We just had family pictures taken. Letting someone take pictures of me is not my favorite thing in the world to do. I look at the picture, and I usually hate it. The advent of the whole digital picture thing has basically meant that most pictures of me have ceased to exist because I delete them for one reason or another.
But, then I discovered the world of REAL photography. Not just snapshots, but talented photographers who have all these great tools for erasing your flaws, brightening your lips, making your eyes amazingly beautiful shades of seafoam green. They can remove wrinkles, erase freckles, and basically make you look like a million bucks. I get pictures of myself back from these magicians/artists and I am totally wowed by my rock star appearance. And then I remember.
That's not what I really look like.
Really, in the world of Facebook does it matter? I can put those pictures up and everyone will think I'm aging well. They'll nod in approval as they observe that, yes, Melissa is holding up ok after all these years. And, if I run into them sometime, they'll be surprised that I don't look quite so refreshed, quite so bright and youngish. Maybe they'll just think I'm having a bad day. Honestly, if I could put nothing but professional pictures of me online, I would be pretty happy with that. I like putting my best (and sort of false) foot forward to make you believe that I really don't have bags under my eyes because I have a five month old. And a four year old. And a seven year old. I like it when areas of my body that have taken a hit through all these pregnancies are craftily cropped. But, it's not reality.
And, I've got to tell you the truth. The same is true of my faith. I work really hard to make it look like I have my heart in order. I try to leave an impression that will make you think, yes, Melissa is really walking with the Lord. She is depending on Him, looking at her circumstances with spiritual eyes, letting nothing but pure and noble thoughts enter her mind. I want you to look at me and be inspired. I want to look like a great wife, mother, and Christian.
But, the truth is that I struggle to keep my tongue in check. I constantly war against fears and worries in my mind. I am drawn to the world. I complain and grumble. My true spiritual portrait is actually quite ugly.
HOW WONDERUL that I know an excellent artist. He painted the sky. He thought of tiger stripes and three toed sloths and rainbows. He made this beautiful world from nothing at all, and he imagined every detail of every being on this planet.
And He can take my ugly heart, stinky attitude, and rotten desires and do some extreme Photoshop work. But, it's not just an illusion. He really can change me. I'm so glad that I know a Friend who can help me look, no, who can help me BE, good. And on those days when He has a little more clean up work to do than usual, He loves me anyway.
May my spiritual portrait grow more and more lovely as time goes on. And, as for my physical portrait, praise the Lord for Photoshop!