So we did it! Yay! We moved from one space to the next. We did it over several days, through several emotions. We did it with joy, and with impatience, and with sore muscles, and some growling. We did it.
Look at this picture! I posted it on Facebook as we were driving to the Closing Ceremony (seriously… it was so Serious and Formal… And sometimes I don’t do well in those settings!). Look how happy we are! Look how bonded we are! Look look look! Moving to a new home, that we OWN.
This is what you see. This is what I posted. But there is a HUGE problem with this picture.
This picture represents, not just what was truly a glorious moment for our family, but also the bones of the pitfalls of Social Media. We look so happy. Maybe you see that, and a vision of our life starts to bubble up… we are all smiling, therefore, we must always be happy. We are hugging, therefore, we must always go out of our way to show affection for one another. We bought a house! So we must have EVERYTHING in order. This bubble grows and grows, getting more magnificent every time this picture lands in your Newsfeed again. You take this picture and stretch it over my entire existence. This picture is pretty perfect… so my life must be pretty perfect. And then you turn from your screen and look at your house. It’s messy from when the kids woke up this morning and dumped all the toy bins that you picked up after bedtime last night. You feel that Tired that you only know as a mother of young children, the bags under your eyes literally weighing down your face. You think of the argument you had with your husband last night, about something silly, but it seemed so big at the time. You think of the pit you feel in your gut every month as you watch your bank account get lower and lower. And you hold your Reality up to my Non-Reality, and you decide yours is Lesser because mine looks More.
But that is not the truth.
The truth behind that picture is that I was growling at the entire family that entire day leading up to that moment. We had just had our walk through of the house and the place was so messy (it was all picked up by the next morning!), and that sent my anxiety through the roof. The laughs were genuine because Isaac was really struggling with the sign, but as soon as the picture was snapped, the stress plowed me over again and I went back to my Mantra that I held up pretty much throughout the entirety of the move. I cannot do it all, and that makes me mad, and so I shall take it out on the ones I love most. This move rocked me. And the stress came out in such negative ways. This picture captured a break in the clouds that was short lived.
And that’s the problem. It’s so easy to forget that there is Messy behind each and every post we see on Facebook. There is Messy behind every smile we see in Church on Sunday morning. There is Messy behind every “I’m Fine!” that we say through our teeth when really we are falling to pieces.
This is not a call to post your Messy for everyone to see. This is a call to See the Messy without people having to showcase it. Understand that, even though you don’t know the details of it, they have their own Story, just as you have yours. Give yourself Grace when you feel yourself holding up two very different pictures… if your lives look different, take a moment to Praise God for the unique path He has set you on, pray earnestly for your Sister that she may have the strength she needs for her own journey, whatever that may be… and then Walk Away. Let the pictures stay on Facebook. Don’t take them with you to hold up in your head when your kids are biting each other’s heads off for the 10th time that day… or when you order pizza for the third time in one week because you Just Can’t. Your life is not a snapshot. It is an entire album. One that is stained and bruised and messy—but so full of love it is bursting at the seams. Each page of your life has been washed with the Life of Jesus, so even amidst the messy, there is Triumph and Glory! NOTHING can compare to that!