It’s often a wonderful thing to look back in time. Well, sometimes. There’s those moments that I regret looking back on because it just makes me cringe. Like, let’s just forget that happened. You know, one of those weeks. One of those days. The day that I wasn’t so patient with my students. The day that I just had a bad attitude for no apparent reason at all. The week that went by where I hardly acknowledged the Lord’s presence as I carried on with the tasks that needed to be completed. That conversation that I turned and made it all about me. UHG. WHY?! Or the time that I was in tears describing a particular situation (complaining might actually be more accurate) to dear friends as I doubted the Lord’s promises in my life.
And what I found to be even worse was when people I just met or hardly knew walked in on these moments. My weakest moments. My often sinful moments. These weak and sinful snapshots of my life.
Like, what happened to that girl who is vibrant, full of life, confident and ready to make a difference for Jesus? The girl that experienced the Lord so powerfully that she couldn’t ever be the same? Why couldn’t they have walked in on those moments?
And in one instant, I’ve briefly lost sight of all of the Lord’s faithfulness in my life. My pride and the stride for perfection sets in immediately – and I become consumed with these weak areas. I pray selfishly – but so sincerely, “Oh, God please don’t let this be their view of me.”
But it doesn’t stop there. On the flip side, there are people in my life that I admire for what it appears to be – them ALWAYS being amazing. Generally speaking, I am not best friends with these people (or else I would know better), but I see them enough to be constantly reminded of why I seem to admire them so much. I see the snapshots of their life. The always-seemingly kind words. Their always perfectly manicured nails. Their well-kept home. Their thriving ministry. Just fill in the blank. I see these snapshots and what swells up inside of me is not so much jealousy (although that has often been there) – but more of, “Umm, how do they do it ALL? And so well?!”
In yet another instant, I’ve “compared my behind-the-scenes to [their] highlight reel” (Pastor Steven Furtick). My mess has been compared to their success, which has undoubtedly created a false reality that these snapshots equal their story, their life.
So here we are. I want to invite you into the details of my heart as I openly share what Jesus has taught me in all of this as I know I cannot be alone. This is not something mastered, but simply a journey where progress (HALLELUJAH!) has been made through His amazing grace.
- People “walking in” on our weaker moments – weaker seasons of life even – is bound to happen. We cannot control what other people think (and we’re not meant to). So in the wise words of Elsa from Frozen, just “Let it go!” Be confident in who you are in the Lord despite how you feel. Don’t be discouraged as He will often use these moments to teach us humility as He gently reminds us to have a complete reliance on Him.
- Likewise, we will also be walking in on other people’s weaker moments or snapshots. Don’t allow this window of time to give you any room to define their story as your head blows up with pride. Just like we don’t want anyone to define us through our snapshots, let’s not define theirs.
- On a practical note, the ones that genuinely see the whole picture are our closest friends and ultimately Jesus. Let’s not let the disease to please every single person we come across consume us.
- People that you admire for their constant “awesomeness” are just like you. They have battles, snapshots of weaknesses, and sin just like you. It may be in different areas or it may be in similar areas – but it is there nonetheless. I promise.
- If you still find yourself comparing and feeling discouraged, than most likely you simply just don’t know them well enough. Perhaps you follow them on social media or perhaps they are someone you see at work or at school. Perhaps it is another mother on your son’s soccer team. Perhaps it is the leader of a ministry you’ve been blessed by. Whoever it is, don’t let these perfect snapshots become their story as if they are not human just like you.
And lastly but most importantly…. know that there is hope if you read any of this and thought, “that’s me.” Real and true HOPE that comes from Jesus alone. Invite Him in and expect wonderful transformation within.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galations 1:10 (NIV)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” -Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”-2nd Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
“But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.” – Proverbs 3:11 (MSG)