This week I read a post on Donald Miller’s blog. He talked about character versus reputation and the two concepts rattled inside of me the rest of the week, leaving me unsure why I couldn’t shake them. A few days later I bought some Round Up for killing the weeds in my front yard and somehow that helped clear things up for me.

A little over three and a half years ago, days before our third son was born, our pipes had to be replaced. In classic money pit style, none of it could be done the easy way, so our yard got torn up in the process and has yet to recover.

Now our front yard is FULL of weeds (seriously, there is nothing left but weeds) for a few reasons. Number one: replacing the pipes meant ruining our sprinkler system which then put the project into the completely overwhelming category. Number two: neither my husband nor I enjoy gardening. At all. Number three: the economy hit us too. Number four: we have been living out our value that the people in our home are more important than landscaping.

As I sprayed the weeds I thought about how the landscaping outside our home is representative of our reputation, what others think of us. But what happens inside our home with our family is our character, who we truly are. In Donald Miller’s post he encourages his readers to focus more on character in 2012 and less on reputation. If you drive by our home and see our yard, you will clearly see how my husband and I have let go of our reputation.

Now, I wouldn’t say either of us likes coming home to the ugliest yard in the neighborhood, but we know we will get to it as soon as we have the resources. Unfortunately, our neighbors seem to care more about our reputation than we do. In addition to some pointed tips people have felt free to give us, we have also received two anonymous notes from disgruntled neighbors. Our neighbors are uncomfortable with how our yard makes them look.

And as I sprayed some more weeds it occurred to me that not only were these two concepts playing out in my home, they were also playing out inside of me, and that’s probably why my brain has not been able to stop thinking about that darn post.

Last year I made some difficult decisions to pause contact with a few family members in order to take care of the inside of me. My home – the inside of me – was in shambles and I needed to draw the shades and block out the world in order to tend to my insides. I knew it would not be a popular decision and it would make me look bad to any number of people who might find out about or be affected by this choice. My “yard” – my reputation – was likely to take a hit.

But I did get better. In ways and to degrees that I did not think were possible this side of Heaven. I am still normal and human but I am also new and healed where before I was broken and wounded. And now I am ready to re-establish contact. But this week it occurred to me that although I am ready and willing, re-connecting might not be possible.

In addition to being hurt by my need for space, these family members might prefer the relationship they had with the old me. They might not be interested in what I have to offer them now.

So as I sprayed more weeds I saw my choices to tend to the inside and let the outside go for a while – both in my home and in my self – come at a cost. My husband and I are the black sheep of the neighborhood now. The people around us don’t like our priorities. They might like them in theory when they are making small talk at a block party, but in practice when they are making their neighborhood look bad, they are not fans. And my choices to focus on the inside of me may have cost me to loose some family relationships permanently, which was never my intention.

Donald Miller failed to mention that sometimes choosing character over reputation isn’t as easy or clear-cut as it sounds. He didn’t talk about the cost of such choices. However even now, seeing the cost of my choices, I am not sorry I made them. I would make them all over again. My kids were worth my front yard, and I was worth the cost too. Even if the price ends up being higher than I originally thought.

26 thoughts on “insideout

  1. Roxanne says:

    Rebecca, You couldn’t have said this any better. Beautiful post, beautiful heart, beautiful thoughts. Love you!

  2. Jaclyn says:

    Wow, this was great, Becca. I have been feeling I may have to do some healing of my insides and this post really resonated with me. So thank you for writing it.

    Miss you lots,

  3. Ian says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    first of all, thanks for coming by my blog, i’ve added you to my blog reader. secondly, i’m sorry for the grief you take for tending the garden of your soul instead the lawn outside your door. i do want to encourage you to stay the course because it looks like a beautiful course from where i stand.
    grace, peace and hope to you on your journey.

  4. Char says:

    Hi Rebecca! Love this post, thanks for sharing your heart! Love the lawn/body analogy!
    You put into words exactly what I went through several years ago with a family member. We have since reconnected but I think the “separation” will never completely bridge so long as I remain committed to not going back to the way things were!
    Doing the right thing is often not popular, understood, or easy but always worth it!
    Blessings! Char

  5. 4x6daily says:

    i want to be just like you when i “grow-up”!

  6. Wow! Being out of town when you posted, this is my first chance to read what’s been brewing, but you really nailed a GREAT analogy that helps make it hard to deny anyone the chance to take care of their home/insides. You know it breaks my heart to think some might not be able to reconcile with this, but moreso, I find myself soooo delighting in your health and the fact you DID take care of you. Andrew Carnegie’s “Anything in life worth having is worth working for!” YOU are worth it all! Love you and admire and respect you so much for doing the difficult! (sorry, I couldn’t help but want to treat this one like a facebook, echoing everyone’s appreciation and encouragement along the way)

    • itsakoolife says:

      Thanks so much, Karen! You have been such a great cheerleader and support. I know all of this is hard for you, but I see you growing so much in the process, too. And I love all your comments! I was on someone else’s blog and they had “like” buttons for each comment. I wondered how they did that (probably paid for it), but I was thinking of you!!!

  7. Great post. It is hard sometimes to make those tough choices to move towards wholeness. Families do have strange dynamics sometimes… especially ones where there are unhealthy relationships etc. Years ago I reached a point where I realized that God’s heart for me was healing and restoration, and for that to be possible, I needed to remove myself from some horrible relational patterns that had plagued our family for years. It was hard and there were people who didn’t appreciate it at first, but I found that as I became more healthy, I was able to have more healthy contact with the other people, and in the process our relationship was stronger and it was a catalyist for change in their lives too. We have a similar front “yard” for the same reason. Luckily we live in a little more rural area where that’s the norm. 🙂

    • itsakoolife says:

      Thanks so much my friend! I appreciate hearing a bit of your story here and just knowing you came to visit! Someday if I get to see your yard I promise I won’t judge! 🙂

  8. Diane says:

    I like your analogy. It fits. I’m also grateful for your health. Press on, friend, and in the sifting let the chaff blow away. Love you!

  9. […] ever so discouraging – do not define the man. These things will pass and are on the outside. The inside is where the man […]

  10. […] Don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me that all this rain is going to make my weeds grow back again. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", […]

  11. […] not the most enchanting creatures. They are slimy and – dare I say – gross. And now that the weeds are mostly gone (at least for the time being), they cover my walkway after the slightest bit of […]

  12. […] on the outside, the tangible things we see, our behaviors. I want the world to be better from the inside out. Better because people care more. About the environment. About one another. About […]

  13. […] clearing and watering and digging and digging. Our yard is a far cry from what it was back on my Insideout […]

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