Underneath All Our Layers

I step onto the newly mopped floor and my sock sticks. I hop like a crazed rabbit back to the carpet. Looking back at the tile, I tilt my head to one side. Little white patches are dotted across it. Hmm.

When my husband gets home I declare, “I think I bleached the floor!” He doesn’t look too surprised. Odder things have happened in this house.

We investigate together, down on our knees, like a pair of detectives in a bad movie. Finally he says, “I don’t think it’s bleached. I think there’s some kind of film on it.” He scratches at it with his thumbnail and a small flake of grey comes up, revealing white tile beneath.

It turns out our “shine and glow” cleaner has laid down a pretty thick coat of wax–along with trapping a fair amount of dirt.

I’m horrified. I vaguely wonder if my husband will be taken away from me because our home environment is unfit. So I haven’t been the mopper of the century but I certainly didn’t think we were walking across that

We research how to strip the floor and my hubby tackles it one weekend. I can hardly look at the bucket. I perch outside the door in my pajamas and ponder how this came to be.

All this time I thought I was cleaning and I was actually sealing in what I wanted to get out.

It’s not the first time.

I used to be master of the layers.

A friend would asks me how I was on a bad day and I’d reply, “I’m fine.” Layer of wax, a little dirt trapped.

An email from someone I don’t even know would hurt my feelings. I’d tell myself, “It’s okay.” Another layer.

A disagreement would leave me wounded. I’d say, “It’s not really a big deal.” More layers.

Then a few years ago I noticed some dots on the floor of my heart, a little more authenticity showing through. I wanted to cover them up in a hurry. But it seemed God whispered instead, “This is what I want people to see. It’s time to strip away some of this stuff.”

And He did. Bit by bit.

At first I was horrified.

Then relieved.

And, finally, free.

We aren’t meant to put on a coat of wax to shine for the world. God can handle our grit. Our mess. He knows how to deal with it in a way that brings healing and even reveals beauty.

In the corners of my kitchen, I can still see bits of wax. They peer out at me like little reminders of the past. Over time I’ll find a way to get them all.

Because I want the real deal–maybe not as shiny but clean and bright and cool beneath my feet.

A place I can stand tall.



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picture by tuchodi

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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