Time to be REAL!

Forgive me blog followers, it has been 5 months since my last Heartwork post. I last wrote a week or so after my girlfriend tragically passed away in April. Since that time, a lot has transpired in my spiritual life and I honestly wasn’t sure what I would write about next or if I had it in me to write anymore at all. I used summer as an excuse to take a break. With the kids being home and travel, I figured that was a good enough reason to put writing on the shelf and just “live”! But as it turns out what I was really doing was believing some lies being told to me by you know who!

Well, one thing God always tends to do with me and probably you too, is, He whispers in my ear or I should say to my soul, about things He wants from me and I sometimes wait until He hits me over the head with a 2×4 until I take action. So, here I am, taking action!

I think the “2×4’s” in this particular case were the death of Joan Rivers on Sept. 4th of this year and a very close friend calling on me in her time of need. First, I’ll talk about the legendary, Joan Rivers.
This is a woman that made the world laugh with her sarcasm, her jokes about herself and even her un edited, “not so nice” one liners about other celebs! The thing about Joan was that she didn’t care! She said whatever she felt about whatever she wanted to talk about and she did not care what anybody thought about it. She was authentic. Now, before you get ready to argue with me on that matter, let me cover two important points. 1. No, I don’t think she was always very nice and I don’t think it’s o.k. to just say anything you want to say just to get a laugh or to fit in, that was HER thing, not mine. Although we do have a few similarities! 2. I know, I know, she’s had more plastic surgery than the states of California and Texas combined, so you may wonder, how is that considered authentic, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

What I’ve read about Joan Rivers lately is that she loved life and the people in her life. She laughed big and she loved big and the people who loved her back accepted her for exactly who she was and to me, that’s authentic. Clearly, it took years of jokes, surgery and fame to overcome massive insecurities and pain and she definitely masked that pain with her talent, but at the time of her death, I believe she was in her prime, had faced her struggles and was the REAL person that she was supposed to be!

The second 2×4, which actually came 2 weeks prior to Ms. River’s death, was when a very close friend of mine needed my guidance with a particular situation in her life. This friend knows me very well and she truly loves and accepts every side of me and I feel the same way about her. So, in true fashion, she txts me and says, “Having a bad day. I need a drink”. I asked her if there was anything I could do and she asked me to pray. So I did and I told her do the same thing. Later, I checked in on her and she still wasn’t doing so great, so she asked me to have a drink with her. Now, this was the 2nd day of school and probably the last thing I needed to do was leave my kiddos to have a drink with a friend. However, I knew she really needed me and I could use a drink myself! We talked, we laughed and I gave her my thoughts on what she should do in her situation. Long story short, I followed up with her a couple of days later and she thanked me. She said things were so much better and that perhaps I was “on to something with this God stuff”. I didn’t say I told you so, but I thought it! The reason this was a hit over the head for me is because this is a friend who knows I’m me and I’ll give it to her straight but with a taste of faith and experience. I can laugh with her, have a drink with her, I can pray for her and I can tell her what she needed to hear, not what she wanted to hear and she thanked me for it!
This was a wake up call that God wanted me to write again!

Since my daughter Frankie was a little girl, I would say “be true to yourself” every day before she walked out the door. I still say that to my 3 kids. Be true to yourself. I also say it to myself every day. So, I guess what I’ve been asking myself over these past several months is, “what is my truth”? Will the real Jen Morgan please stand up? And, do I really want her to? Flaws and all?

Here’s the thing. We all have a true personality, the one God crafted when we were in our mother’s womb. However, because of sin, people in our lives, family dynamics, joys, tragedies and all of the different happenings we’ve experienced, that personality that He intended for us gets a little skewed. We maybe even start listening to Satan’s version of what our real personality is and we fall into that. Conceited? Afraid? Shy? Bitter? Stand offish? Fake? Fake Happy? The list goes on and on.
I sometimes let Satan get a hold of me a little bit and tell me that I can’t write a “Christian” blog to women. “You’re a fake Jen. You’re a hypocrite. You’re not a real Christian woman, friend, wife, or mother. Give up this little dream of yours and come follow me. Who are YOU to lead other women to their purpose through pain?” WOW and I listened for a while and I probably will again, but I’m working on that, so please bare with me. He’s a sneaky little guy for sure!
God definitely won the war with the evil one the day my friend reached out to me.

I have determined over the past several weeks that I just want to be REAL and I want the people in my life to be REAL too! Real in this case is not just a word, this REAL is:
I want to admit to myself that I’m far from perfect. I have testified to that on many occasions in this blog and in my day to day life. I am not a pillar of strength and I’m certainly not always the ideal role model for other women looking for who they are in Christ. Y’all know I drink, I cuss, I gossip from time to time, I’m a flirt (my hubby knows this), I’m opinionated, I can be tempted to sin, I DO sin, I can even be a bit moody (who? me?) and the list goes on. What I can tell you is that this is me and I’m trying to be better in the areas that I need to be better but because of the way my life has been woven and because of some of my choices in this life, this is who I am. So, I am Ready to accept that and be accepted in that. I have friends that know this about me and 100% completely accept it. I have others that have chosen to walk away and that is O.K., I totally get it, I’d walk away from me too sometimes! There was a time when I wanted everyone to like me and if you didn’t like me, well then I wanted to know why and I was bound and determined to change your mind. I would even fake who I was to conform to what they wanted me to be. Ugh…I’m so glad I don’t do that anymore! It’s so exhausting.

Embracing it is the next step. I am learning to embrace my truth. I am learning to really love this person, Jen Morgan, and embrace her flaws and imperfections and still love her wit, her sarcasm and her moody side. I’m embracing her when maybe nobody else really wants to. I’m OK with that too!

This all clearly leads to the next two letters in my acronym. Accepting my truth and Living my life as authentically as I possibly can. At the same time, I am Loving myself and the people around me, the people that choose to be around me…the REAL me. I cannot do all of this without the true Love of Christ and His acceptance of me regardless of who I am on any given day. I lift this up to Him every morning.

Lastly, I want to talk about who I am Ready to Embrace and Accept in my Life (REAL)! I recently asked a question 20 random girlfriends on my Facebook page. What is the most important quality that you look for in a true friend and do you possess this same quality?
Needless to say I got several different answers but a few consistent ones were about being non judgmental and real. Also, being loyal and honest. Ladies, these are things that come with our authentic self. A true friend knows you for who you are and can come to you any day, any time with anything and you will be there for them. You will also say what you NEED to say to them, not necessarily want they WANT to hear. That’s truth, that’s authentic and that’s REAL! Remember, also, that I’m not referring to your fun friends! We all have these and need these people in our lives. They may not be our “go to” for the big stuff, but they bring joy and energy to us and that’s a gift in itself. Who knows what you may be able to bring to them someday?

Now, back to Joan Rivers and her plastic surgery. I, for one, thinks that she looked great! A lot of us wear make up, spray tan, work out, get botox (and more), spend a little more on fashion, etc.! Or perhaps, we choose not to pile on the make up, have a more plain sense of fashion, don’t care for the “bling and heel look”! That’s what makes us individuals! It’s beauty in however we choose to “wear” it!
Isn’t it about what’s on the inside that really matters anyway? We know some of it comes with insecurity, jealousy or keeping up with the women around us and that’s unfortunate if and only IF it consumes us, but come on, even some of the most famous MALE pastors put on a little make up and get highlights and botox! You know it’s true!

So, the next time you feel alone or unsure about your truth, focus on who you want to be surrounded by every day and start with your creator and your REAL self! The peace that will embody you upon this realization will most definitely fill you up and pour out on to others!

Matthew 6:1 (The Message) “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”

Start today, pray, look up and get REAL!