Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I just learned something new. You probably already know this - I'm often waaaay behind on things like this, but IRL is often used online, and it means "in real life".

As I discovered this today, I was struck by the realization that we need to clarify between "real life" and "cyber space" in our online communication, as though we live two differing realities. We experience "real life" with the people around us in day to day activities. They see us as we actually are - or at least clearer than those we interact with "virtually". It's easier to portray ourselves as something better, smarter, prettier, funnier, kinder, more organized and a little less real through the internet.

I've seen people leave comments such as, "I know [so and so] IRL, as [he/she] really is a great person!" It's as though we assume most people are lying to us about who they are online...and we create a bustle of thrilled internal applause when it is revealed that "so and so" is truly reflecting his or her self accurately.

As though our lives are not compartmentalized enough - many of us have two separate identities. It’s the saga of WWW vs. IRL.

Let me just clarify a few things about myself, so that there are no major surprises about my own IRL identity. I'm sure even unintentionally I have painted a better image of myself that what truth would reflect. I like to share about the happy and fun and brilliant moments I have...which may be why my posts are few and far between...ha - a lack of brilliant moments. But why share the hard...and ugly...and blah??? First of all - who wants to read about blah...and second, who wants to share the "blah" about themselves? Not me. But here is my reality.

I am a Christian who struggles with making God-honoring decisions everyday.I am impatient with my children at times. I am judgmental in my thoughts about others. I am selfish in my relationship with my husband.

Some days I don't bother to shower...or even change out of my pajamas. Other days I spend far too much time concerned with my appearance.

I am a woman who feels "unlovely" sometimes. I am a grown-up who feels unsure and frightened sometimes.

I speak out when I should just listen. I’ve pretended not to see or hear my children fighting - because I don't want to deal with it. I've burned dinner. [And sometimes we eat cereal for dinner.] I forget ingredients when I bake. I'm often late to everything. I don't clean my bathroom until guests come over. I do not have it all together - I probably don't even have it mostly together. I fail daily in many different ways.

So, if you read my posts and have a rose-colored image of me...go ahead and dispose of that now. IRL, I'm not much different than you. [In fact, I'm probably not as interesting, smart, thoughtful or fun as you are.] I'm just a somebody, sharing stories about the life God has given me, and the experiences He has allowed me to go through. I am blessed. But I also live in the reality of this life...which is imperfect...and my "RL" reflects that. I hope my “WWW” reflects that too.

So there you have it.

No "WWW" or "IRL"...I'm just me. And somehow God uses my life to reflect His beauty - despite my imperfections, and failures. I am so thankful for forgiveness, grace and love.


  1. I love you IRL! What a thoughtful and sincere post. Thank you for confessing that you don't clean your bathrooms unless guests come over . . . me neither!

  2. IRL you are great, lovely, and I never remember going to anyone's house and thinking 'gosh, wonder if this bathroom is ever covered in damp towels, Husband's beard shavings on the sink and a garbage full of used kleenex." I've always thought that a little mess was a comfort so I hope people think that when they come to my house... :) A little clutter makes another mother feel like she isn't so bad... right? :) I love you Heather and let me know if you can get together for coffee sometime... I know it's a busy time of year, but I love you and miss you!


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