Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Impressions and Confessions

Perception Management.  It is a phrase that has stuck with me for years. I first heard it used in a play in which the main character was looking back on his life and realized that his entire life had been focused on what he called "perception management."  His goal in life had inadvertently become to manage what people thought of him.

I struggle with this.  It is why I stopped blogging for over a year.  It is why I stopped posting photos to Facebook.  What people thought of me...whether it be a photo I posted or an update I shared...had become too important.  I judged the quality of my photo based on how many comments I received or didn't receive.  So, I stopped.  I posted much less on Facebook, and I took a break from blogging.  I started again only after Jude's diagnosis...and with much prayer.

The online world is full of perception management.  We present a public image that doesn't paint a true picture.  It's a false reality, and I am guilty of trying to dwell in it.  I post only the photos that I look best in.  I make sure to frame my photo so you can't see the messy laundry in the background.  And, if I am struggling with depression, I probably won't post on that day. 

Just as giving is really the only true antidote to materialism, it seems that sharing some of the uglier, broken parts could help free us of this incessant temptation to impress.  And, we might just find that His light shines brighter in our brokenness.

So, that's why I love my friend Holly's idea.  In order to combat this struggle, she wrote a wonderful post called Confessions.  And, in response to popular demand, she has created a link-up for us to do it as well. 

So, here are a few things I would like to confess:

My house is a disaster, and I am currently not cooking.  I have been seriously neglecting my home and my family to read Anne of Green Gables...and Anne of Avonlea...and Anne of the Island...and all the rest of those wonderful books.  I happened to pick the first one up a few weeks ago, and my free time has since been spent in the picturesque Prince Edward Island.  This treasured series was a staple of my girlhood, and I read them multiple times as a child.  Still, once I get into a fiction book, I dive in wholeheartedly until the book ends.  Once, I spent an entire month reading Harry Potter for the first time...while a baby Caleb played on a blanket beside me.  I don't do well with moderation.  And, everything around me...including my husband and child...gets neglected. 

I am terrible at following through with things.  Take my New Year's Resolutions for example.  At this point, I am way behind on my chronological Bible reading.  Getting up early has been overall wonderful but has taken a huge hit these past two weeks (I was up until 4:30am last night).  And, that Project 365 thing?  Yeah, I didn't make it much past February.  :-)

I am a hypocrite.  I often find myself telling Caleb not to do something and then I do it after he leaves the room.  I limit his video game time to 20 minutes, and then I spend hours wasting time on the internet.  Tonight, I told him he could have 2 more jelly beans because "they aren't good for him," and then I ate a fistful.  I do things like that all.the.time.  I think if I followed the instructions I give him, then I would probably live a much healthier life.

There are so many more.  Some I will leave for a future post.  If you'd like to share, head to Holly's blog and link up your post.  If you don't have a blog, feel free to share in her comments.  Now please excuse me while I go finish Rainbow Valley.  :-)


amyfaith said...

good to see you back lady. your confessions could be mine or many other people. i "ate" a book this weekend :o) (the dog who talked to God) and it was very good. I am learning that if i keep my focus on God, seeking Him, He even blesses my time cleaning or catching up on laundry. thankful i am a work in progress, praying the "what people think" thing will leave and that with His grace, i can pray that i will glorify him. love & prayers continue from this messy office in colorado ♥

tasha said...

thanks for sharing this, mandy. so true and i can relate. i'd like to link up with this and funny thing - i started a blogpost (didn't finish yet) called confessions. coincidence?
and, i absolutely LOVE Anne of Green Gables. wanna go to Prince Edward Island with me sometime? Have you been?

Jen said...

Mandy, please don't feel that way. You have been a part of my life since the day you were born. The boys don't have much to do with me and have very little communication with me, not judging just the way it is. You are a Mother and that is something I can connect with you on. I do worry about you because you have been through a lot but also because I lost someone who was special to me to and I know how far you can fall and how hard it is to rise back up. I know I couldn't have done it without the Lord and people who took me under their wings that I hadn't known for very long. You are part of my past and there isn't much of that left. Sorry if you feel pulled under, I just care and enjoy the music. Love Ya
Write when you can.

Holly said...

Man, I need to get my hands on Anne of Green Gables! :) You explained this really well. Thanks for sharing and participating in this :)
And I started the Bible-in-a-year plan January of 2011, and 15 months later I'm somewhere in April...

Sandybeth said...

Wow Mandy! You described how I feel a lot of times . . . I feel completely identified with that ... also I feel a lot of curiosity for those books that you mentioned, jejeje :)
Te mando un abrazote amiga, gracias por tu sinceridad y por abrir tu corazon de esta manera! :)

KT said...

Wonderfully written, Mandy! You have described how I feel about a lot of things! It's nice to read and talk about others "flaws" that make us human, but that God uses to make us "perfect" for Him and His glory!! :)

Anonymous said...

I think the hypocrite part must go along with being a mom. How funny that just this morning, I grabbed the bag of jelly beans left over from Sunday School and took it into work so I could finish them off by myself. After limiting the 6 year old to eating only a few a day because they're so sugary!

I feel one with you today.....

Andrea Bullok said...

Thanks for the post Mandy! It is so refreshing to see you and your friends so openly share struggles. I can relate to so many of your confessions - my house is a mess, I watch too much TV, and I try to teach my kids to do things I do not do myself. I am also too worried about what others think of me and not focused enough on eternal things. So grateful that Christ covers those in His blood so there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Missed seeing you on here and have continued to pray for you.

Sarah said...

Great post Mandy. Realness is where it's at. You're fallen, not perfect, and totally NORMAL and still wonderful! I can ditto pretty much all your confessions and add lists of my own! I'm learning to live in that tension of not being okay where I'm at and taking God's grace as a liscence to sin, but also not constantly beating myself up for my failures, trying to perform and do it all on my own. I'm convinced there's a happy, happy inbetween where I can long and strive to be more of what God wants me to be, seek His power to do it, and be real and accept his grace in the process. I think it will be a forever kind of learning though ;)

Mandy said...

Haha...I love these comments. I wish I could respond to each of you individually, but blogger doesn't let me. So, I will just say thanks to you all for your encouragement...and vulnerability. :-) I am so thankful for all of you. :-)

p.s. Tasha, I would LOVE to.

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