Honestly, I saw a drunk girl crying in the bathroom the other day. Her friend said the famous line…
“Are you okay?”
The girl, mascara running down her face, stopped huffing and puffing for five seconds. Or maybe ten. However long it was, it was long enough to say the even more famous line…
“Yes, I’m okay.”
But I don’t think this girl was okay. But when I saw her, I saw myself.
I saw myself repeating those lines in high school when I wasn’t really eating and was pretending to be “perfect”. Someone finally noticed I wasn’t living healthy… yet all I could say in response to their tough questions searching for vulnerability was, “I’m okay.”
I saw the me who smiles on social media and pretends life is great. Yet, truth is life is not always great. I post the highlight reel but fail to mention when I get sacked down. I failed to mention when I didn’t get the internship I wanted. I fail to mention the days when I mess up. I fail to mention the moments where I am turned down, hurt, broken, and “not okay”.
This mask I wear called “Instagram” and the conversations I call “small talk”, don’t highlight the truth. Yet, community was never meant to be filtered and edited. In fact, community is about vulnerability. It is about being willing to throw a dance party when you get the text first from the boy, and having Ben & Jerry’s with your best friend when you don’t get the job.
Let’s face it, we live in a society that calls anyone crazy if they think about their breakup for longer than a month. We live in a society that makes problems feel like burdens, and tough conversations feel awkward. We live in a society that calls us to filter our conversations, feelings, emotions, and pictures in order to seem like we are “okay”.
A society where today you probably said you were okay about a topic you actually struggle with.
Tbh my professor asked if she could move on the other day.
“Does everyone understand this material before we move on?”
EVERYONE ELSE WAS NODDING THEIR HEAD.
So what did I do?
Nod my head.
NO, I WASN’T OKAY AND READY. I still didn’t know. Yet, I pretended because if I wasn’t ready, then I would look dumb. And if I looked dumb, I was admitting I am not perfect.
My filter would be ruined.
So to anyone in my Britt Lit class MWF, I did not understand Othelo. (Ahh, one small step to vulnerability.)
That was a silly instance but it goes so much deeper than that…
Recently, I had a conversation with my friend Dresden. She’s one of those lifelong friends who will always ask the tough questions. She had to even recently remind me it is okay to struggle, perfection is not attainable (even through filters), and life’s too short to lie about “how are you doing” to not only ourselves but also to others.
One the most important moments in the Bible is when Jesus died (duh) but also the moment right after. After Jesus uttered the words “it is finished”, the curtain was torn and the ground began to shake. However, this wasn’t just your normal window curtain that you got at Target when you went to shop for one candle. This was a thick curtain. And it tore – top-to-bottom. It tore and uncovered the room that separated the normal folk like you and me, with the “holiest of holies”.
See, this tearing of the curtain isn’t just a myth. It is a historical fact. So, if you are one of those people who want to yell “COINCIDENCE”, let me tell you I know the author of coincidences too.
Anyways, because this curtain was torn, you can go to Jesus. He is the only way to the Kingdom. Because this curtain was torn, you don’t need to be perfect, the best, or have it all together like that one girl you only know through Instagram. Because this curtain tore, it is okay to feel. It is okay to have a bad day. It is okay to not always abide by the “blessed”, “okay”, or “fine” BS.
Stop pretending. Start feeling. And more importantly, notice the torn curtain. The torn curtain is Jesus saying, “You aren’t perfect. But look what I have done for you. Come as you are.”
The curtain symbolizes that you can be upset about your ex, admit you aren’t living healthy, that your parents divorce still bothers you, or that sometimes at night you wonder why you are here.
But don’t mistake this curtain as a simple “you can cry” fest. It also stands for joy. That Jesus doesn’t care about your image, your filter, and the labels this world has on you. He doesn’t care that you messed up your freshman year in college, or that you went too far with your ex. He doesn’t care if you have a drinking problem or a broken heart. He accepts you and invites you into His embrace, where only He is perfect (and with no filter needed).
So drop your Insta-filter and over-edit app. Forget your conversation filter. Be vulnerable, real, and rejoice because we have a Savior who loves our messy tears and thinks we are beautiful even when our mascara runs. And He reminds us His ways are better, and He knows what He’s doing.
And take five second to soak in the truth that the curtain is torn. Tell a friend this news. And most importantly, admit if you aren’t okay. Because Jesus is perfect and already carried your pain, frustration, filter and trial on the cross.
Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart…
Photocreds: Hannah Henke, Waco Photographer, SHE’S SO GREAT