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Our Counterfeit Selves

October 22, 2010

I love to read blogs. My favorites are those that wrap up motherhood, Faith, minimalism, creativity, and true homemaking, with a dash of cheekiness and honesty. They’ve seriously helped me with my quest to make and create with a sewing machine, to move toward a more sustainable lifestyle, and to archive the journey of motherhood.

And while I appreciate and enjoy reading the lives of these writers, I also wonder what kind of reality is going on behind the blog. Did she really bake 10 loaves of bread, homeschool her children, run 5 miles, read all of Amos, sew a duvet cover, photograph her children in perfect lighting, and tend to her garden yesterday?  Maybe. But there may have been a four letter word, snot dripping onto an upper lip, the use of plastic bags at the grocery store, spilled organic unpasteurized orange juice, or maybe she shouted “NO!” when a child tore a page out of a very special book a dear relative gave (heh). The problem with our  identity online is that we have total control over the image we project to others. This goes for Facebook, Twitter, and other social gathering sites too.

We (and I’m fully to blame for this) put out the parts of ourselves that we want others to see: the parts we approve of, the parts we like, the parts we think are acceptable, and the parts we think will make us more attractive. I’m guessing that we can be seriously deceiving when it comes to this self that we want to project to others. 

How many of these kinds of images have you seen when showcasing a nursery?

Does Soulemama ever get this during a photoshoot of the gorgeous autumn foliage?

And what about when you’re at Aldi (if you even admit that you shop at Aldi) and four pouches of toxic fruit punch flavored apple sauce for only 99 cents makes its way into your child’s supposedly healthy diet?

Look fat in someone’s album? Untag immediately. Regret making that retort, delete. Want someone to know you just read something you want to be associated with? Share it with everyone. Never post a picture of you looking like a buffoon. Be witty and make people laugh.

I don’t see anyone admitting that this is the state their mirrors are in 90% of the time.

Or that the bed isn’t made 99% of the time.

This post is somewhat of a loving lecture to myself, so please bear with me here. I want to live with humility and honesty; but most of the time I’m proud and hide my warts and thorns. I don’t want to communicate that I’ve got it together, that I don’t need His Grace desperately on an hourly basis, that I do justice to motherhood, or am the wife I want to be. I’m slowly learning what it’s like to be mature enough to listen to the Spirit without being so self-aware that my narcissism drowns out His voice.

One day I want to be so much on His wave length that I become okay with been a fat, unamusing, dorky, imperfect buffoon (…………………well you get my point). Until then, I’m humbly learning that it’s okay to not be the woman, wife, mother, sister, friend, seamstress, or homemaker I want to be (or wish others thought of me as).

That’s what Grace is for.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. millison permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:46 am

    Thanks for this highly authentic, transparent post, Shannon. But as far as I’m concerned you are my treasure and a dream come true. You love your family and you love God, and you are trying to do your best. That’s all any of us can hope for. I find it highly amusing that your house and gardens are not perfect all the time. Really? I kept a clean house to the detriment of my health for many years. Never got enough rest because I was so obsessed over the idea of a clean house and all the laundry being done. It was dumb. I should have slept when the children did.

    I don’t care how other blogs come across, I like yours. You can post “perfect” pictures or imperfect ones, share of great creative accomplishments or frustrating disappointments; it’s always a treat to get a glimpse into your life and how you feel about it.

    Lastly, I love your pictures! Great!

    And what a little girl she’s becoming!

  2. Danny permalink
    October 22, 2010 11:15 am

    This is a really amazing/wonderful/poignant piece, sweetheart.

  3. Sheryl permalink
    October 22, 2010 12:25 pm

    I dearly love this. Oh the depth of honesty and openness that translates into immense beauty. Noone has it together, and the quest to be perfect can paralyze and close us off to authentic living and sharing life with others. I’m amazed at your wisdom. Shannon, most would have to live a much longer life to attain your depth and grasp of life. I love you. I’m so proud of you. And I’m thrilled for the pics of Naftalie! She’s growing up so fast. Pics of Thompson in beautiful you, pleeeeeeease?!:)

  4. Dennis permalink
    October 22, 2010 5:47 pm

    Good stuff, Shannon. The facade is there for everyone and what you see is only part of what you get. The picture of Naftalie drinking apple juice was great. She is really growing fast. Her and Thompson will be close in age but you won’t think so for many years.

  5. Caitlyn permalink
    October 24, 2010 3:52 pm

    shannon, this is so amazing. it is one of the most difficult things to have to get over yourself. i have that written in my room because i struggle with it so often. when you finally give up any sort of image, you feel so free! i love hearing how people continue to grow and triumph over things that block the Holy Spirit in their lives. its so great to see the change!

  6. caitlyn permalink
    October 24, 2010 3:53 pm

    p.s. naftalie in those leaves with that attitude made me echo through the hallways with laughter. love you!

  7. jessica kiehn permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:31 am

    this is so beautiful, because it is truth.

  8. jessica kiehn permalink
    November 5, 2010 7:51 am

    i keep coming here regularly looking for a new blog post…

  9. Diane permalink
    November 29, 2010 11:49 am

    i read this and cant help but say “amen”

  10. March 6, 2011 12:50 pm

    Great post. So true. It’s so easy to make life look clean and simple online.

    P.S. My bed is practically never made. Ever. I mean, we just don’t make it.

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