The trouble comes when we inevitably run into the struggles that come and want to share that we are, in fact, real people who are striving toward the goal. We want to encourage each other that none of us is doing this all alone. This kind of transparency can be good as long as it doesn't veer into sin by being unloving or unkind to our children, our husbands and even ourselves. It is a fine line, to be sure.
I'm not trying to jump on any train or wagon, here, but I've noticed that there has been a bit of back and forth in the "momline" (moms online... anyone?) community lately over what is and isn't acceptable to reveal about our lives, our struggles and our families.
On the one side you have the moms who are laying it all out there in an attempt to be "real." On the other side are the moms who at least appear to live with rose colored glasses permanently affixed to their faces. Am I going to be so above it all and suggest that we all need to land somewhere in the middle? That seems too easy. We have a diverse audience online. Moms who are at the end of their rope and looking for solid, biblical encouragement from other Christian moms need to be able to find it. Some of them will find more comfort from a mom who is cracking jokes about some of the antics of her children while others will find practical disciplinary tips to be more helpful. Some women might be intimidated by writing that seems to convey a state of perfection already reached, while others will be inspired by it.
I read a lot of blogs that range from lighthearted anecdotes about motherhood to practical wisdom to theological analysis of the roles of women in the home. I like to laugh at funny stories about things that other families experience and sigh "Ooooooh, good! I'm not the only one who has done that!" I like to clip truly helpful bits of advice and add them to my little notebook of parenting helps. I enjoy learning something new or seeing something from a new angle while reading deeper articles. Even the seemingly "too perfect" ones serve to inspire me. Sometimes I need to be honest with myself and admit that I'm not doing very well at [insert life skill here] and could benefit from working at it a little harder.
Comparison is the thief of joy, but it is human nature to assess the norms that surround us and attempt to fit ourselves somewhere in the picture. We like to identify with our "tribe." For that reason, I think it is important that we are both honest and careful. We shouldn't pretend that we never mess up or that our children never mess up, but we should ask ourselves if what we are about to share will glorify God and do justice to the gospel message of Christ. If we are struggling with an area of life and feel the need to share it, let's also tie it into the overall gospel message of redemption and hope. If we are going to share specific examples of things that our children do, let's be fair to them as people and perhaps not call them out by name or use compromising pictures. Let's point out their strengths as often as their weaknesses and always point to our own need for forgiveness as well as theirs.
Let's simply remember that the bible calls us to dwell on whatever things are good and pure and lovely and of good report.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8
Maybe I just used a lot of words to pretty much land in the middle, which I suggested at the start was too simple. Oh well. Maybe it is.