Throwing caution to the wind, our family decided to go to an amusement park this past weekend. As we headed in, they did a temperature check. All good.
The lines were long, on some of the rides. As I waited in one line, to go on a bus that would lift me up and down with other kids, I observed a family ahead of us. The boy’s hair was perfectly done. The girl’s braids were tightly tied together with bows. Their clothes were ironed and perfect. The moms face looked immaculate. There was no flaw with this crew…
“They must always dress like the perfect family,” I thought. “Everywhere they go, they look amazing. They only wear clothes that are brand new and they have it all together.”
Standing there, I felt like trash next to this woman, in my clunky sneakers and my wind-thrashed hair. Unable to control myself for a moment, my voice chimed up from within me. I started to speak to the woman.
I said, “You all are the picture of a perfect family. You must always dress amazingly.”
The mom replied back, “Oh no, I am in workout pants most days.” The son said, “And, I am so uncomfortable in this belt; I can’t wait to get it off.” Apparently, they just had their Christmas picture-shoot right before coming to the park.
Things are not always what they seem. Our inner stories and presumptions give us an outer snapshot of what we figure — must be true. But, our automatic truth does not equal autonomous God’s truth. For, what we see on the outside never explains the inner story, behind the walls of someone else’s life.
We see social media and the parties and think: we’re the only one watching movies at home…
We see the woman with the perfect Christmas tree by the fireplace and figure: her family must always be at peace.
We see those with close family and think: they have it made; their life is bliss.
Suddenly, our world is trash and everyone else has it better. But, things are not what they seem. Usually the inner stories we concoct about other people are half-truths, if not outright lies.
This is why Philippians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true.”
When we lay down things we figure must be true, we can more easily fix our mind where it is meant to dwell…
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” (Heb. 12:2)
Who have you been comparing yourself too? How has this been stealing joy from you? Impacting your relationships? What would it look like for you to begin focusing on truth and on Jesus?