I attended a three day women's event with 60 beautiful women of all ages.
We all arrived at our new "home away from home" with "our shoes shined and looking fine." Pleasantries were exchanged as we smiled at one another.
While unpacking suitcases, I am pretty sure that everyone was accessing one other. "They have it all together." "They would never understand." "They… they… they…" When we allow our minds to play these games, we personally come up short. We don't measure up. Why in the world do we put ourselves through this?
Within 24 hours, the layers began to peel back and real life entered the arena. Those shiny shoes were kicked off and brokenness was revealed. Addictions. Cancer. Children recently buried. Prodigal children. Hanging on to life with a thin thread. Bad choices with severe consequences. Broken relationships. Widows figuring out their "new normal." Fear. Disappointment. And the list went on. Everyone had a story.
We live in a messy world. We live in the midst of pain and suffering. We all have beautiful moments of joy, we all have terrible moments of sorrow. Every person experiences "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
What if we stopped trying to figure out how we measure up to one another? What if we looked at others in our everyday life with a recognition that underneath the facade lies someone who has been hurt or is presently hurting? Would we be kinder? Would we be more courteous? Would we let them go first in the check out line? Would we look them in the eye and smile? Would we say, "How are you today?" and mean it? Would we be open to praying for them - even if we did not know their names?
I dare say that we would be transformed into a people who thought a little less of ourselves and a whole lot more of others. And our little world would be a better place. A much better place!