Knee-deep in an already deep conversation, it surfaced.
“Why do people think I have it all together?”
An honest question from an honest friend, in a living room full of conscientious, accomplished women in agriculture. Heads nodded around the room. We’d gathered together for a Bible study retreat in a rented Airbnb house, every one of us either employed or originating in agriculture. We’d all heard the same thing. And we were equally mystified, because none of us has it together.
Shoot, I couldn’t even pack a proper bag for that weekend. I’ve got rotting jack-o’-lanterns on my back porch. I just took down last year’s Christmas cards. I have no idea what we’re eating for supper this week. I’m four days late with this blog.
Around the room, we feared social media was to blame, even though we love it to keep up with each other. To stay in touch with far-flung friends and the hometowns we moved away from to follow jobs and men with far-away farms and ranches. But do people really look at what we post and think it’s our whole lives?
And if so, what do we do about it? Because it’s not. See two paragraphs above. See the fact that it took me two days to dig out from our Louisville laundry pile, and the laundry room floor is already covered again.
I hear tell of hashtags like #reallife and pictures of said real-life situations, where people try to convince others that they shouldn’t compare their own background footage with someone else’s highlight reel.
But I don’t think that’s enough. Because the truth is, I don’t have it all together. None of us does, especially none of us in that living room the other night. The truth is also what I told my 9-year-old the other morning when she asked, overwhelmed over her eggs, “How do you get so much stuff done in a day?”
I looked her square in the eye: a little caffeine and a lotta Jesus.
It’s not enough to say I don’t have it together either, though I don’t. The real truth is that whatever any of us in that living room manages to do, we do by the grace of God. We do it covered in prayer and the sustaining hope that we can meet the deadline/pack the things/pick up the kids/not forget.
I’ve long loved this from Emily Freeman:
“And then I started to cry and said maybe I don’t have my ducks in a row enough. Or maybe I’m not praying enough or quiet enough or brave enough or whatever enough. He reminded me that God doesn’t look for lined-up ducks, but for the smallest bit of faith, the kind that rolls around with mustard seeds. The kind you can hardly see. Because he takes that kind of faith and does miracles with it so that nobody could look at it and say, ‘Oh, well of course she could do that, because she has it so together. Have you seen her ducks?!’ Instead, he does things through and with people so they will say, ‘I never could have done that on my own. I don’t even have any ducks.’”
No ducks here either. And I never could have done any of that on my own.