Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG)
This is a picture from last weekend. We took an overnight trip with some dear friends to celebrate birthdays and Mother’s Day. I posted it to Instagram (since I’m a Facebook drop-out and happy about it) Saturday evening after it was taken. That’s what we do. We post those cute, adorable and blemish free photos for friends and family to stay connected, right?! Are we really any better than the fashion and make-up marketing people?
It really isn’t a bad thing unless we use the pictures we see of others to compare ourselves. We compare, we judge, we sulk and we can easily become dissatisfied with our own lives. And for what? So often we fail to recognize that behind every perfect looking picture is a bunch of flawed – sinful people trying their best to stay sane, be kind, use nice words and, by God’s grace, keep a family together. However, I don’t know anyone who takes a picture of themselves when they first wake-up with no make-up on or a picture of their child having a temper tantrum in the middle of grocery store – do you? There are many things in my life I THANK God haven’t been documented with picture or video, but they still happened.
It takes courage to put the fear of judgement aside and be honest, authentic and transparent with others. It takes courage and strength (that can only come from God) to keep our minds focused on the “things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” God has driven this point home to me over and over lately. I’m on a mission to help women put this fear aside so that when another mom says, “I yelled at my children and told them leave me alone!” they don’t say, “Oh, I’ll pray for you.”, but instead say, “You know what? I have days like that too. Just the other day I told my child . . . . ”
So what is the behind the scenes story of the family photo in this blog? In the 24 hours leading up to taking this picture we had: a lot of smiles, great memory making, fabulous food, hugs, appreciation and laughter ALONG WITH 3 sassy comments, 2 crying meltdowns, 1 pleading session, 30 minutes of being short-tempered, 1 “It’s not fair” and two “I’m bored” moments.
Behind the scenes isn’t always as glamorous as we like to portray it. As I practice turning over my fear of judgement to my gracious and very forgiving Heavenly Father, I’m becoming more at peace about others whispering behind my back and the bless her heart – what is she doing as a Christian author comments when I’m honest about anger, yelling at my kids and slamming a door. I just remind myself – we are all cut from the same cloth. The same sinful imperfect cloth. Anyone willing to join me in embracing the truth, putting down the mask and stepping out in the forgiveness and freedom we have in Christ to try again. We may not get it perfect until we reach Heaven’s gates, but knowing we are forgiven and able to stand up and try to do it right again and again certainly helps my heart and desire to live closer to God, His strength, His will and His grace.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)