Several weeks ago we had some family pictures made. My sister's sweet friend Courtney did a great job (anchorphotographync.com) and we were really happy with the results!
But the funny thing about having your picture made is that the photos don't really tell the true story. I mean, a good photographer can make you look...well, really good. Laughing, playing, throwing leaves. It all looks so fun and so easy.
You'd never know that we spent hours trying to organize just the right outfits so we'd all coordinate but not seem too matchy-matchy. I trekked from store to store to get some more stylish clothes for my two youngest girls who only wear hand-me-downs from a decade ago. (by the way...I'm NOT dissing hand-me-downs...we love, love, love those blessings!)
You'd never guess my mom was hobbling around on a sprained ankle or that Jon had hurt his back so badly he couldn't get out of bed two days earlier, let alone lean over to put on his own socks!
You can't really tell my nephew (and therefore his parents too!) had been up all night with a fever and ear infection the night before. And Courtney didn't give us the pictures where kids were screaming, crying, picking their noses or refusing to look at the camera.
And I got to thinking that life really is a lot like a photo shoot. We try to look so pretty and put-together. So happy and carefree. So fun and fit. When in reality we're sometimes dying inside. Worn-out, hurting, scared and overwhelmed. We want everyone to think we've got it together, so we cover up the junk as best we can and try to put our best face forward.
Its exhausting. And lonely.
I was reading in Jeremiah 17:10 The Message version this morning:
"But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be."
Isn't that refreshing? God knows what we're really like. He knows the hidden stuff of the heart. He knows our weaknesses and our fears. And He knows just how to treat us.
Let's quit pretending and run with honest neediness to the God who knows. Let's confess sin, surrender fear and accept weakness so that God can forgive, comfort and strengthen us.
Let's be real this year. With ourselves. With God. With others.
Photo Credit: Courtney Smith, anchorphotographync.com