot mess.
I had a severely swollen bottom lip, so I couldn’t smile all the way or it would hurt too much. And I was shedding head to toe from my sunburn. When I would walk around my skin would fall off. It was like snow was falling with every step, but with dead skin. And I’m not exaggerating.

Well, one morning my husband and I were sharing a car because his car was in the shop. I had to take him to work bright and early, so I got the kids dressed but didn’t bother with bringing their shoes. I figured we would just drop him off and go right back home. But I had forgotten that I had coffee plans later that morning, and I was all out of coffee. So, off to Target, we went.

I put my kids in the cart without their shoes and started walking into the store. A lot of people were staring at us but I thought it was just because my kids were cute and without shoes. Then starts the tantrum. My daughter was livid that I would dare try to control her and keep her in the cart. She is almost 2 and wants the independence of a teenager. She wanted to walk around. BUT, mommy didn’t bring her shoes, and whenever I let her walk around in a store she ends up running away from me anyway, so I told her no. She had to stay in the cart because she didn’t have shoes. The audacity, mommy! So she retaliates to my parenting by screaming at the top of her lungs. No joke, everyone in that store heard her. I’m sure people thought I was doing something terrible to her. Literally, everyone, we walked by stared at us. No one commented, or offered to help in some way, they just starred. All along I thought the ONLY reason they were all staring was that my daughter was screaming.
It wasn’t until later that night when I was describing the scene to my husband that I realized I looked like a mixture of a witch and a lizard. My lip was swollen, bloody, and scabbing, and I was legit shedding everywhere and wearing shorts so everyone could see. And my kids didn’t have shoes. I’m just thankful no one called DCF because I’m sure it looked like we were homeless and I was on drugs.

All of this to say, my life is a serious HOT MESS these days.

I had started writing a post about a month ago regarding the desire to feel like you have it all put together for the world. It’s exhausting being fake, and I’m absolutely over trying to lead people to think that my life is all rainbows and butterflies.

I started this blog with the purpose to be transparent and raw. To show the messy sides of life, and the goodness of God in those moments. But in the midst of the blog world, I had changed a little. I saw that people wanted “fake”. My Instagram pictures would get more engagement when it’s fake and posed. And so I began falling into the trap.
But, I began to grow tired of being inauthentic. I noticed that my creativity was stifled, and my voice was beginning to be silenced by the enemy and the deceitful thoughts in my mind: the need to please and be liked.

And if my life seems all perfectly put-together, then how will God be glorified if I seem to have it all going well under my own control?

There is freedom in transparency, and displaying weakness.

So, how do we get there?

How do we let go of insecurity and the fear of man and let people in? But more than that, how do we admit our flaws?

I’m not sure we will ever feel totally comfortable with telling people our shortcomings, and getting help so we can grow. But if we want healthy and happy marriages, families, and lives, there is no other option.

And those that live with secrets will inevitably fall apart when difficulty comes and they have no one around them who truly knows them.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16

I pull two things from this verse:
1. It’s in the confession of our sins (weaknesses, shortcomings, flaws) that healing happens.
2. Our prayers are POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE when we have confessed.

Don’t we all want that?? Complete healing from our pasts? A victorious life? A powerful and effective prayer life?

And WHY should we live this way?

Because of the hope set before us!
Because if Jesus can make the ultimate sacrifice, and die for us, then we can humble ourselves and admit our flaws and ask for help.
Because He is the LIVING GOD and is worthy of our striving, of our toiling, of our hard work.

Christianity isn’t about displaying a perfectly put-together life, it’s about displaying the grace of God in our weaknesses. It’s about getting up and fighting against the sin in our marriages and not losing hope. It’s about fighting. Striving. Hard work. And living a victorious life.

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God”
1 Timothy 410

Through transparency and vulnerability, we are able to live victoriously.

And if you feel God asking you to share, to be vulnerable, to be transparent, he will give you the grace to move in what He is asking you to do.
He will give you peace. He will strengthen you. And believe me, there is no other source that can satisfy your heart like He can.

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24

Being vulnerable may be painful for a moment, but the freedom of being healed is always worth it.
Putting rubbing alcohol on a cut never feels good, but that’s how we protect the wound from bacteria and allow it to properly heal.

Start today by doing the hard thing and clean the wound. Allow your heart to be genuinely healed. Share that fear that’s been keeping you awake at night. Open up about the offense that you have. Get counseling for your marriage.



More about Amaris

20 something wife and mother! Inspiring women to live fearlessly, authentically, and to thrive where ever they're planted.