The real life revolution is all about being real, being authentic, being honest about who we are and where we are in life in ways that not only prevent us from living a double life, but help others live more authentically too. It is living into the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I have loved seeing friends and friends of friends start to use the hashtag #realliferevolution to describe all sorts of things—triumphs and successes, as well as foibles and mayhem. I have realized that living the #realliferevolution is all about facing our limits, facing who we are, and how we live that out privately and publicly.
Speaking of limits…this week I hit a wall—literally. Well, really I hit a wall and then an armrest. I have been having some unexplained health issues for some time, and in the midst of having tests done to figure out the issue, I passed out. Not the kind of swoon you see fancy women do in old movies. I have passed out before, and I do it hard.
The first time it was like a three stooges sketch where my whole body went rigid and I fell plank-style backwards, flat out on the ground. This time, fortunately, I was seated, and just sort of flopped into the wall behind me, and then the medical tech pushed me forward to protect my head, and I awoke mouth open, face-down, on the questionable arm rest of a chair at a blood clinic…#realliferevolution. Not my finest moment! I wanted to wash my lips off after that one!
Fortunately, after many tests, I have what seems to be a clear diagnosis of an auto-immune disorder—serious, but treatable. It could be much worse. But what I have realized through all of this is my limits. If you are on the control-freak spectrum like me, this is a difficult pill to swallow.
Facing the reality of limitations is all part of living authentically and living richly. Limitations remind us of our need for the other. We can’t live richly in isolation! Limitations force us to rely on other people, and remind us that (like High School Musical taught us) “we’re all in this together.” Seriously, every time I hear that phrase all I can envision is Zac Efron, in his teenage phase, pumping his arms up and down. But for those fiercely independent types, it can be extra challenging to live life with others in mutually affirming, servant-minded, and beneficial ways.
In a culture where we are used to “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine,” it is hard to both give and to take without feeling like you owe someone something. But facing limits allows you to embrace the richness of life in community.
I have spent the majority of the last week in bed, a far cry from the “do what I want” life. Because of muscle weakness, I do not want to move far from my baby girl, so we spent a week of intense, lovely, beautiful, tear-filled, laughter-filled moments together. One day we read seven children’s books in a row trying to lull her off to sleep. When that didn’t work, I read to her out of a rather fact-ridden, non-fiction piece on the art of writing for online audiences. She continued laughing and blowing spit bubbles at the black and white pages, regardless of the dry message, and refused to sleep some more. So we cuddled, and laughed, and played, and listened to a podcast on the finer points of the debate on the viability of church missions in 2018, and she still didn’t sleep. But we had rich moments of joy in the midst of the silliness.
And today, she slept all day…
Facing the limitations of not being able to move around much this week gave me some beautiful time to think, to reflect, to spend time with my daughter, to pray, to read, and to connect. It reminded me of our universal humanness, our mortality, our weakness, our brokenness, and our need for something greater than ourselves. Limits reorient us back toward God when we are trying to do it all on our own.
My point is this: rather than a quid pro quo lifestyle of accounting for every good deed and favour, let’s try to live authentically in community—even if that means asking for help (from God or others).
Join me in the #realliferevolution as I seek to live authentically within my own limits.