Time for Self-Examination: Are You Camera-Ready?

Self-examination: Are you camera ready?Yesterday, during a women’s ministry event, we participants were instructed to gather into groups based upon our birth months, and then, determine some things we had in common. The leadership team also encouraged us to take group selfies and share them on social media. Most of us went a step beyond and began taking selfies with smaller subsets of women in our groups. We really embraced the idea of getting to know each other.

What a great ice breaker…except I experienced a hitch as I gathered two other women to snap a selfie. I kept repositioning my smart phone but couldn’t fit myself into the picture. Actually, after a couple of seconds, I realized none of us were in the picture. The background I captured was strange, to boot. Obviously, I take selfies so infrequently that I hadn’t remembered to switch to the “selfie camera” mode. The women in my group chuckled and gave me a hard time. It was all in love and fun.

Like me, have you gotten candid photos of unsuspecting bystanders instead of taking the selfie you really intended? Many of us have. Sometimes, we even act like a camera facing in the wrong direction; instead of examining ourselves, we zoom in on others’ faults. Before long, we concoct strange or distorted pictures of those in our midst.

For example, some women berate their friends’ parenting styles, but refuse to acknowledge and correct their own children’s faults. Others complain about a spouse’s obsession with technology—all the while they use their own electronic devices at bedtime, while eating family meals, and even during a night out at the movies. Still, a few ladies complain about how no one listens to them; however, they don’t consider how often they unapologetically interrupt others. When things like this happen, we might as well smile and say, “Cheese,” because it’s time to turn our “cameras” on selfie mode. We need some serious introspection!

If you were to take a snapshot of your life right now, what area might require improvements? What area is “camera-ready?” How does Matthew 7:3 speak to you personally?

Exploding Under Pressure

Exploding Under PressureRecently my memory traveled back a few decades.  I chuckled as I recalled a boy who was about thirteen years old.  Roy was his name.  This kid really went out of his way to impress my older sister.  “Psst,” he called out to her, “watch this.”  Several neighborhood kids heeded his command, too.

With all eyes staring in his direction, Roy squatted and picked up a barbell.  Struggling to lift the bar over his scrawny shoulders, his entire five-foot frame trembled.  Chants from older teenage boys coaxed him to press on.  Roy squirmed, but refused to back down.  Holding his breath, he mustered the strength to elevate the bar just a hair more.  Then it happened.  Roy exploded under the pressure.  Literally.  The thunderous claps and noxious fumes in his vicinity were evidence.

At times, mothers may feel a bit like Roy.  Some single-handedly provide financial support for their families.  Others try to create solutions for everything and everyone.  A few have even exhausted their strength trying to win their children’s love in unnecessary, unconventional ways.  Before long, we relent, realizing the pressure is too great.

However, it doesn’t have to be so!  Unlike Roy, let’s not wait for thunderous noises and toxic fumes to get our attention. Before we allow an unhealthy mindset to bring about our body’s deterioration, let’s examine ourselves using the following questions as a guide.

  • What boundaries have I set to show that self-care is a priority?
  • Before I attack a problem, have I determined whether it really is mine to resolve in the first place?
  • Have I identified resources designed to build up women like me?
  • In what ways do I nurture my children?  Is this a natural show of affection or is it based upon how much I can purchase or do for them?
  • How might I teach someone (e.g., a co-worker, child, or spouse) a skill to help build their independence and reduce their dependency on me?
  • Have I assessed my friendships lately?  Have I outgrown any of them?  Are some of my relationships more refreshing than others?  Why?

Let us know which question resonated with you most or caused you to experience an aha moment.