When the Photo Shoot (and life) are not Perfect, There is Still Joy!

Ever browse through social media for a few minutes and walk away feeling depleted? Less than perfect? As if everyone is having a great time? Your life doesn’t measure up?

When I scroll through social media posts, I sometimes get infected with the “woe is me” bug. Or I physically feel as if all the anger and unrest settles on my shoulders. I put the phone down and burdened.  How about you?

The Whole House had a photo shoot a few weeks ago. Here’s what you see on our cover and on social media posts:

untitled-17Yep, we’re pretty excited about a book release, 25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas, An Advent Devotional for Adoptive/Foster Parents coming out November 1! Also, we are releasing The Whole House Podcast on January 1rst!

Looks at cool and perfect-ish, right?

Here’s a behind the scenes look at what really happened…..

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The photo shoot wasn’t all it seemed on social media. The kids took the frame, the photographer and finally, needed to go in for a snack and nap. The grown-ups wanted a nap too, but we persevered and after getting kiddos to bed (Judah fell asleep sitting up), we recorded a podcast. We recorded with a Mic in the middle of a round table in Amerey’s kitchen, surrounded by lunch and snack remains. We don’t have a professional studio or a picture perfect life.

How do you find joy in an imperfect life?

When the kids don’t cooperate with your plans?

When you have more chores and meltdowns than hours in the day?

When it seems as if everyone else has it all together and you’re not sure what it is?

We long to belong. We yearn for acceptance. What we end up with when we pursue the pseudo perfect life is shame. Shame is a painful emotion that tells us we have fallen short, we are not enough. When we live our lives peering through the lens of shame, we feel depressed, angry and isolated.

How do we avoid the shame based lifestyle?

We acknowledge that OUR now is enough. Where we are and who we are is enough. The circumstances and gifts God has bestowed upon us may be different than our neighbors’. That’s okay. Uniqueness is gift. Accept your now and embrace it.

Comb through the tangle of your day with an eye for joy. No one has perfect circumstances. Maybe your house is full of toddlers or teens. Maybe there is sickness in your family and you spend days sitting in a hospital. Maybe you finally got the baby you longed for and don’t know how you can physically cope with night time feedings and the constant exhaustion. The only way to be thankful is to look for things to be thankful for. Chase joy down. Write them down if you need to.

  • A cup of coffee.
  • A giggle.
  • A sunrise.
  • A backyard photo shoot.

Last, but not least, be vulnerable.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”- Brene Brown

One way to overcome shame is tell your your story. The non fiction version. Not the social media fiction version. The greatest words of empathy are, “me too!”

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!- Emily Dickinson

What Success Is…

 

I love the New Year, fresh and crisp as a winter wind. I love the new journals. The new business planner (that I still have no idea what to do with). I love the new Word. I feel refreshed and renewed. Christmas decorations have been put away, except for the greenery I couldn’t stand to put away.

greeneryI take off at a sprint, ready to accomplish all, whatever all is. Sometimes it’s as if I am playing whack a mole, no matter how many books I have read on goal setting and essentialism. Life just doesn’t always work that way, unless you have no family, friends or never get sick. With my personality, I must be careful not to make goals a god. Success is Not an Accident and Essentialism are a few of my favorite books on success and goal setting. I recommend them. They have helped me weed out things that aren’t essential. I have a better idea of how to set measurable goals. I have a definition of success. It’s not what I would have defined it as when I was in my twenties or even thirties. It’s not about knowing the right people, money or wearing the right clothes. And, grab onto your seat, success is not always about achieving your goals. Success is not about being able to do everything. It is more about being able to do the thing that is before you well.

“Successful people are those who have learned how to consistently apply God’s laws in their lives. They ascribe their achievements to focus, hard work, strong relationships, perseverance and the blessings of God.”- Tommy Newberry

I love this definition of who successful people are. We can’t always control our circumstances. Sometimes our list of goals get sidelined while we work on the business of living. Does that mean we aren’t successful? Of course not.

A mother working on a project to make her home more beautiful and comfortable is interrupted by sickness. Is she still a successful homemaker?

A writer working on a manuscript puts writing on hold to participate in a community project is still a writer, right?

A health nut who teaches about the blessings of whole foods and the benefits of exercise gets knocked flat by an immune system disorder. Is what she teaches still true?

I’d love to measure my success by a bar graph or a beautiful circle graph with bright colors. It doesn’t work that way. Often our path to success may seem as if we are running from the snake in a zig zag pattern (like my mama taught me). That’s what we see. That’s not what God sees.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,

And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. Proverbs 3:5,6

When I trust in and rely on the Lord, I have to throw my own insight and understanding out the window. Every day I must get up and acknowledge the Lord. I must recognize Him and say, “This is your day, Lord, what would you have me do with it?” The truth is, I pray in warp speed, acknowledge my plans and start a frantic frenzied race to the end of the day. I am, shoulders hunched, with frayed nerves, pursuing a success that never satisfies. Success is doing the will of God on the path He has placed before you with the strengths and weaknesses that He has bestowed on you. Success is not about being perfect. It’s about being obedient. It’s about acknowledging Him, recognizing that He is ultimately in control. If my plan falls through, I can be assured that He is has a better one. What about you?

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday, join us!

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