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the lip-biting syndrome.


Where are all my enneagram type 1’s at???


>>>>high five<<<<


Confident.

Motivated.

Dependable.

Strong-willed.

Perfectionist.

I grew up with a sense of always appearing that I had it all together. When I was 12, my parents divorced. As a pastor’s kid, it was a pretty public thing + I can remember trying really hard to not show how much I was hurting. One day, a pastor came over to our house to meet with my sister’s + I. The pastor spoke most of the time, with a genuine concern to make sure we were doing ok. You would never know that for the entire meeting, my lower lip had a permanent indent in it from biting it so hard to try + keep from falling apart. I mean, surely I couldn’t show my sisters or the pastor how bad I was hurting; especially since he kept telling us how proud he was that we were all doing so well amidst our broken family.

In my 12 year old heart, being loved = having it all together. Our pastor said he was proud of us, but my little mind thought it was only because we never spoke of our hurt.

It wasn’t his fault. How could he know?


During that time, perfectionism + performance were awakened. If it wasn’t perfect, I didn’t show it. Be it my outer appearance, my home, my heart. All of the above.


Boy did that wreak havoc in my life.


Do you know the number one way to experience burnout? When your insides + outsides don’t match up. When what you’re living + what you’re believing are at war with each other. From the outside, I was 100%. Always ready to go. Always happy. Always giving. And it’s not that I wasn’t that on inside as well. But there was more… so much more.


My heart held so much hurt. Hurt caused by others; hurt caused by believing lies about myself. I had such a poor view of myself + truly believed that I wasn’t very valuable or worth anything.


Can you see my little 12 year old self? All happy + together on the outside but believing to her core that she wasn’t worth anything.


The perfect recipe for burnout.

And that’s exactly what happened.

**************


When we moved into our current home 6 years ago, it was a true time capsule from 1994. Orange-y trim/floors/doors/kitchen cabinets, old carpet, peach walls, pink formica countertops, mustard yellow exterior w/ poop brown trim.


I wish I was kidding.


But there was something about it. Up until this house, we had been looking at new, pretty + finished homes. We were selling our custom home after only 3 years + on the hunt for something “better.”


But every home fell flat. Every home meant our payment increased significantly. And that just didn’t sit right with either of us.


So we prayed with open hands. We surrendered our wishlist of white cabinets + acreage to whatever Jesus had for us.


It wasn’t long before a friend texted me to check out a home that had been on the market for about a year. She snapped a pic of it + sent it to me. At first I laughed. I don’ think I even showed my hubby. But then I remembered that our heart’s desire was to keep our hands + hearts open.


So we toured the property.

And 1 month later, we moved in.


I can’t really explain it, but something broke (in a good way) when we closed on this home. My husband + I were in the thick of starting a church + walking out of a really dark season in our marriage. In fact, that was a huge reason we decided to sell our custom home. To say we were swimming in stress didn’t even touch it. We were drowning + needed a miracle.


Burnout was in full effect.


It may sound weird to say that moving into an older home changed so much for us. We didn’t need “better”, we needed the best. And the best was something old + outdated so that we could see the tangible transformation of what Jesus was doing within us.


But there was more.

The best also meant finding the beauty in the in-between. It meant inviting others into our world amidst orange kitchen cabinets. Amidst cat pee stained carpet. Amidst poop brown trim. It meant giving others permission to live life with us + not just seeing our family via our highlight reel.


Right after we moved in, my husband + I were sitting outside on the porch, overlooking acres + acres of grass that belong to the school. Adorned in scrappy work clothes from tearing out the kitchen, we had just finished our monthly Zoom call with our marriage counselors + were debriefing over a beer in some camping chairs.


Our hearts were full.


Finally, our outsides matched our insides.

And even if we wanted to, faking it was not an option.

Scrappy.

Tired.

Overwhelmed.

But full of joy.


Moving into this house released something in me to live life with people EVEN THOUGH it didn’t reflect who I was. It allowed me to see that there is beauty in the in-between. That there can be lovely, even amidst the ugly.


And that’s where true joy is found.


What would happen if you let people love you no matter what… amidst the hurt, amidst the ugly, amidst the construction zone?

If I could just go back + hold that 12 year old lip-biting, little girl, I would.

For healing is found in the imperfectness of life.

Beauty is found in the in-between.