Last Wednesday I posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook:
With these words typed below it:
This semester Wednesday nights look like this. Anthony works after Program so we meet at the Senior Center early before Bible Study. I bring him food and usually coffee (this week it was orange juice) and we talk about our days. Some days it wears on me getting home and turning back around right after, driving two separate cars, but some days (like tonight) I remember to laugh and smile (and document) and remember it’s just the season we’re in right now. It’s always so good to see him after 11 1/2 hours.
And then the next morning, when I went on Facebook for the first time, I saw this comment:
“You are wise my friend and I love your posts and your obedience to do things God’s way”
This comment is from a friend who I know through my sister and her husband’s family. And we’ve only ever been in the same space together at family events or social things. So this comment came out of left field for me.
I don’t think I’ve ever been told that before, in those words, that I’m obeying God’s way. It’s so easy to see—on Sunday Mornings in Romans or Wednesday nights in Genesis—it’s how I’m failing, it’s so easy to see how applicable God’s word is, how practical it is. But then it’s like I walk out those doors and I allow doubt and worry and stress and fear to hit me. I let tears and anger and rash thoughts be my go-to.
It’s so hard, without my Bible and notebook directly in front of me at all times, to know that I might be doing better than I give myself credit. It’s hard to remember to offer myself grace. It’s so hard to see the forest when I’m walking amidst the trees.
Some days it’s hard to see God when you’re working in an environment that isn’t always welcoming, when you’re the person who should be positive but positivity and joy don’t come naturally to you. Some days it’s hard to see God when your husband works two jobs, is a part-time student, and you drive separate cars almost everywhere (or so it seems). Sometimes it’s hard to see God when you’ve sneezed 800 times before noon and your head feels stuffed with snot. Sometimes it’s hard to see God when you’re killing termites and wondering why your milk isn’t cold.
So, this comment. It was a humbling reminder of what social media can be. Sure, yes, I checked Facebook to see if my photo had any likes or reactions (because we all hope the things we post get seen and those hearts and thumbs ups make me way more happy and fleetingly satisfied than they should), but when I saw the comment it reminded me why I post things in the first place: to document a piece of my life I don’t want to forget and to be as real and honest in a little box as much as I possibly can. The thumbs up and the hearts don’t matter. The memory and the lesson I’m learning through daily life do.
And in that context it’s much, much easier to see God. In humbling, sweet words of praise. In the moment when your landlady and youngest son show up with an icebox to keep your food cold. When your favorite lady at the laundromat sits down next to with chocolate, looks at pictures of your niece, and talks about her husband like he’s the best man in the world.
And I am a word person. My true self and feelings are best expressed in written words (blog posts, Instagram captions, notebooks, journaling, cards, stories, text messages). And I’m an over-thinker to the max, to the point that I can imagine the situation—what I would say, what I could do—and then I worry that it’s too much, that it will be received badly/wrongly/not at all/people will think I’m weird. So if I can help just one person with my words, then that’s a bonus.
Words. Written. Spoken. Typed into a Facebook comment. Mailed. Scrawled in a card. Painted. Sung. Words of all kinds are so important and they last and stick in ways we will never imagine.
Use them carefully. Think before speaking them. Use them to build others up (Ephesians 4:29). And use them to love and encourage and comfort people. We will never go wrong when using our words for good and truth.