If you’ve read my Facebook regularly you might have seen a bit of a trend. The last two months have primarily talked a lot about my adventures in becoming a stay-at-home mom. In that comes the comical side of watching my children’s antics during many more hours of the day. It also comes with more moments of lamentation as I deal with broken arms and outbreaks of poison ivy.
Yet, at the root of it all, is me. Learning to navigate waters in a new season of life by letting go of my career and embracing full-time motherhood.
So you can imagine the sick feeling I had when a longtime online friend left a comment conveying that following my new journey of being a stay-at-home mom was “exhausting.”
I was more than just mildly upset. I searched the reasons for why it was so exhausting. I mean, I know I’ve never done this whole full-time mom thing before, but I kind of expected everyone to rejoice with me. Even in those moments of trial and error, laughable and stressful, familiar and unfamiliar.
So I quickly typed a response. It was the most somewhat polite one I could come up with so early in the morning after a night of little sleep. I felt satisfied that I was able to communicate that she need not follow or read anything about “my new journey” if my thoughts were not appreciated. I crossed my i’s and dotted the t’s and felt good about everything I had to say.
And then, as if by grace, I saw the word standing out from the page once more. Exciting.
She wasn’t exhausted in reading about my journey. She was excited for me!
The next few seconds sounded a lot like: “Seriously, Jennifer, what on EARTH is wrong with you?”
I breathed a sigh of relief and removed everything I’d just typed and sat for a few minutes thinking about what I’d almost done. Somewhat polite might’ve been a bit of a stretch. I was tired and groggy and had been in rare form. If I’m being honest, my response was rather curt and unloving.
I was a little bit ashamed of myself.
In that moment I knew if I was going to continue to share my story online about anything – from family to friends to faith in this public processing of my thoughts – that I needed to be better prepared for the possible criticism that came with someone who didn’t share my opinion. Not be ready to fire back with a flared temper.
Consequently, it hadn’t happened this time around but it has happened. It will continue to happen. And it’s probably one of the very things that stops me dead in my tracks, preventing me from moving forward.
As an online fiction writer I’d get that random review that ripped me in two because someone didn’t like what I’d done with my characters. But this…this kind of thing is a lot bigger than killing off a character your readers loved.
Putting my life on display is a choice I’ve made for myself. Not everyone will agree with how much (or little) should be shared via a blog or social media. And that’s okay. I’ve learned to live with that.
But I’m finding that putting my faith on display is a much scarier thing. Essentially, what I’m doing is publicly sharing with you the way I process through truth. You get to journey with me as I work through what He’s teaching me. Every idea must be expounded on and sometimes I might land on the wrong conclusion.
And sometimes…so will you. Our thoughts may not always align.
But I don’t want to walk this road to Emmaus alone. When we walk and talk together these are the places Jesus meets us. These are the times where He speaks truth into our hearts and helps us understand who He is.
And as apprehensive as it is to walk this road publicly, fearing that what I have to say hits the page and sparks conflict of some sort, I just can’t pull the car over and sit idle because I’m afraid to go on.
It is at this spot in the road…this crossing of intersections that I need to let the fruit of the Spirit shine. I need to motion you on through and remember that this journey may not land us in the same place at the same time. We might not always agree or see eye to eye with what’s being shared in this public venue known as the interwebs.
But it doesn’t mean I let the car run out of gas by idling on the shoulder. It doesn’t mean that I give up and drive back home.
Because if I did that, I would never grow. I’d never glean as much wisdom from online readers who graciously share their opinions whether they agree with me or not.
Whether exhausting or exciting…the journey must continue. You and I, we can walk this road to Emmaus together, our hearts burning as we compare notes of our time with Him.
And perhaps sometimes we will need to agree to disagree. Yes?