Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Rainbows, Cotton Candy and Unicorns

What you saw/read in this post a few weeks ago was that Sugar, our chicken joined us for family devotions.
What you might think is, "look how sweet that family is having family devotions by the beautiful sunset outside as they all soak in the Word respectfully.
What you don't see is the wrestling match the boys are having, the distraction of the chicken, the dad who is not being listened to, and the mom who is having to correct someone every 3-5 seconds.
Our Colony has this funny thing we do.  I'm pretty sure we got it from a movie, but we all know I can't even keep up with the names of movies, much less a funny thing I hear in one!

It goes like this:
one of the kids gets frustrated, or something didn't quite go their way, or plans got cancelled/changed...and they are throwing a fit upset or sad.  It only takes one of us to say, "it's okay, just think about rainbows, cotton candy, unicorns" in a whimsical tone, to get their mind off of the travesty that just occurred.

Just saying this usually gets at least an eye roll but typically we all bust out in laughter and can move on in our day easily enough.

But this got me thinking.
Life isn't always rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns ( because these are obviously the most awesomest things one could have on the planet, right?!).

Some days your kids are going to be so overtaken by sin that you can hardly handle them.
Or your son runs away from school...again.
There are lost jobs.
Sicknesses.
Hurt feelings.
Another mouse that gets stuck in your wall that is going to die within the next day or two and should start smelling REALLY good by the time you get back from vacation.
Arguments between friends, family, spouses.
The pipes under your house back up into the faucets, toilets and showers...again.

Nobody is exempt from these sucky days.
And we ALL KNOW IT!

But somewhere we get in our heads that EVERYbody else has it all together.
Or everybody else has the perfect children,
or the nicest house,
or the sweetest husband,
or the best job.

When actually the picture perfect couple on Instagram isn't even speaking to each other.

The kids that are always dressed perfectly with matching outfits and combed hair?  They are battling some pretty big heart issues.

The mom everyone desires to be like, who loves Pinteresting and thrives on crafting and cooking with the kids is dealing with dark depression.

The old high school friend who is pictured living it up every night of the week and having a blast, is one of the loneliest people around.

The flowery words written on social media boards, are merely a bandaid for keeping deep hurt at bay.

I know some of us post to look good and to get the instant gratification from "likes" and comments of how beautiful we are or that tell us how good we are doing.  But sometimes the picture is just a glimpse of relief in between the chaos and hardships of life.

I have been working on a project that has necessitated me going through some old posts (oh my gosh, my writing ya'll!  I sure didn't set the bar too high in my earlier days on this blog, ha!)  and I came across a post I wrote several years ago about taking a "Facebook fast".  Now, I wholeheartedly believe in "fasting" from social media, or other things of the like that may prevent you from being who you are called to be and that are causing Satan to have a foothold in your life.

I know, especially for women, comparison can creep up on us before we even know it and one of the biggest battlefields in our day (I believe) is social media, because it can be so easy to appear like we have it all together.

But let me remind you of something.

We aren't always free to post whatever we want to.
Actually, we are, which is a WHOLE other topic!
But we have to filter what we put out there to protect our families, our relationships, other people's feelings.  It just is what it is.

Let's use adoption as an example.  I have posted about some of the struggles and the process, but there are just some things that are not appropriate to write to protect my relationship with my daughter in the future or about HER past and story.  That is hers to tell.  So no, I am not completely transparent, but try to be brutally honest with a filter.

We can go on and on about the picture perfect family who always has matching clothes, but why WOULDN'T you want to share that moment in time when you actually had ALL the children dressed in clothing, WITH shoes on and half-way kept hair?!  It's a memory worth remembering and capturing, and I for one commend any mother who can accomplish that feat.

I talk a lot about "keeping it real" and being "authentic" but it must be within the realm of your personal/family filter.  I'm still learning this one.  My filter is much more loose than Josh's and he has to put me in check for some of the stuff I post.  And I need to be ok with that.

How about when we have had a terrible day with the kids and we talk about how exhausted we are or how thankful for the Public school system we are.  I mean YOU are.  I would NEVER say that about my kids, nope, not me.  It's harder to post things like that for fear of judgement from other moms.

And we all know we can't mention the "spank" or "discipline" word on the internet without having the real fear of someone turning you in to social services.  It's a REAL risk.

For the kid who ran away from school?  You can't be real and authentic with that information without putting the child or school or teachers at risk.

So instead, we post about the happier things in life, like my growing garden, or the chickens (you can never have enough Instagram photos of chickens!), or the project you completed, the that one time the kids all played sweet together outside.

I know I don't post JUST the happy things, but I do try to post honestly.  And it's not often that I post the meltdown moments.  They just don't make good pictures, you know?

So here's the takeaway from today's lesson:
Have a filter when you post.
You don't have to always have something funny or "good" to post about, but don't go out of your way to talk about how awesome your kid has been when you are actually about to drop them off at Goodwill or put them on Craigslist;)
Check yourself before lusting or judging someone else's life from what they posted.
It boils down to the heart.  The heart of the poster.  The heart of the reader.

And for the love, when your son poops on the floor again, or the car broke down again, or the toilet floods the bathroom, or the 6-year-old thought it would be a good idea to fill up cardboard boxes with water and carry them around the house, or the bill forgot to get paid and now you have a HUGE fee, or maybe you are just so done with life and your day just can't end quick enough...just post a picture of a chicken and call it a day

because we all know that life isn't just rainbows, cotton candy and unicorns.
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