Have you ever watched behind the scenes footage of a movie or tv show? It always fascinates me to see the actors candidly, to hear their raw voice. To observe the setting around the staged scene, all of the crew members and production staff that make it happen. To see real life.
It is easier to be impressive to strangers than it is to be consistently kind behind the scenes.
As I scrolled through my Instagram feed this morning, I came upon this quote shared by Crystal Paine/The Money Saving Mom. Though I’ve never read any of Shauna Niequist’s works personally, I was struck by the truth declared in these few words. We live in a social media world – I don’t think it was unintentional that Crystal shared this on a social media feed – and so much of our lives on social media is packaged. Like a movie set, our social media lives are posed, styled, edited and filtered. Our feeds are meant to highlight the best moments of each day – those that make the final cut.
Our real lives aren’t styled, though. We’re not posed and edited. Life is raw, unfiltered, often messy and frequently mundane. And though our instastories might be eye-catching and attractive, who we are behind the scenes is who we really are. Though current politics might try to declare otherwise, who you are when nobody’s watching (or recording) is your true character. As Dwight L. Moody put it, “Character is who you are in the dark.”
My kids and I were watching Finding Dory last night, and we were on the scene when Hank gets frustrated with Dory and yells at her. My girl said, “Mama, he’s being mean! He’s not nice!” To which I replied, “Well, he’s frustrated and angry with Dory. That happens, sometimes.”
And my daughter responded, “yeah….like you get.”
I was shaken to my core. In her fairly benign response, my little 3-year-old revealed what you won’t see in my Instagram feed: my quick temper, the moments where I speak out in frenzied frustration instead of pressing in with calm control. It was an opportunity to offer repentance and ask forgiveness from her, and a necessary reminder that the number of likes on our family photos is not the measure of my motherhood.
It’s easy for me to make the world think I’m a good mom. I post the pictures of my cute kids in their perfect poses, and it looks like all is well. But would my kids say I’m consistently kind? Would my husband? Outside of the 4×4 frame, am I revealing Jesus to them? Am I loving them well? Are there areas I can improve?
I love to look through my social media feeds and admire the beautiful homes and the breathtaking views. But, I think it’s better to see life behind the scenes, because that’s where the real living is.