When I was a brand new mom, I wanted the world to know my daughter and see just how beautiful she was. She was my world and I was convinced everyone wanted a picture of her that they could show off on their refrigerators. I sent baby pictures to friends and family and I was sure that they probably couldn’t get enough of her sweet little face.
That was before the internet and social media. Now we can upload every cute little activity, smile, or whim of our child’s life within seconds for the world to see. Our children are on display and we show them off with pride. But can sharing our most precious pictures of our children become more of an obsession and a form of idolatry than an innocent peek into our kids’ lives?
I have been struggling with posting pictures of my kids on the internet for a while now. Everyone does it. Some over-do it. There are even blogs that chronicle the lives of parents and their children. But have we forgotten the sacredness of raising our children in our attempt to share our joy over them?
Children are blessings. They are our pride and joy and it’s understandable to want to show-off the gifts God has given to us. However, it’s very easy to let our children consume our world just like a job, a hobby, or anything that shows success in our lives. Yes, our children often consume our lives with their needs and schedules. But when we find that our own self-image is wrapped around our need to put them on display then perhaps we are creating idols out of our children.
It’s so easy to let our kids meet all our emotional needs. But that is not what God wants from us as mothers and fathers. Our children were created to walk along side of us in life until they are old enough to walk out on their own. They add to who we are and we learn from them but they are not supposed to define who we are. That isn’t what God intended when he blessed us with children.
My world was consumed with my first-born for the first several months and I even probably idolized her a little too much. I am learning (three kids later) that my children do not and should not define who I am. I love them and I occasionally show them off in pictures but I try to remember they are not about ME, they are about who God created them to be. I am just along for the ride and God’s granted me the opportunity of guiding them along until I have to let them go.
So now when I post that picture, I am careful to remember the sacredness of these years with my children. They go way too fast. My kids are not to be idolized or worshiped as a reflection of me. Instead, I am supposed to raise them as a reflection of Christ. Teaching them to value the things of God more than our own accomplishments in life. A lesson you can’t put up on a refrigerator or on a social media site. And a lesson I am learning daily in balancing God and family.