Originally published Wednesday, 19 December 2012.
As I've been focusing more on who I am, rather than what I am, I've been thinking about the role comparison plays in how I perceive myself. I've spoken to a number of friends who don't like Facebook or Pinterest because of the way it makes them feel. On Facebook, you see everyone's best times, their most attractive pictures. All the places they are going, things they are doing, friends they are hanging out with (not you). How awesome their kids are, their marriage is, their job, and their home. Status updates can be a constant barrage of how everyone is more awesome than you are. On Pinterest, we see all the fantastic things everyone is doing. While we struggle to just take a shower once in a while, other people are out there making cake pops, wreaths, wall art, container gardens, raspberry rhubarb tarts, and planning hosts of educational activities for their 3 month old.
I have to admit. I love me some Facebook and Pinterest. I love keeping up with friends and acquaintances through status updates, pictures, and videos. I love seeing where my friends are going, what they are doing, and reading their comments on all of it. It's a way to stay connected to adults when I'm sitting in my pajamas, covered in baby food. And, I love collecting ideas in my Pinboards. Organizing them for some future date (yet to be determined) when I will actually have time to grow all my own food, make all my own decorations, and create every detail of every party down to the hand dyed place cards. But I am more than the sum of my status updates and my Pinboards. In fact, who I am has nothing to do with my Pinboards at all.
Renee Swope has written a book I'd like to read called "A Confident Heart", and she posted recently on defining ourselves Biblically. Satan lied to us in the beginning and made us start the endless cycle of comparison. In her post, Renee discusses the sin of Adam and Eve and how they responded when God asked them why they were hiding. Well, they hid because they were naked! "'In response, God asked who told them they were naked. In other words, "Who told you that something is wrong with you?' By asking this, God made sure they knew someone was casting shame on them - and it wasn't Him."
So I ask myself, I ask you... who told us we were naked? Who said it wasn't enough just to love my kid, but instead he needs the entire house to be turned into a giant shamrock on St. Patty's Day? Who said it wasn't enough to just follow God faithfully as an example to my family, but instead I need to be making Resurrection wreaths, candles, cupcakes, centerpieces, and top hats for Easter? When I ask myself these questions, the answer I keep coming up with is... I did.
Somewhere along the line I saw people's pictures, posts, and pins, and instead of saying, "Good for you!" or "Look how fun!" or "Great idea!", I said to myself, "Oops, I'm naked!" I'm not clothed in the accomplishments or activities that person is clothed in. Again, getting caught up in what I am rather than who! I am not defined by my Pins, nor by my sins, but I'm defined by the One who created me. Nowhere in the Bible did he praise anyone for their appetizer recipes, but He did praise them for their faith. Faith doesn't fit in a status update and it's difficult to Pin, which is why it's hard for me to find my worth in my faith. It's too intangible. But, in the end, if I want Him to say, "Well done good and faithful servant" it's not going to be because I made wreaths for every holiday (including Cesar Chavez Day). And in the end, my kids aren't going to call me blessed because I filled their days with crafts and educational activities, it will be because I loved them and was faithful, and that is who I want to be.
But what about the Proverbs 31 woman? Wouldn't she be all over Pinterest with her amazing ideas and creations? Wouldn't Facebook be filled with her activities and accomplishments? Maybe, but I have to remind myself how that chapter ends:
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
She was to be praised because of her faithfulness and fear of the Lord. She worked hard, did the best she could, and loved God. Period.
So am I quitting Facebook or Pinterest? Heck, no. In fact, be my friend! Follow my Pinboards (I find some sweet stuff)! But I will try not compare myself or measure my worth by these things. I will strive to be a good and faithful servant first and foremost. I'll clothe myself in faithfulness, not craftiness.
And if I want to make my own headboard, bed frame, couch, coffee table, deck, sand box, chandelier, shower, and toilet from reclaimed wood pallets, then I'll do that, too. (Though I need a few more pallets to make that happen.)