The Photo I Decided Not to Post on Instagram

(And then posted here instead.)

Yesterday morning was not one of my finest as a mom.  A series of physically demanding, annoying, and unfortunate events occurred, to which I responded with anger and frustration at my kids and husband.  I'm not actually going to go into all the details (I'll explain why below), but in a nutshell the morning involved:

  • a giant, horrible, long tantrum over an impossible situation
  • whiteboard marker colored on furniture, clothes and walls
  • tons of ants in and around my kid's bed that required urgent attention and cleaning
  • the power going out during mid-day causing a very hot house and cold shower
  • my phone being covered in both marker and peanut butter  
None of those things by itself would have been all that earth shattering, but when they occurred all in a row I lost my peace.

And then I turned it around like I always do.  By afternoon I had apologized, changed my heart and attitude, handled and sorted out all the weird demands of the morning.  My kids were nicer, I was nicer, and we ended the day like normal with snuggles and kisses and all was right with the world.

And then what did my millennial-mom-self want to do about it?  Post a photo of us snuggling and smiling before bed with a caption that started with my laundry list of morning struggles and ended with the sentiment that "This is motherhood- it's hard and messy and tiring but it's all worth it!"  But while I was mid-post, my husband asked what I was doing and I told him.  He questioned my motivation and asked me why I wanted to complain to the world on social media.

But I'm not complaining!  I'm encouraging other moms!  I'm being real and vulnerable!  Social media is full of beautiful, unrealistic snippets of life, which in reality is grittier and messier and more complicated and it's good for those posts to be there too.

These were all the initial defensive thoughts that came into my mind and justified my post.

But then I saw it.  My desire to be seen, noticed, affirmed, told "You're doing a great job! You're a good mom!  You work so hard!"  It was all there, my true motivation, cloaked in the pretense that I wanted to share my struggles to encourage someone else who's struggling.

There is a place for that kind of sharing, certainly.  It can be done in righteousness and I have been encouraged myself many, many times by other moms' posts that send the message, "We don't have it all together, it's hard, but that's ok because there is grace upon grace."

But this situation has reminded me the importance of thinking twice before I post.  To check and double check my heart.  Words are powerful and words on the internet are permanent.  What is my motivation for posting?

I don't want to seek affirmation from people through social media (even though that affirmation can be helpful and good!) because that is the wrong place to look to be filled.  My desire to be known and seen and loved can only ever be perfectly met by God.  Only when I have all my needs met in Him, can I righteously share and encourage on social media, and also receive the blessing and benefits of affirmation by people.

So that's why I'm sharing this now.  It may seem a bit ironic, because I still told you all about my morning full of struggles, but my reason for sharing now is much different.  It is no longer a cry for someone to see my hardship and tell me I'm doing a good job.  It is a call for all of us to try to stop pretending and repent of the ugly motivations we often have in our hearts.

There is only one source of life, love, and fullness.  He sees.  He knows.  He cares.  He is enough.