Lauren Michelle Dowler
THE COVER STORY
"Optimism is powerful, but #perfectionism is blind."
My life is tucked in, not a pillow touched or a streak on the bathroom mirror. Every morning I awake to the sound of blue jays chirping outside my bedroom window and when I pull back the drawstrings there isn’t a cloud in the sky. When I breathe out I’m amazed to discover there’s no rancid scent and somehow a hairbrush isn’t necessary because every strand resides perfectly in place. I sleep through the night and don’t even need to wake for a sip of water. My energy tank is at maximum capacity so there’s no need to depend on gallons of caffeine. How are your finances? On point. Family life? Absolutely no abnormalities. Stress levels? Hunky dory, even keel.
LET’S GET REAL.
Optimism is powerful, but #perfectionism is blind.
Now there are times when the sun is shining, Mr. Bluebird's on my shoulder, and no hairbrush is necessary because I put my hair up in a bun. There are times when the world oozes with color and I twirl and skip down the street, shameless as I walk to my own beat. There have been numerous days when I’ve lifted my eyes and seen past my selfishness and insecurities to the people living and breathing in front of me. I’ve come a long way.
See, I grew up with a perfectionist mentality. People often referred to me as being “perfect”; as a complement my pastor even referred to me as #MotherTheresa. While deemed a saint, even she would not claim perfection. I knew I wasn’t perfect, and let me tell you, my family did as well. I was striving to maintain a standard that was unattainable. The day I realized I didn’t have to keep face, was the day I experienced freedom at its finest. It was the same day I was asked to tell my story. The testimony of how I came to know Jesus? I had it down pat. But when 24 of us from 12 nations were asked to take as much time as we needed to tell our LIFE stories… that was a whole ‘nother ball game.
Maybe you’re like me. When asked to tell my story I was like a deer in headlights. I didn’t know I had a story. As I sat down with a pen and blank piece of paper I had no idea where to begin.
· I was born.
· Raised in San Diego.
· Family of 5, two brothers
Bullet point after bullet point I journeyed my way through 18 years of life surprised to discover that it wasn’t all easy. My life was not perfect, and as others shared, it was clear that theirs wasn’t either.
If we’re honest, mashed up into all of our lives is the AMAZING, the GOOD, the BAD, and sometimes the outright UGLY. If we can be real about the entirety of our #stories, it’s not only healing for us, but also has the potential to change the #life of another.