Last week I had a humbling experience. And while I would like to keep it to myself and not admit my weakness, I feel like we can learn from each other’s mistakes…so why not start with making an example of myself.
This online world can be a tough one to navigate, especially as women.
Take a moment and scroll through Facebook or Instagram and you will likely find someone who seems to have it more put together than you. Perfect kids, happy family, no worries, making money from blogging….it’s all there in some way, shape or form.
And if you are someone like me and struggle with feelings of self-worth and doubt, those “have it all people” can stir feelings of jealousy and envy.
I’d like to say that I didn’t get there but I did. And when we are filled with those negative feelings, we run the risk of pouring out the bad onto others. And that is what I did.
A blogger that I have followed since 2007 posted recently about taking a blogging break. I think that’s great and there have been times here that I have been quiet because I haven’t felt called to share anything.
This blogger started out a lot like me, wadding the waters of this online space in those early years, sharing her life and her family, making memories. But somewhere along the way she started getting opportunities to review products, to work with brands and make an income off of her time spent in the online space.
I have seen it all over, except in my little corner of the www. My numbers haven’t grown, I don’t make a dime off of blogging and really I am ok with that. But at the same time I was jealous of those that did. Hypocrite much?!
So when this blogger posted about her break I commented that I supported it. And then I followed up that support with a bunch of word-vomit that I was tired of sponsored posts and how I wanted to go back to the good-ol’ days of blogging where people just shared their faith and family and didn’t work so hard to promote themselves.
In my prideful mind I thought that maybe my comment would encourage her to come back and stop working with brands, stop making income. Because if I couldn’t, why should she. (Ouch I know!!)
I forgot about my comment until late that same night. I happened back over to her site and saw she had responded. She was gracious with her comment but when I read my own again I realized how hurtful it was. And I was ashamed.
We need to work at building one another up, not tearing each other down.
I was so convicted that I sent her an apology email. I confessed that my comment was spurred by jealousy, plain and simple. As difficult as it was to write and send that email, I knew that it was a character building opportunity and so I humbly apologized.
She responded a few days later, once again gracious. God allows us to be taught in these moments in life if we are just open enough to hear His voice and follow His leading. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary work in this faith walk.
And then last night we spent some time in our bible study talking about jealousy, shame and judgement.
We’ve all done it. Looked at someone and the way they are living their lives and judged something about it. I judged that blogger for how she was choosing to make a living for her family. Who am I to do that?!
It happens more often than we like to admit. One of the women shared how she felt judged about the choices one of her children made. We all assured her that it wasn’t a reflection of her – but the truth is when you are living in those moments it does feel like it is a reflection of you.
And as a church body (and I am talking all religions here…not a specific church) we have failed one another.
Jesus taught by example, He is the very measure of what grace should look like. And if I am being honest, often times I am willing to give grace when and to whom I feel “deserve” it instead of giving grace freely.
Once again I was humbled by the discussion and challenged to do something different.
What if we started showing love to those around us, even if they are making choices we don’t agree with?
What if we came alongside a young, teenage mother and encouraged her, encouraged her family?
What if we had a baby shower for a unwed mother, choosing to celebrate the new life instead of condemning the choices she had made?
What if we became a safe place for women to grieve the loss of a baby or a pregnancy – not dictating a time table of when they should be “over it”?
What if we stopped being so afraid of finding the right words to say and just admitted we don’t know what to say but we are praying?
What if we started being real and honest with one another so that the walls of perceived perfection would crumble and we could use our difficulties to shine Christ’s redemption?
I get up every Sunday and I get ready for church. I doubt that I will ever feel comfortable going without makeup or fixing my hair. Vain, yes but it is my reality. But don’t let the nice outfit or “put together” appearance fool you.
I am a sinner saved by grace.
I likely yelled at my kids on the way to church or got frustrated with the dog before we left. I walk in the doors and want you to believe something about me that really isn’t true. I don’t have it all together and I never will.
And that’s ok.
What if instead of judging what we think we know about someone, we start getting brave and start working to really connect with those in our church, our community?
What if when people asked us how we were, we responded in truth instead of just “I’m fine”?
And what if we got over being uncomfortable with this new reality and embraced it as an opportunity to come alongside a fellow believer that is hurting?
I am tired of being “fine” and ready to be real. Because when I am “fine” I start believing that I have it all under control and God is the first thing to go when I’ve got the reins.
We have an opportunity friends to be the church, be Jesus to a lost and hurting people. Some of those people are in your workplace, your community, your church body. Some of those people need to know that they don’t have to have it all together to be accepted by God. Maybe you, maybe I, am just the person that can be the one to be real, and by doing so, will open the door to a relationship with God.