So…here are my azalea bushes. They are….well, real. You see this Mary-hearted woman with Martha’s (as in both the biblical figure and Ms. Stewart) intentions would love to have a Southern Living-worthy front yard. But mine, my dear reader, is real. Call it what you want. Real ugly. Real plain. Or just plain real. Yep, that’s also me…real. Can’t be any other way. It’s not in me. But, my real-ness does not stem from the world’s version of insulting others and following it up with “just keepin’ it real.” No, although those thoughts can cross my mind very easily, I am speaking more of just being who I am created to be.
I spent the majority of my life trying to be like others. I am #5 out of six children with three of those older siblings beautiful, strong, and independent women. As a young girl, a teenager, college co-ed, and later a married woman, I aspired to be like them but never felt like I measured up. Failure seemed inevitable as I rested my identity in being like Amy, Kim, and Tami (and that’s pronounced t-ay-m-y not t-a-m-m-y). Jodi had some of the same qualities, but none of their reality seemed to fit mine. Kind of like my azaleas, I am real, and my spirit is unkept, wild, ordinary, with spots of beauty and new growth throughout. My spirit my real-ness couldn’t fit into an ornate flowerpot or be part of a beautifully landscaped yard or even in a wild, wooded plot of land. I was not going to be confined to what I thought was my reality, and God did not allow me to copy any one else’s version of themselves.
God shared words about who I am just the other day. He showed me that I am who I am for a reason. I am His beloved, and He is well pleased. I pray that these words minister to someone right now in your real-ness.