Taking Off the Gift Wrap

"Nothing is ever easy for us. Everyone else always seems to be on top of everything, but not us." Not in those exact words, but that's generally what an acquaintance shared with me last week.

Then I shared some of my family's recent struggles.

She said, "Really? Your family always looks like they have it altogether and things are always going great."
Huh. Is that actually the impression we give? Maybe it's time to untie the bow and take the pretty paper off the package. Maybe it's more important than I realized to let people in and allow them to see the messier parts of our lives.

I know my pride is part of the problem. Who wants to admit their mistakes, inadequacies, foolishness, and sins? A portion of my heart is afraid people won't like me if they know how screwed up I am sometimes. I thought I'd grown up enough not to worry about what people think of me, but I suppose I haven't.

It isn't all pride, though. I am a complainer, which is something I don't like about me. Talking about my problems and struggles feels too much like complaining, exactly the thing I don't want to do. But neither do I want to give the appearance that I live a smooth and perfect life.

What's a woman to do?

As I write this and wonder how to find the balance between being real and not indulging in a complainathon, an answer comes to mind. The same answer at which I always arrive while trying to figure out this thing called Life.


Prayer that I can learn how to show the people my life touches that I swim through the same muck everyone else swims through, but not complain about it.

How do you find the balance between sharing your troubles, but not complaining about them? I'd really like to know. You might be the answer to my prayer.


  1. Gosh I wish I knew the answer to that one. I think we try to keep up a brave front, but some times we have to let go and be who we are...you are perfect the way you are.

  2. I do share and pour out my heart to my closest friends when I'm going through a hard time. And likewise, I'm there for my friends when they need an ear. I have a good friend who I thought had an awesome life w/ a wealthy husband...they have a beautiful home & sailboat, and a home in another state....as it turns out her life is not what she made it out to be, and she's in major crisis. In fact, it made me all the more grateful to be happy with what I have, not what I think others have. She wistfully said to me, 'At least you have love in your life....' And yeah, I think love trumps 'stuff' anyday. Yeah I don't own a house, my savings and retirement are gone (I'm 49) and it's a month to month financial struggle, but I have a wonderful man & a great relationship w/ my stepchildren, friends, family, dogs and a rented roof over my head.