This post was written by Danika Cooley of Thinking Kids
Back in the old days — before the advent of digital cameras — movies were recorded on long reels of plastic. To edit a movie, one had to cut the reel with scissors, then splice it back together. This was a long, tedious process, and the discarded bits of movie ended up curling and forgotten on the cutting room floor.
The good parts made the movie. The best parts made the highlight reel.
Now we have movie cameras the size of a credit card. We have movie cameras in our portable phones (will the wonders never cease?).
Weirdest of all, we can watch movies our friends took from the beach in Hawaii at the doctor’s office in Wisconsin.
And we do.
Social media has made it easy to connect with friends.
We examine their organic salmon quiche with little roasted purple and white potatoes. They wave from beautifully arranged photos in exotic locations. Their children are always perfectly dressed in clothing that comes from cute boutiques. Their statuses share funny little stories and amazing mom moments.
Oh, that I could ever make a cupcake look like that!
It’s so easy to examine the edited lives of others and feel deficient. After all, that skinny lady’s kids are always obedient and she certainly never fails her family. She never has an off-day where nothing is accomplished, or her husband leaves without saying goodbye after a tough conversation. She’s the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect follower of Christ. Right?
Friends, social media is the new highlights reel.
Most of my life has been lived on the cutting room floor.
Don’t get me wrong — I love to share the new bunny hutch my husband built. It’s fun to build him up in public. Once in a while, I’m overcome with excitement over my bumper crop of tomatoes. But most of my days are spent dealing with character issues, books, and my broom. Sometimes I think I spend more time sweeping and cooking than I spend doing anything else.
There are things I don’t share on Facebook.
You won’t find my prayers that God will call my children to Himself. You won’t see me vent my frustration over having to address that obedience issue again. You won’t hear about my fight with my husband — the one that I started for no apparent reason, without even meaning to. You certainly didn’t hear about the test I spent four months waiting for the results for this winter. I didn’t share what I read on Google about that nine syllable word that wouldn’t leave my brain.
Instead, you saw my highlights reel. With every picture I posted, I begged God to let the answer be different. I dreamed that the phone call never happened.
When God answered my prayers in a miraculous way, I cried. And I posted a picture of the little people I love.
Friends, we all have our cutting room floors. Life is hard. It can be gloriously joyous and devastatingly painful — sometimes all at once.
We can’t afford to compare our outtakes to the highlights reels of others. God doesn’t call us to live a picture-perfect life. He calls us to live for Him.
He calls us to point others to Jesus — to serve Him with all we’ve got. When the highlights reel on your screen gets overwhelming, turn it off.
Never forget that your outtakes are a precious gift.
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