It’s easy to look around and tell ourselves the story that everyone else is happy, thriving, confident. But no matter our age or stage in life, we carry insecurities and walk through seasons of pain. We learn as we go. We come up to crossroads where we must make the decision to live again. Or try again. Or reach out again. We fake it till we make it.
Adventure awaits, but what if I don’t have what it takes?
The world is brimming with interesting possibility, but what if I’m not good enough at anything?
Everyone else appears to know what they’re doing, but what if I fail?
I thought I knew where I was headed but life threw me a curve ball and now I wonder if I even fit anywhere.
Everyone else seems to have figured out this thing called life; why do I find it so hard?
I failed again. I don’t know if I can keep going.
SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO JUST SHOW UP AND FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT.
You dream of motherhood only to discover that this gig is painfully hard some days. There are seasons that you aren’t even sure you like your own kids. You feel like a failure. So ungrateful. Here you received what you desperately desired and yet you feel depressed and stuck.
She died and now you don’t know if you want to live without her. Getting up in the morning hurts; it takes every ounce of energy to just brush your teeth and force yourself to eat. Christmas is coming but it feels meaningless. You feel no joy. Only the pain of separation.
Your offers keep getting rejected and your boss doles out healthy doses of criticism, never praise. Then you mess up for real. And this only confirms the suspicion you had all along, that you are no good. A failure. Your shame sits heavy on your chest so that you have a hard time functioning. Maybe there is no point in even trying.
You’re aging now and wonder if you’ll always be alone. At least before you had your youth and that offered the possibility of someone finding you desirable. You just want to feel loved – wanted. Cherished even. Is that honestly too much to ask?
The chronic illness has finally caught up with you. No more hiding it. Your body doesn’t work properly anymore. You can’t even pretend to keep up with everyone else. Is this all your future holds? This is as good as it gets? It hurts to move and you don’t want to appear needy. Surely one by one your friends will drop away.
You’ve built the successful career and padded the retirement fund and you are so incredibly unhappy. Dying inside. You want a different path, a simpler path. But if you tell the truth she might leave you and the kids might resent you. You see no way out.
So much pain and suffering. It isolates. But look around – surely there is not a person milling around you that walks unscathed. This is part of the human experience, to be touched by pain. By insecurity. To walk through valleys.
You are not alone in this. You are not a failure because you struggle. You are not too broken to deserve life.
And there are no quick fixes, magic bullets, easy answers. Sometimes life hurts and you hurt. And you don’t know what to do about it.
So you fake it till you make it.
I don’t mean lie or pretend that all is well. I mean put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing and then the next until the tiniest tendril of hope begins to wind itself through the darkness. Until you see a flicker of light – far off yet, but you see it nonetheless.
DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING
You get out of bed in the morning, open blinds, make your coffee. You force yourself to express gratitude – to notice beauty.
You grieve but decide that you are at a crossroads and your choice is to live. So you reach out. You permit another broken human being to come alongside and love you for a while. Because who told you that you have to do life alone, anyway?
You lay those broken dreams on the shelf and remind yourself that if your womb is closed then there are other good plans for you. Beautiful plans. Your worth is not wrapped up in motherhood.
You tell the truth about all your anger and frustration. You practice self-care in tiny ways – maybe they feel insignificant, but you do it anyway because you read that it matters. You take naps and get a babysitter so you can take breaks from the constant need of other people.
You have one small conversation about how you are feeling. Just one. You begin telling the truth about the life you want. You stop trying to keep up the perfect image. You stop working so much and decide that even if you can’t walk away from it all right now you can take baby steps closer to the person you want to be.
You smile at yourself in the mirror. It feels fake – and it is right now. But you do it anyways. You realize no man can fill the deep, aching hole in you. You practice speaking to yourself with tenderness like you would your best friend. You can be your own best friend for now.
You get a Christmas tree and decorate the house. Not for you but there are still children in the house and they need to keep living even if their mama’s gone. And they need you to keep living too.
Fill your home with truth – plastered all over on sticky notes, scrawled notes on your mirror, life-giving music pulsing through the place.
Just fake it till you make it.
One foot in front of the other. One breath and then another.
You are needed. Your life matters.