When you scroll through your social media feeds, what do you see? We love to “like” photos of sleeping babies, mouthwatering meals, and smiling couples.

You don’t see pictures of those same babies screaming at two in the morning, Mama bargaining for sleep. You don’t see too many people captioning photos of the dishes left in the sink after that delicious meal has been made. You definitely don’t see any 7-second videos of couples fighting, cheating, or wondering whether they’ll be able to pay the rent this month.

Who wants to see that?

With everyone showcasing their highlight reels, it’s easy to focus on our own behind-the-scenes footage and compare. In an effort to make it look like we’ve got it all together, we push the mess out of the frame when we share our lives with others; we wipe away tears and reapply mascara before we smile for a selfie. We strive to at least look like the picture-perfect versions of ourselves so that when the world looks on, they approve.

Sadly, as Christians, we are often afraid to be anything less than picture-perfect. We don’t want non-Christians to think that it’s hard or painful to be a Christian. And we definitely don’t want other Christians to think that we’re not totally sold-out and on fire all the time. It’s not like the Apostles ever had a rough day!

Except that they did. Peter lost his temper and cut off a man’s ear. He also denied Jesus three times. Judas betrayed Jesus. Thomas doubted. John fell asleep. The disciples on the road to Emmaus and the women at the tomb didn’t recognize him. Paul actively persecuted Jesus’ followers and literally needed a smack to the head to see that Christ was the Messiah. Jesus’ love for his disciples was stronger than any brokenness or mess in their lives. And before he ascended into Heaven, he gave them – and us – the greatest help for the journey. The Holy Spirit.

Jesus can see every part of your life; not only that, he wants to be a part of it. Let him into the messiness, the dark places, the areas in which you fall short. You can do this by living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus called that “the abundant life” (John 10:10).

We have the blessed opportunity to live out the days we are given living from our identity in Christ. Despite the hard times, and sometimes even because of them, we can truly live out the call we have been given in God’s own strength.

Inviting the Holy Spirit to direct and empower us is the way to live abundantly from day to day. Thank goodness, it’s not just a matter of slapping a smile on when trouble hits: we get to lean on God, who has promised not to forsake those who trust and seek him (Psalm 9:10).

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updated September 2019

Photo Credit: Milada Vigerova