I read something this week that bothered me, though I know it to be true. It was about social media and the fact that we only portray the parts of our world that we want to – which is, of course, a hundred thousand billion percent true.
I only tell you what I want you to know.
The article went on to talk about the sunshine factor and how our portrayal was only good. How we put our best foot forward and only talk about the pretty, shiny things in our lives. It was at this point that I wanted to jump up and down and yell, “Nuh huh!”
C’mon, how many times have I told you what an awful job I was doing at something, how I dropped the parenting ball again, how I didn’t make my kid a homemade birthday cake and how I was feeling insecure about everything? Need more – dig through the archives.
So while yes, I choose what I put forward – don’t we all, in all facets of our lives? Just because we see each other face to face doesn’t mean we’re being any more truthful – does it? We can all look pretty put together and plaster on a smile if that’s what we want the world to see, whether it’s online or over coffee.
I was chatting with my son last night, one who is much like me on many levels, and his very unrefined comment was that he couldn’t stand people who were happy all the time. The people who laugh too loud and are always grinning and who always look like they just stepped out of a magazine.
While his judgement is too broad and sweeping – I understood his heart in the matter. And I could nod my head along with his reflections as he talked of people who put forth the perfect life and the perfect kids and who probably sing kumbaya each night together.
Again – unfair, and yes I talked to him about judging people when we don’t know their story but I also heard him. And I agreed with him. I don’t function well under a facade. I don’t live well behind a mask. Yes, I might share too much sometimes but I’d rather the vulnerability of that than the stress of trying to be something I could never be. And something I’m not expected to be. And a picture of someone who doesn’t need Jesus because I’ve got it all together all by themselves. Trust me, I’ve got nothing together by myself.
So with that – I’m here to tell you exactly about how I am. Right now.
There are a few avenues I’m pursuing that are giving me life and joy and passion right now. I love the work that I do. I get to be part of a team that’s goal is to bring help and hope to every marriage and family – it’s an honour.
And I often feel completely incapable. Like I’m winging it amongst professionals and somehow I’ve duped them into thinking I have a handle on it all. I don’t. I’m doing my best and using my gifts but it’s rare that I don’t feel a bit in over my head – at least at some point in my week.
I’m a really great at home mom. Before you hate me for saying those words, let me explain. When my kids get home from school – and we get to sit around on kitchen counters and talk and laugh and discuss our days over random snacks pulled out of various cupboards – I’m a great mom. When it comes to my kids handing me papers to fill out from school, things that are expected of me, having structured homework time and studying for tests – I’m a horrible mom. Don’t argue with me. You have no clue, and it’s true. I expect my kids to do their homework on their own, study on their own, and I’ve never really instilled in them a, ‘let me sit and help you and we’ll get through this together’ vibe. Instead I say things like, “that’s your responsibility and if you need help you need to talk to your teacher.” I love school. I just don’t love doing my kids school. It feels like a lot of work and I pass the buck to their dad or anyone else who may be able to help. I fear I haven’t set them up well for future education.
I’ve been led into a new area of ministry over the past few months and it got real last night as I went for volunteer training at our local federal prison. I don’t know how to explain it but having done prison ministry many (many!) years ago, it felt good to be back within the gated yard and buzzered doors. Everyone is called to different things and somehow I feel like these are my people. These are the women I want to be around. Not to change them or turn them into versions of me but to get to know, to be a face that wants to hear their story, to let them know that they are valuable and worthy of dignity and respect. My heart longs for them to know deeply that they are image bearers of Christ and nothing they have done can keep them from His love. I want them to know that I’m not judging them or coming in with preconceived notions of who they are, but rather – just like on social media – they can present themselves as whomever they wish to be, no judgement, no shame, and no matter what I will be back. I want them to know that I’m not a voyeur wanting an inside scoop on what they’ve done but instead for them to know that they have support from someone outside of those walls.
Think that sounds all good, right? Right. Except I’ve been neglecting my husband as of late. So whatever picture you had of me and sainthood? You can just put a big X through my face. He’s a grown up and so I tend to think he needs me the least. I tend to think he can manage on his own. (which, of course, he can) When life gets busy or other things are more urgent – he’s the first to have to take a back seat with my time and my affection. It sucks for him. Or – I think it does. Cause somehow preparing food for Thanksgiving meals becomes more important than spending time with him, and ministry outside of the home can seem more gratifying than loving him well, and because I know that he’ll be there next week – other imminent things win over putting work into our relationship. And let’s be honest – a working mama with 3 teens and an outside ministry? She’s tired.
I’m also not nailing meals – if you really want to know. Last night was turkey soup (thank you – leftovers) and grilled cheese eaten on the fly and without a vegetable in sight.
I’m pretty sure I said something mean about one of our neighbours yesterday. Like, out loud. And I went in public last week in the clothes I slept in the night before. And I don’t understand the pumpkin spice phenomenon. And I want to bury my head in the sand and not hear another word about American politics for as long as I live and I’m praying Jesus just comes before we know who makes it into office.
There you have it, folks. 1,200 words of your time that you can never get back.
I never want to just put forth the pretty or the good, but I also know I can err on laying out the bad in a way that is unrepentant for it but just laughs because #momfail – neither is good or right. And dare I say this could be a place where the internet gets a bit honest? I think so.
When my kids were in their younger schooling years they had to do something called 3 stars and a wish. They had to basically write down 3 things they were good at and then one thing they hoped to be better at. It annoyed me because I had to help them.
But now I’m thinking it’s kind of awesome. My 3 stars today are this – taking a leap on a new ministry that I feel quite unqualified for, managing to raise 3 boys and keep them alive for so many years and saying no to a few things that I REALLY wanted to say yes to but knew would just take too much from other things I was already committed to. Yay, me!
My wish? That veggies would find their way back to our table beyond the form of baby carrots and that my husband would move back up the veritable list on things of importance. He’s the most important and he needs to know it.
Warning: these could all change by tomorrow!
What are you nailing these days? Tell me your 3 stars and a wish!