It has become an epidemic. But short of the Internet imploding, I'm not sure there is a cure. Brave, brave souls are baring all on their blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. The battle cry has been sounded and one and all have jumped on the proverbial bandwagon of being "authentic."
God help us.
I'm all for honesty. I vote for being "real." I believe in telling it like it is. But having access to the whole world via social media has added a whole knew spin to "sharing your story." Boundaries no longer exist. The more gore the better. The more "beautiful the mess" the more shares and likes you get on Facebook. The more screwed up your life appears to be (of course, whether it really is or isn't is left to speculation), the braver you are and the more followers you get on Twitter.
MORE. MORE. MORE.
Contrary to the cute commercial with the cute little girl, more is not always better. Sometimes, oftentimes, okay MOST times, LESS is most definitely more. And right now, just for the record, we need LESS "honest" sharing about the beautiful mess that is your life. Yes, we all have messes. Some are hidden in our coat closets and some are piled up at our feet and causing a right foul stench in our lives. Let's clear one thing up. Messes are not good things, people.
Stop celebrating them.
I don't see anything brave about dealing with the messes in your life. It's actually just called "being a grown up." For thousands of years folks have done it without fanfare or awards. No pats on the backs, but often a kick in the pants has been used to get the process started. And the fact that you are "addicted to praise on your website" or dealing with any number of "issues" does not elevate you to newsworthy or praiseworthy status. It makes you human.
Get over yourself. Write about something or someone other than yourself. You know, just to spice things up a little.
And for those Christian bloggers out there that feel the need to entertain rather than preach the Gospel while they are being "authentic," please state this clearly in your "mission/purpose/calling-in-life" statement. I love a great blog about parenting as much as the next person. Trials and tribulations and all that. Great writing about life with teenagers or a husband or hitting Walmart on Saturday night is always appreciated, enjoyed and shared. But please, for all that is good and holy, don't confuse your ability to write catchy articles about motherhood with the ability to preach the Word of God effectively. Just because you can turn a tale of the last day of school into a hilarious essay, don't assume that you are capable of theologically explaining God's grace and redemption to other women who need to hear the whole story, not just your version that includes a lot of rainbows and unicorns.
Life is messy, but God came into our world to change that. He came to fix our messes. He did not die on the cross so we could literally brag about the dysfunctional aspects of our lives. We all screw up and we all sin. Every. Single. Day. But that is not something to be proud of or to celebrate. People act like we should erase the word "shame" from the dictionary. But personally, there are things I should be ashamed of that I do. I should not proudly share them hoping to "encourage" others, when in reality I just want to be called brave and expect fist bumps from my legions of "friends."
Lately, women wear their messes as badges of honor. Often it's sinful behavior. Plain and simple. The last thing we need to be doing is parading it around like it glorifies God. There is a big difference between sharing that you are hopeless when it comes to reading your Bible regularly and telling the worldwide web that your marriage is on the brink of dissolving because you have the hots for your pastor. Writing about how you can't remember where your Bible is at any given time much less remember to read it everyday and asking your readers to share ways to improve in this area is a perfect blog or Facebook post. Your marriage issues should be between you and your spouse and a trusted counselor. Not you and your spouse and North America.
Boundaries, people. We need boundaries.
And a huge dose of discretion mixed with a shot of common sense.
Share your messes and intimate battles with a close friend. Ask for prayer. Try to change and fix the messes through the power you are given through the Holy Spirit. But quit airing your dirty laundry with every status update or Tweet.
Our messes, and no, they aren't beautiful, don't always encourage others to avoid them. Quite the opposite. Often, when I hear of someone that struggles with something I struggle with it makes me think it is normal and okay. No matter how not normal or how wrong it may be. We are creatures that like to compare ourselves to others. So we either end up thinking we are better than you because you have so many more messes than we do, or we think our messes are okay because they are the same messes you have. One only has to read the vapid comments after one of these articles to confirm that people are only being validated in their own messes and not convicted to actually clean up their messes.
I have read articles lately that want to paint our lives in such a way that no matter what we do or say, its all okay because God loves us. The main problem with this is that it is NOT biblical. God does love us. So much so, He died for us while we were still sinners. BUT He calls us to be holy once we have been redeemed by His Son's blood. We are new creations and our old sinful selves are dead. Why then do we continue to celebrate a part of us that should be dead? All of these brave declarations I have read lately were not filled with words of repentance or even a desire to change. Just the declaration of the writer that she was proudly in the possession of a "beautiful mess."
Christ has redeemed us at great cost. When we come to Him with our messes and sins in tow, He takes us and cuts the ties that bind us to these hindrances. We can then run the race He will set before us. We are to leave the messes behind. Not wallow in them and hang them out for the world to see. Yes, they are part of our story, but more importantly, they are part of our history. Yes, God can and will use our messes to bring us to Him and turn us into the women He wants us to be. But He has made us brand new. Why do we, for the sake of acceptance by others, insist on celebrating our past and present failures?
Before you post about your glorious and beautiful messes, ask yourself a few questions. First, would I spill the beans about this mess face-to-face to a roomful of people I don't know? Or do know? Second, would the friends/family/exes/currents that are involved in the mess be okay with me sharing it with the known world? Third, is my motive to bring glory to God? Lastly, will anyone be truly encouraged or edified by the sharing of this mess? If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, then please rethink going public with you mess-no matter how beautiful you may believe it to be.