Sometimes I struggle with knowing what to write. Other times it is so very clear to me that I cannot open my blogger page fast enough to start typing. Today is one of those times.
I have been perusing other blogs while waiting for my girls to fall asleep, as I do from time to time. I really only read one blog regularly, the anderson crew, but I check out a few others every week or two. And I noticed something today--the reason I'm drawn to Emily Anderson's blog. Every other blog I looked at had beautiful pictures of fancy meals the blogger had prepared for her family, recipes for holiday-themed desserts or entrees, pictures of beautifully decorated children's rooms and organized play rooms, clean kids dressed in nice clothes (even when they're playing outside!), craft ideas, and step-by-step pictures of the blogger doing fun projects with their kiddos. I very rarely see any messy rooms or dirty kids, or read about any real struggles. Except on Emily's blog.
And we wonder why we are all so discouraged with ourselves as parents, wives, friends, and people in general. When the world around us is portrayed as perfect, we easily fall under the assumption that we are the only ones whose lives aren't picture perfect. Although I'm certain the the writers of the blogs I viewed actually do the things they write about, I'm equally certain that they have days when the house is messy, they serve cereal for breakfast, and they let their child watch TV instead of making gum ball necklaces. I was reminded why I started this blog and was re-motivated to keep it as real as possible.
Why is it we are all so determined to paint ourselves in the best light? I do it too. That's why I am more determined than ever to use this blog as a reality check for myself and others. We all have good days when the kitchen's clean, the laundry is washed, folded, and put away, and we even have time to make a craft or two with our kiddos. If we all had blogs that only documented that stuff we'd be looking good too, sisters! But we all know the truth about our homes, the occasional chaos or lazy days. And it's hard to not compare our reality to the slightly distorted reality we see around us.
So, I'd like to propose a radical idea: let's quit comparing ourselves to others--whether it be what we see on "reality" shows, what we hear from our peers, or what we read in blogs. Because if I was a betting woman, I'd be willing to wager big bucks that we very rarely get the complete picture.
In an air-brushed world, let's commit to having "real" days, full of laughter, activity, and yes even struggles, because that's what makes us stronger. May we "glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts..." (Romans 5:3-5). So rejoice that your reality isn't picture perfect, let it give you hope! And there will be no shame because the Most High God loves you. I hope that gives you confidence. I hope each of you is overwhelmed with the awesome awareness that you are beautifully and wonderfully made; you are uniquely designed (different from one another!) to display God's glory; and you are not just loved but loved unconditionally. We can't do a thing to make Him love us more; so, let's quit striving for perfection--only God is perfect. And we can't do a thing to make Him love us less; no matter how much junk we feed our kids or how much housework we leave undone, we are "holy and blameless" in His sight (Ephesians 1). None of us is superior or inferior; He loves us all the same. I hope that in the beauty of your imperfect life, you are learning to rest in His perfect love.
P.S. Just in case the enemy tempts you compare yourself to me, causing you to think that (because I wrote this) I am someone who has completely grasped these truths and no longer struggles with insecurity, rest assured I say these things as much as a reminder to myself as an encouragement to anyone else! Typing out the Scriptures was a therapeutic salve to my soul on this particular day when my enemy threatened to render me useless by leading me into a pothole of insecurity. But, thanks to my Savior, I am re-energized to tackle what an hour ago seemed a daunting to-do list. And even if I have to leave some "to-do's" undone, we will get outside to play today.