You may remember my message from a couple weeks ago, Fearlessly You, where I discussed how my own insecurities were falling on my daughter, and how she had been running from the camera, afraid to look silly.
She has a great smile. When she's happy or excited, her eyes somehow get really big and squint at the same time. One closes more than the other, causing the look of a mischievous twinkle, and her smile is ever so slightly bigger on that side.
However, in recent weeks, leading up to my discovery, she had been scowling whenever a camera was put in her face. She would stop, mid-smile, to give us a frown of disapproval for taking her picture. She would run from the room, or from the sight of the camera to avoid having her picture taken.
Then, I had my light bulb moment.
Since that moment, and that Fearlessly You message, I have made a conscious effort to put myself in front of a camera more frequently, and without too much thought. I have been silly on Instagram and Snapchat; a little more fearless in being my own goofy self. I have allowed for my picture to be taken, even when not fully "ready," and I have tried really hard, to show my daughter a more confident me.
On Thanksgiving, as my husband and I were taking pictures of ourselves and our family around us, we both noticed the same thing.
He pulled me aside and told me, "I think that video you posted is working." He proceeded to show me picture after picture of our daughter being silly; most importantly, being herself. Her confident, twinkling smile had returned! She was even jumping into pictures with other people, photo bombing with glee. This made me so happy!
This is a journey that's not yet complete. This is a journey I must continue to follow through on, but I wanted to share the realization that I had.
You guys, maybe millennials don't have it all wrong. They are largely, and unfairly misjudged. When selfie was first defined, it received a lot of push back from the older generations. It seemed like a vain and conceited practice; taking ones own picture, sometimes repeatedly. It seemed prideful, narcissistic, and self-involved, and it certainly can be these things.
But I've also learned that it can be fun. It can be silly. It can be used in such a way as to not take yourself so seriously.
If there is one thing about myself, in which I am completely confident, it is my imperfection. I was not created to be perfect, and neither were you, so let's stop pretending.
We were created to need a Savior. We are imperfect human beings, each and everyone of us, and we should celebrate that.
Wait whoa, hold on; celebrate sin?
Nooooo, celebrate our need for a savior! Celebrate our need for grace. Celebrate our need for mercy. Embrace the imperfections which cause us to cry out for Jesus, and acknowledge them; not proudly, but clearly, so that others may know the realness of the love and grace of Christ. With each silly Snapchat, and each crazy, voice changing video, I am learning to take myself a whole lot less seriously. Taking ourselves too seriously, or trying to be "over righteous," or "overwise," as Ecclesiastes says, can lead to pride; a pridefulness which forgets our need for Jesus. So, take GOD seriously, take His Word, His Love, His Righteousness seriously. And take yourself down a few notches with some ridiculous selfies.
Through selfies, I am learning to embrace the imperfect me, who needs a little bit of silly, and a whole lot of Jesus, and I am having a ROTFL good time with my children.
Last week was a challenging one for me.
Well, most weeks are challenging these days. They are a constant battle between time flying by; never enough minutes in a day, and time dragging so slowly that bedtime can't come quickly enough. I know so many of you other moms have been there.
But last week, in particular, I had some little sickies. My 2.5 year old is already a bit over dramatic about...life, so when she's sick...boy, let me tell you...
She was a beast. Nothing could go her way. She was too tired to function, but having difficulty sleeping with congestion. Tantrums on the floor for little to no reason became my norm for a few days, and my poor 5 year old (also sick by the way), took more hits, bites, and kicks from her than I could count, God bless his patience.
By the third day of this, I was losing patience quickly, and every muscle in my body ached. My back felt so tight, it hurt to breathe. I needed my own mommy melt down, but I didn't have the time. Every time I even went to the bathroom, Charlotte was banging on the door. One particularly quiet moment, I sneaked off to my room to stretch my back and catch my breath. I didn't touch any lights. I didn't close the door all the way, so as not to arouse suspicion of my whereabouts, but I was temporarily out of sight.
thump thump thump
Charlotte found me. In the midst of her quiet, happy moment, watching her favorite show, she left and found me. She always finds me. In the bathroom, in the shower, in the bedroom; lights out...she seeks me, and she finds me.
You see, children are like that. If they have a need, they seek you. If they have a desire, they seek you. If they have a joke they want to share, they seek you. If they are crying and hurting, they seek you.
"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." ~Matthew 18:3-4
God is not hiding in His bedroom. He is not hiding behind a locked bathroom door, pulling His hair out. God is there for the finding! What if we sought Him like children? What if we looked for Him in everything we did, whether it was to cry, or to tell a very long winded, repetitive story, no one else finds the least bit entertaining.
What if we sought after God with the diligent determination of a child looking for their mother, in the bathroom?
I want to try that this week. I want to be that child that says, "God? Hey, God?? Let me tell you all about my day. I promise to not leave a single thing out!"
Last week, I began playing around with the Instagram feature, stories, in an attempt to be hip in the social media/business/marketing world. Yes, I realize that using the word, hip, completely contradicts my goal, but I digress.
While doing this, I learned some things, which I divulged in a social media video, which by the way, made me incredibly uncomfortable! Watch the video at the end for more insight.
Long story, short, I discovered that my own insecurities about being on camera, or being seen in general, had begun to rub off on my 8-year old daughter. Not ok.
I turned to the Bible for context, and more information about loving oneself, and made some interesting discoveries. Truth? There really isn't much in the Bible about loving yourself. Why? Well, it is believed to be implied. It is believed that we come by this quite naturally. That naturally, we feed ourselves and clothe ourselves, bathe ourselves, and just generally love ourselves by association.
"After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church--" ~Ephesians 5:29
Instead, we are told to, "love your neighbor as yourself." ~Matthew 22:39
Loving ourselves is implied. We are already doing that...right?
Times are a lot different now. Not that it makes the Bible untrue. I certainly don't mean that. However, when you look at the context of this implication, within the Bible, you have no choice but to acknowledge that things were very different. For instance, when Ephesians was written, we are talking about people who were on this earth at the same time as Jesus. Wrap your brain around that! They were not so far removed from the miraculous birth, death and resurrection of our Savior! Then add in the fact that there were no phones, no computers, no TVs, no cameras. You know, the glass mirror still had yet to be invented!?
Fast forward to a day and age where we can compare ourselves to absolutely anyone else on the planet, inundated with photos of celebrities. We can make ourselves over, into someone completely unrecognizable with some great make up and a little know-how. We can look at ourselves in mirrors practically all day, and even take our own pictures within seconds.
But are we loving ourselves? What are we saying to ourselves, and, perhaps unintentionally, to our children? What are we feeding ourselves? Our spirit? Putting into our bodies? Our minds? Our lives?
Somewhere along the line we have tricked ourselves. We've allowed ourselves to believe that loving ourselves actually has something to do with our looks. We've been deceived into believing that embracing our look, our bodies, our physical uniqueness, is self love.
It could quite possibly, be a result of self love, but y'all, we are kidding ourselves with what is truly important. Our looks are seasonal. They are all a part of the season of life we are currently in. The Bible doesn't talk about loving what we look like. The Bible talks about taking care of our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in us. It talks about rest (on the Sabbath). The Bible even talks about the importance of hygiene.
So, when we hear, "Love your neighbor as yourself," how do we interpret that, if we do not love our true selves? We can put on our faces, add our filters, and take selfie after selfie, and still not truly grasp this concept, because we are loving the wrong things.
This week, I want to encourage you to pray, and ask God to show you the you that He loves. I am going to do this too! You might be surprised by His answer. It might even come with a call to service. But I pray that you find love for the you that God created, and by extension, stop hiding.
Fearlessly be the you who was so fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
When you give, when you are generous with your possessions, money, time, ideas, heart; you name it, why do you do it? What drives you to give? What is your motivation?
See, being generous with people is not just about money, or things. Sometimes it's about being there for them when they need you. Sometimes it's about lending an ear or helping them problem solve. Sometimes it is simply about showing them a kindness.
Yet so often I see quotes about what we deserve in return, or how you shouldn't waste your time doing for someone who wouldn't do the same for you. Not from strangers so much. We give to them much more easily, but when it comes to loving and giving to people we know, we tend to expect something in return. Maybe we have certain expectations for how they should use our gift. Maybe we have opinions on how they should respond, and maybe we don't like the way that they do.
***Before I continue, I want to make something very clear. I am not talking about abusive relationships here. That is a different topic and does not apply here. ***
But here's a serious heart check. Why are you giving?
We cannot control what a person does with what we give them. We cannot control how they respond to us, but we can control how we allow that to make us feel.
When we give generously to people, without expectation or strings, there is this inexplicable peace! When we allow bitterness and resentment to creep into our head-space, based often on unfair or unrealistic expectations, it brings the opposite of peace, my friends. It steals your joy.
A person cannot make you feel bitter or resentful, used or taken advantage of. They do not hold that power. You do. When you allow your expectations to rule your emotions, your service suffers. That joy, that peace, the light within you dims.
There is this episode of Friends, The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS, where Phoebe sets out to prove to Joey that there is such a thing as a selfless act. Joey informs her that, in fact, there is not, because it feels good to perform a selfless act, therefore, making it selfish.
Y'all, it does feel good to be generous, to be kind, to give of yourself, your talents, your gifts. Maybe there really isn't any such thing as a selfless act, but don't allow your expectations to taint your service. You control how you give, and you control how you feel about it. You can either be bitter and resentful, or you can let that light shine, and choose to be joyful and grateful for the opportunity to serve.
Jesus served. Jesus loved without conditions, and we are all called to, as well!
So, are you serving, or expecting?
**Some language in the video, so beware of little ears.**
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
Want the Monday Message sent to your inbox each week? Sign up here!