I am, thus far in life, a ridiculously self-conscious person. I don't mean to be. And I don't want to be. If I tried to tell you how many times I've gone before the Lord over this matter, you might question my stability. It's a lotta times.
The thing is, motherhood is messy. There's no way to predict how our children are going to behave on any given outing. There are too many factors to consider, and most of them are completely random and come out of nowhere.
It's easier for me now that my kids are grown into their teenage years, but I can remember time after time when they were little...melting down in a store only to discover later that they were sick. One toddler running one direction at our apartment complex and the other taking off the opposite way. A low shelf at the library catching my young schooler in the nose, after which we ran, screaming and bleeding, across the entire facility to the bathroom. Me leaving the house looking deranged because I hadn't showered or slept in two days...but we needed food or diapers or some other essential thing.
And what if your teen is rebellious? What if you're dealing with a chronic medical issue or a intellectually disabled child?
My friend, I get it. Oh my goodness...do I get it. Life is crazy enough without worrying over what people think. But we do. For so many of us, it's an unrelenting barrage of perceived judgement. And when we're mothering AND working tirelessly at a career in writing (or any other great endeavor) it can be easy to lose steam wondering what people must be thinking.
Here's my thought on this: It's none of their business.
Don't hear me wrong; I mean no disrespect toward anyone. I carry no ill-feelings when I say that. It's just the truth. It's none of their business.
It's important to note that as followers of Christ we are commissioned to be the light of the world. To strive to be more like Christ and, through the help of the Holy Spirit, respond carefully as examples to a chaotic world.
What I'm saying isn't let it all out or go ahead and make a scene.
But in all of it, whatever challenge you face before peering eyes or doubting minds, remember that they are not who you answer to in the end.
Who are THEY?
Anyone...apart from your Heavenly Father, your husband, or anyone else you might be immediately accountable to. Other than that...smile or laugh it off once the stress winds down. Because it has nothing to do with them.
We were never meant to be people pleasers. Paul spoke to this when he said in Galations 1:10: "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Whether it pertains to the sharing of the gospel of truth as Paul was doing, or living out your life before God in obedience to HIS calling and walking through the mess of it along the way. Whatever it is, the only judgement that truly matters is His.
Social media really does add to this issue, but it is, I think, with us for the long haul. So we must adapt and learn to quiet the nagging fears. The comparisons that come with seeing only the best sides of people online. The sparkle and glamour of well-lit, carefully selected photos or videos.
Don't compare your beautiful mess to an edited/filtered image.
Don't listen to the lies in your mind that every eye is seeing and judging. Some might be, but that's on them. Most aren't. If I learned anything from my kids' youngest years, it's that most people empathize with the struggle.
Dear sister, walk in obedience to God.
It's as simple as that.
Run to Him when it gets to be too much. When the whispers in your mind won't stop harassing. Run to Him when judgments fall, and remember that He is our strong tower. A refuge for the righteous. (Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 46:1)
Breathe easy. :)
LAURA FRANCES is the author of the Slave series (a clean dystopian story) and Songs in the Night (a noblebright fantasy). Residing in midwest America as a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, and writer, Frances strives to convince others through the art of storytelling that they can do the things they think they can't.