Mess or Masterpiece?


A few months ago my friend Misty and I met for an impromptu play date at the park.  As we were chasing our kids around, she asked me a question that made me chuckle.  “So what do you do all day?”  It’s a question we often ask ourselves as mothers, but not many are brave enough to put out in the open.  We soon discovered that I spent most of the day doing “damage control” with my eighteen-month old son, who enjoys rampaging through the trash and emptying  cabinets, and she was going through the separation anxiety phase with her 10-month-old daughter.  Activities that, in the grand trajectory of life, may not seem to matter.  Times when it’s easy to question whether we are really making an impact, doing something valuable with our lives.
Then comes social media.  Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, you name it… everyone’s seemingly neat little lives posted for the whole world to see, and endless opportunities for mothers to make comparisons which lead to feelings of inadequacy.  We talked about the perfectly made crafts we see mothers doing with their children on Pinterest, and I wondered if anyone posted advice for dealing with the consequential headache.
Our conversation reminded me of a parenting devotion I recently read by Jim Daly, who states that one of the pitfalls we often make when raising children, especially when we spend significant time looking at social media, is that we compare other people’s “highlights” to our “blooper reels.”  Although there are some exceptions, most moms aren’t posting on Facebook about their son’s decision to redecorate his room with poop or their daughter’s spontaneous meltdown on aisle ten of the grocery store.  And when we compare these types of moments to someone else’s “highlights,” when the kids are behaving and playing nicely, not only do we set ourselves up for disappointment but we miss out on the blessings and gifts God has given each of us, uniquely shaped and made to reflect His glory.
Paul writes in Ephesians “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (Ephesians 2:10, New Living Translation)  Not God’s rough draft, scrap work, or mistake.  God’s masterpiece.  Embrace this truth, fellow moms.  Although there will be moments, sometimes even days, when it feels like your life is simply one huge mess, each event tells a beautiful story.  When we step back and see the connectedness, how the way we handle the discouraging times  affects the course of our lives,  we can then catch a glimpse of the bigger picture.  Then we realize that even when covered in spit up and poop, if we love God and love our children even the “blooper reels” really do matter.
            

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64 thoughts on “Mess or Masterpiece?

  1. Since I'm a social media addict I know what you were saying about only sharing the GOOD STUFF and not what really is happening. I love to hear from my friends their kids are not perfect like I see on FB.

    Of course I haven't blogged about every thing my kids have done but I do tend to post more FEEL GOOD. My kids do say “mom don't put that on FB” LOL! I usually don't. Thanks for your insights.

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  2. Great post! Our world is so caught up in physical beauty that sometimes it's hard to remember that we are all beautiful to Him. I often have to remind myself that I am beautiful simply because I am His.

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  3. I just love this. I've been struggling with not feeling like I'm doing a good job parenting lately, and it seems a lot of fellow bloggers are reminding each other that it's not about doing it all perfectly, which I'm so thankful for.
    Oh, and I have an 18 month old, too. We call him “the terrorist” because he's constantly trying to flush things, play in the trash, or get his hands on sharp objects! It really is easy to get to the end of the day and go “what did I actually accomplish”? Sometimes, I just need an hour to have a few complete thoughts! I guess that's why I blog, to have a place to escape and “think my thoughts”, as my favorite author, Jen Hatmaker, says. 🙂
    Sorry this comment is so long, this article really connected with me. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sarah. I am so glad to hear that it connected with you. I've heard a lot of great things about Jen Hatmaker but aside from reading a blog post here and there, I haven't read much of her writing. I need to check her out. 🙂

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  5. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others in all sorts of aspects in our lives especially to parenting. Parents of older kids can forget what it was really like when they were younger and be judgmental or sometimes you look up to those older kids and think how well behaved they are. Well, they're older and not necessarily well behaved all the time, just at that moment. The great thing about the internet is we can pick and choose which things we post about and we can even fix up our not so masterpiece's with Photoshop if we need to make them look better. Be happy with who you are. Everyone has a mess somewhere. It just might not be right out there for you to see. Krista @ A Handful of Everything

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  6. You're right, it is so easy to compare ourselves to others! If we just take a step back to focus on what we're grateful for, we can embrace the the stress & chaos in our daily lives. Just because we have a Picasso-esque view of our life, it doesn't mean that it isn't a masterpiece. (:

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