It's that thing everybody does, but nobody wants to talk about - poop. I do it, you do it, your mom does it...EVERYBODY poops. We have to poop. It's part of the natural human waste elimination process. If you didn't poop, you'd have quite a problem on your hands.
But poop, or at least poop in the sense of waste removal, is NOT what this blog post is about. It's about pooping in a more figurative sense. More specifically, it's about hiding our poop from the world.
Okay, Shannon, you've lost me...what in the heck are you talking about?
I'm getting there, but must issue a WARNING: Shit's about to get real (pun intended).
The person we let people see usually is NOT our TRUE self. The thoughts and feelings we share with the world, many times, are NOT our TRUE thoughts and feelings. They're often the sugar-coated, politically correct, tell them what we think they want to hear thoughts and feelings so that we can be who we think people want us to be not who we really are.
We edit ourselves, change how we speak, act and dress to fit the mold our culture and socially-constructed rules tell us to. Even if that means stifling our true inner self and holding back our authentic thoughts and feelings.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to go buck wild and start offending everyone in your path; there is a way to speak your mind and let your authentic self show without doing that. But first you have to embrace your proverbial poop.
About a month ago, my husband and I started watching the television series You're the Worst on Netflix. On the surface, the show is a raunchy comedy. Two of the main characters let all their dirty laundry hang out and are unapologetic for who they are - AKA the worst. The other characters are appalled and offended, yet drawn to and jealous of these two people who live their lives the way they want and don't hide it.
After finishing an episode about a week ago, it got me thinking - aren't we ALL the worst?
Think about it, we all have our "poop." The stuff we hide from the world. Our fears, mistakes, imperfections, outbursts, skeletons.... It's only natural to want to hide them. Society has taught us that these things are weaknesses and others judge us by our poop.
But I want you to think for a moment about how that poop shapes who you are and how you live your life. I also want you to think about how truly important poop is (both literally and figuratively).
We need poop for proper health and balance. Poop nourishes and sustains life. It fertilizes and stimulates growth. I could go on, but you get the idea.
The bottom line is this: From poop - those deep, dark, messy places in life - some of the most beautiful, nourishing and powerful things are born. The question is, do you embrace and use your poop or discard it?
This past Sunday, my husband and I received an amazing message from Pastor Carl Lentz entitled Embrace the Grace. In this message, Pastor Carl talked about the very thing I'm addressing in this newsletter - poop (although he didn't call it that).
Pastor Carl reminded us that we all like the idea of doing something, but that, many times, we don't want to do the work required to achieve that something. Why? We don't like the process because it includes pain - all that poop that comes between the start and the finish line. But he also reminded us that pain often wakes us up to a problem that we need to pay attention to. Because if we don't, that pain can spread and we will eventually become defined by it.
Coincidentally, I started reading a book on the train ride to church entitled The War of Art. I finished the first "book," which is all about resistance, and it is completely in line with Pastor Carl's message. We resist work because it is hard. It requires us to confront our pain and fears, something that's not easy.
Even more coincidentally, I had already sketched out and planned this month's newsletter more than a week prior. Now if that's not God telling me to write about this, I don't know what is. But I digress...
The bottom line is this. There's a lesson to be learned from our poop - all that messy stuff in life. Embrace it. Use it to learn and grow from. It is a part of you. It is a part of your story.
We all have a story, and poop is in each and every one. We have to plant our seeds, push through the poop and use it to help us grow and burst free from the dark. Don't hide from your poop. It is a part of who you are. It is a part of your journey in this life. YOU decide whether you stay trapped in it or use it to improve your life and the lives of others.
As Pastor Carl so eloquently stated, "You have a right to say, 'This pain will not be my prison, it will be my platform.'"
So I challenge you this month to let your poop be your platform, not your prison. No matter what you're struggling with this month, embrace it. Pull it close. Learn from it and use it.
Finally, I would be remiss if I left without reminding you that everybody poops. So the next time are tempted to judge someone else by their poop, let it be a reminder that you have your own.