Thursday, April 24, 2008

Are You for REAL?

Yesterday I spoke for a delightful group of ladies at a MOPS meeting in Kalamazoo. (And as I was driving to the meeting, I realized it was on yesterday's date fifteen years ago that I graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It was amazing to reflect on how much has happened in those fifteen years!)
There is one comment a mom made during our discussion time which has stuck with me, and I want to talk about it here today. We were talking about being real with one another - admitting our failures and short-comings as mothers - and this woman said she has had a very hard time being open in this way. She needs the support of other moms who are experiencing similar trials, but she doesn't feel she can be real with the women she knows. This mom said she is part of an online Christian moms' group and she gets great support and advice from these women. She is free to "be real" with them because of the anonymity that goes with these online groups. She feels safe to admit her struggles because she doesn't really know, and will likely never meet, these women.
I think these online groups can be great, and I know many women find support, comfort, and good advice from the women who participate. Yes, there is some value in the "safety" of anonymity. But it got me to thinking...

It may be easy to be real online, but how are we doing offline???

How are we doing in real life???

Are you being real IRL?

And it isn't just the online forums. Blogging is another easy and "safe" way to be real. We can say anything we want to here. We can make each other laugh, cry, think and wonder. We can share our hearts honestly and openly and our blogging buddies can be blessed as we write.
Oh, how I love you, my blogging friends. Truly, I do. I consider you my friends though we have never met. (And I have a secret desire to speak for a moms' group in each of your towns so we can meet.) I pray for you and think of you. I am so thankful to God for the relationships we are able to form in the blogosphere.

But the body of Christ doesn't exist only online. We rub shoulders with physical people every day - at church, at home, in the neighborhood. And I wonder, are we being real with the real people around us? Are we opening our hearts and mouths to bless them, to encourage them, to motivate them, as readily as we do online?

It's something to think about.

And now I'm off to run a few errands before I go to my son's school. He's "V.I.P." this week and today my hubby and I get to be interviewed by his class and I'm staying to have lunch with him in the cafeteria. His teacher says it will be real loud, but I am looking forward to spending some real special time with my real son.

Have a blessed day!

post signature


JanMary said...

I was thinking along these lines today. When I started blogging I was reluctant to tell friends "in the real world" about my blo. There were several reasons - firstly it was mostly about digital scrapbooking, and I know NO-ONE in the real world who does that too! Secondly it was easier to be anonymous and more confident - I felt less judged as I was unknown. I hope my real world friends can all recognise me from my blog, and that I keep it real. I do share my faith on my blog, and recently a little of my experiences with PND (I believe it is known as PDD in US).

Lots to think about - keeping it real both off-line and on-line. I believe God can really use our blogging to bring Him glory, but I know I need to be more open to Him for opportunities.

PS Come to Ireland and speak to us anytime!

km said...

I may have first shared some thoughts on my blog that I couldn't speak about. But, several of my IRL friends read it...and have their own blogs too. In the last 2 years I've been letting go of some long time friends (realizing that the friendship was superficial) and building into the women in our Sunday School class. It's been so worth it. The day after your book came, it was on my kitchen counter, and a mom came over to play with her kids. She picked it up and was reading the back cover when I came back into the room. It opened such a wonderful conversation. But, If I had tried to hide that I was reading it...or that deny that I'm overwhelmed as a mom...then our talk wouldn't have been the same. Last year I did a True-Faced Bible Study (John Lynch) and it really changed my perspective. Before that, I probably wouldn't have even admitted to you that I have 'chinks in my armor'. And now...I'm ok with the world knowing that I'm not perfect...and God isn't finished with me.

realworldmartha said...

What a terrific POST! Thanks so much for your insights.
I too feel that it's hard to be "real" with others as the expectations is that you should have it all together.
I believe there are some people who want you to be real and lots that don't and like to keep up appearances. Even though it's been hard I have had to move away from anything that doen't allow me to be a failure at times. I can't be perfect and find that my true friends are ok with that although it can make the friendship pool smaller at times. That's when I reflect upon Jesus and see that he had 12 (one betrayed him) and he was perfect.


luvmy4sons said...

Amen! It is so important to be real with one share one another's burdens...which means sharing your own!

mamachristina said...

Wow this must be an ephidemic because I struggle with this. I feel like others who I "vent" to are judging me like I don't love my children as much because I get overwhelmed and frustrated. I will put your link on my blog I love it. I actually don't live far from you and don't even know where to find a support group for stay at home moms.

Rochelle said...

I'm a BIG fan of real. Even when it hurts. It's draining when I'm not real... and I love when I feel safe enough to be real. I can judge my truest friends when I can be real with them. And they can be real to me. And one place I decided long ago was to be real on my blog. I read some blogs of seemingly "perfect" people trying to impress somebody... that drive me crazy!! Yes, I'm a big fan of real! Great post.

virginia said...

I appreciate your realness.That is something that is hard for me because I have been through some terrible things and fear judgement from others like my experiences make me less of a person.I know that everything we go through makes us stronger and is an oppurtunity to relate to someone and share our faith,so I will try to be more open.Thanks for the reminder,virginia

ibeeeg said...

Wow! This is post that truly drives home a point to me.
You said, "Are we opening our hearts and mouths to bless them, to encourage them, to motivate them, as readily as we do online? "

Umm...yes, it is so easy to be more real online because I think one does not receive any negative impact instantly. There is a security in that. However, I am personally striving towards being all that you have said...real with my family, friends, etc - trying to encourage, motivate them. Striving is the key word. It is hard to keep myself focused on that when there are so many daily life activities that get in the way. They overwhelm me at times thus loosing my focus. Hopefully that makes sense.

Anyways, thanks for this post. It has helped to refocus me! Hmmm...I think I will post around my house a few words to help maintain the focus... "encourage", "motivate", "Listen" as well as a bible verse that speaks to me (need to still find one for the day/week).

Rachel said...

I don't understand why anyone would not want to be real. Isn't it more exauhsting to act?
READ: Confessions of a Good Christain Girl. It's all about this and so good!
We should be the FIRST ones to stand up and talk about how hard things are to show our NEED for a savior. It's not like we get saved and are "fixed." I want my blog to line up with my life and the LIVE discussions I'm having with those around me (physically.)

Happyhome said...

The older I've gotten (we'll leave it at that), the more I have come to realize that I don't have time to NOT be real. Moving this past year really seemed to bring it home for me. Starting over with relationships helped me see that as a busy wife and mom, I didn't want to take time for any relationships that were not real. My life is to full for fluff! I have been blessed with women in my life that I can be incredibly real with. They love me, warts and all!


Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

Oh, so well said! Boy, do we want to stay real IRL! We need to be able to hug each other, cry on one another's shoulders, encourage, challenge, and "spur one another on" in the Body.

Thanks so much for sharing.


Shawna said...

I learned the hard way through depression that I needed to be real with others (IRL) because I grew up always believeing that you weren't strong unless you kept everything inside. It's still a struggle for me to let others in, but God has blessed me with some dear friends who love me though the very ugly and difficult times. Then he blessed me again with online friends who share their struggles with me, too. I hope the lady above is able to find close friends.

BTW, my town does have a MOPS group. So when are you coming to see me?:)And I gave one of my IRL friends your book, and it has just blessed her. She recently signed up for your Survival Kit. I love you and your ministry!!