You know that friend who has it all together? The hair, the makeup, the house. She chaperones every field trip in your kids’ class and brings the homemade organic cupcakes to birthday parties. Ok, maybe this is just my nightmare. But we all have that “perfect” friend. The one who makes us feel like a weirdo, just by breathing near us. Today’s guest (and my dear friend), Diane Bailey, shares about a recent run-in she had with Ms. Perfect. . . and her own wonderful weirdness.
It was one of those days where my weirdness tripped over my insecurity. My grandchildren had arrived that morning, and I buckled the three and four year olds into their car seats and took them with me to finish a few errands.
I prayed, “God, please don’t let me see anyone I know at the store.” (Walking around in three day old jeans and two day old hair is not when you want to see old friends.)
When we got there, we walked to the back of the store where the shampoos are shelved, and this is where my luck ran out. The four year old took something from the three year old. The three year old flopped down in the middle of the floor crying loudly as the four year old took off running with the “treasure” balled in his fists.
With the three year old under my arm like a twenty-pound sack of flour, I ran like mad to catch the renegade child. Dodging people and center isle displays without incident, I tried to outrun this small one. Despite my advantage of longer legs, he was outrunning me anyway.
And that’s when I saw her: the woman I would love to be.
“Insecurity happens when we’re trying to live someone else’s quirks.” –Laurie Wallin, Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful.
We’ve known each other since back when we attended the same church. She’d been an actress in Hollywood in her twenties and still had a glamorous, movie star look.
Our eyes met as I ran past the Bare Mineral counter trying to catch the four year old before he reached the glass bottles of perfume.
Her perfectly arched eyebrows lifted, cool blue eye seemed to say what I was thinking about myself: “You look weird.”
I smiled and said, “Hi” as I finally caught the escapee child. Then finished my transaction and left. By the time I finally got into my car, I had to force back tears.
The truth is, I felt like a woman out of control in the store, and I wanted that other woman to admire me as much as I admired her.
I sat in the car and faced my insecurity and my weirdness. “Why do I care what she thinks? Why do I need to dress as nicely as she does? What if her strength is decorum and dressing nicely, and mine is being a playful grandmother in her jeans and wild hair?”
As I thought about it, our two weirdnesses actually began to look more like strength and character.
My three-day-old jeans and messy hair reveals what really matters to me: a life full with friends, job and family. My grandchildren love being with me because we cook, and hike around the woods, and pick wild flowers and don’t care if we get dirty.
I’m weird this way. God delighted in me—took joy in my uniqueness, my irregular patterns, and my weirdness. He said, “It is good,” because He has purposes in the odd, and the weird. Purposes like this one:
“He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:4 The Message)
There is purpose in our weirdness—mine, and yours (and the “perfect” woman at the store’s!) It is natural for us to want to do a good job and have others give us a two-thumbs-up. It is natural for us to want approval and admiration, but when we give the power of approval into the hands of people, we will never feel good enough.
“Natural tendencies aren’t good or bad in themselves, but they positively or negatively affect us and others depending on who is powering them.” –Laurie Wallin, Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful.
What do you wish you could hide around that “perfect” friend? What if you saw that part of you as strength instead?
Diane W. Bailey is the author of String of Pearls (BorderStone Press, 2011) which shares how we can take our sorrows to Christ, and like a grain of sand in an oyster becomes a pearl, our sorrows become a testimony of Christ in our lives. Diane is married to Joseph and they share four children, two stepchildren and two birth children for each of them. They have three grandchildren who they call “Rewards for not resigning from parenthood.” A guest on numerous radio shows, she also shares her story, encouragement, and beautiful photos on her blog (DianeWBailey.net), Twitter and Facebook page.