Copy cat.

This weird thing happened in our home a few months ago.  It went something like this.  “Wait, I have to grab my phone.”  Then, because I have a 3Gs everyone would have to pause for 3 minutes while things were loading.  I would take a photo and then spend the next few minutes choosing filters and coming up with something to say about what we were doing just now.

Family board game nights, hockey watching, walks, dinners, boys practicing piano, the dog sliding down a slide, trips to the beach, reading on the couch, playing chess, every cool coloured wall, walking, eating, sleeping and almost just breathing were things that just had to be documented.

They had to be documented not for my own keeping or to treasure in my heart.  No, they had to be documented for others to see.  (hello, narcissism.) So that people could leave comments and quips and click that little heart beside whatever we had going on just then.

Now, don’t hear me judge.  If you love instagram then you keep on loving it!  Using it!  Hitting those hearts!  This is just a story about me and my fam.  Y’know, cause it’s my blog.

The crazy thing is that my oldest boy had an instagram account too.  We had to approve who his friends were and kept it to a close circle.  We made rules about the sorts of pictures he could post.  We were responsible parents, I think.  But the part that got a little ridiculous was that he was taking photos of everything!

Family board game nights, hockey watching, walks, dinners, boys practicing piano, the dog sliding down a slide, trips to the beach, reading on the couch, playing chess, every cool coloured wall, walking, eating, sleeping and almost just breathing were things that just had to be documented.

ummm, right.

He was doing exactly what I was doing.  It’s funny how you don’t see the wrong in yourself until someone very near to you is doing the very same thing and it bothers you.  So I would get snappy about how we didn’t have time for that right now or how he didn’t always have to take pictures of everything – some things should just be remembered.  Private.  Cherished in your heart.  For our family and not for anyone else.

But he was really just copying what he saw.  He wasn’t doing anything different than what I was doing.

After I made the decision to leave instagram, while he didn’t delete his account, he all but left too.  It was suddenly no longer ‘the thing’ to do in our home and so he didn’t do it either.  Not because we said he couldn’t.  He just didn’t.  Like, at all.  Of his own accord.

I asked him the other day why he doesn’t and he shrugged and muttered something like, “I don’t even know where that phone is and I just thought we didn’t do that anymore.”  No big deal.  No big talks.  No convincing to do as I do.  It just happened.

This little moment in our families life pointed out to me, yet again, the power of influence we have over our children.  For the good and for the bad!  With our words and with no words at all!  Our kids are watching us and soaking up everything we do, say and basically are.  What a huge responsibility on us for how we are talking, acting and even the motive of our hearts in all things!

This morning I read 2 Kings (yes.  I may never get through 2 Kings.) and these words jumped off the page at me.  “Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving idols.  To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”  (2 Kings 18:41)

Our little instagram saga instantly came to mind.  Of course.  This isn’t anything new.  Our children and our grandchildren see what we do.  We worship the Lord, but let’s not kids ourselves, we also worship idols.  Maybe not in the form of golden calves or sacrifices of fire but we do.  In the form of instagram, seeking hearts and likes.  In the form of how we portray ourselves, seeking affirmation and encouragement.  In our choices of clothing, keeping current and with name brands that may stroke our ego just a bit.  In how we decorate our house, are we modern or vintage or a perfect eclectic mix of both.  In the way we spend our time, online, in front of the tv or constantly on our phone.  Of course there are a million others things we can worship.  Anything, as a matter of fact.  Sports teams and musicians and other people around us.  Having stuff, not having stuff, even the very type of sugar we have in our cupboards can be an idol.  Because if we’re more caught up with image than we are with Christ himself than the things with which we’re caught up become our idols.

Our hearts are little idol factories that have been embedded with a need to worship.  It’s why people get crazy about stuff.  It’s how we were hard wired.  So if we’re not worshipping the one worthy of all of our worship, God himself, then we’re going to find other places to pour into.

Even Instagram.

That verse in 2 Kings just hit it back home for me.  It says that even WHILE they were worshiping the Lord, they were serving idols.  So it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s just one or the other.  We can get caught up with idols even while we’re serving the Lord.  Ouch.

And the second part – to this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.

To this day.  Because, of course they did!

It’s reevaluation time around here (again).  It’s time to take stock of what exactly I’m teaching my kids every single day.  When I grumble about the rain (again), or how they see me spend my time, or I criticize aspects of our very own church (I know! shame.)  What are they hearing from me?  What are they seeing in my actions?  Is my heart constantly taking them to Jesus or am I serving the Lord and idols all at the same time.  I’m thinking the latter.  And more than anything I don’t want them to learn this from me.  I want them to learn that I’m all in.  That it’s Jesus and everything else comes after.  That we worship him and him alone and the rest we can be joyful in, thankful for, and delight in, but not raise to a point of idolatry.

As always, the heart is tricky business and it’s time to take a good hard look in.  For them and for me.

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