But then there’s this: you hit the darkened ladies room at the club, where you see that your hair and make-up look great after hours of dancing. Woohoo, I look like a rock star!
An hour later you get a good look at yourself in the bathroom mirror at home. In bright light, your smoky eyes look raccoonish, you’re wearing your friend’s orangey shade of lipstick by mistake and half your hair fell out of your ‘doo. Dang, why didn’t anyone tell me I looked like a mess?
Life can be like this too.
I lived my entire 20s in nightclub lighting, both real and figurative, so I know. I wanted to be shadowy and mysterious. No one really knew me. Including me. Lots of unanswered questions.
Eventually I realized two things: no one wants to marry a mystery and God wanted me to be my best real self. And yes, it was in that order. But whatever—I got there, is the point. I knew Nightclub lighting was not doing it for me if I wanted the things I wanted. I needed real, honest to goodness light. No shadows, no mystery.
I was 28 when I stepped out into the light. It wasn’t pretty. Tired eyes, wrinkles and extra pounds, both physical and spiritual. For a while, the light I stood in was harsh and unrelenting. Plenty of times, I wanted to look down or cover my eyes. But I knew that if I was going to be real, I had to face it. All of it. Not “my truth”. The Truth.
If I had tried to do this without God, I don’t know what would have happened. I guess I could have been a boat bobbing on the sea of self-help, searching for a philosophical port of call. I get why people do this. It’s the Wizard of Oz syndrome: If I make a lot of noise over here—on my social media, to my colleagues, in my relationships—then perhaps no will pay any attention to the real me behind the curtain. Including me.
But I was raised with God, so I went home to God, like the prodigal daughter that I was. I knew that God wanted me to be happy. I knew God wanted me to be married and a mom. It hadn’t happened because I wasn’t ready yet, and God is wise.
I stood in that bright light and looked at what parts needed work. I was rough, angry, loud. I was a big fish at work and it was making me cocky and disrespectful. I drank too much. I ate too much. I was complacent.
So I went back to Church. I started keeping a journal. I stopped drinking as much and started exercising more.
I changed jobs, which was humbling and knocked me out of my comfort zone. I needed that. It was a challenge.
I started a master’s program.
I tried to be more well-rounded. I stopped living at work, said no to unnecessary projects and didn’t feel guilty about it. I traveled more. I got a 403b and life insurance.
I acted like a grown up child of God. And slowly, the harsh light turned warm.
It didn’t happen overnight. I did my part. I worked hard. I didn’t become a perfect person—I still have sharp edges and motherhood has made me loud once again. But I know it now. I don’t run for the shadows to hide who and what I am. No matter how hard it is, I know what to do.
Stay with God. Stay with the Truth. Stand in the light.