Uplifting or Pharisitical? Part 2

November 24, 2012

Isn’t all about perspective? We had a Thanksgiving Eve devotional about perspective. The minister read a list from those living in other countries, mostly from their missionary experiences, of the things they are thankful for. “Thankful I can get water from the tap that is safe to drink.” Again, that is another thing I totally take for granted because I have no reference point. I’ve never worried about safe drinking water.

I post what I’m thankful for. I share what is on my heart and mind. Surely I’m not the only one with a mother who has cancer … others just don’t share it. Is it bad that I share it? Interestingly, my Thankful Post about her got over 40 likes. I shouted to the world that T1 made Junior Regional Orchestra. No one else did and their children made the same orchestra. Was it wrong of me to proclaim how proud of T1 I am or was I bragging, was rubbing in the faces of those whose children didn’t make it and probably should have? Again, probably 40 likes.

I feel if I posted about clean water, when I have no personal POV for such a thing, then would I not be truly acting like the Pharisee standing there proclaiming “Thank God I’m not like that Publican over there!”?

Writing about these things, remembering something so painful, makes me edgy. I was trying to explain to the Chief just how frustrating it is to start out feeling really grateful and blessed and spiraling down to questioning whether posting is such a good idea. I am not the easiest to talk to at such times. To his credit the Chief stuck it out and managed to get me to see some things from his perspective.

The minister was not saying those without experiences in Third World Countries really have no idea what is gratitude–instead he was saying that digging deeper and seeing the truth behind the blessing is what is important. It is a GOOD thing that I have no idea what it is like to worry about clean drinking water and that should motivate me to 1. be even more grateful and 2. to find ways to extend God’s blessings to others–either through service or financially, etc. We shared our prayers of thanksgiving, “wow”, and “help” and uplifted each other in song and prayer. It was a good evening.

As I lamented “Should I be posting about T1’s success if none of the other parents did? Should I not say how proud I am of her?” the Chief interrupted: “I used to tease some of the guys who do that, who post about something silly their child has done. Really? You’re proud of that? But maybe that little, silly thing is all they have. You never know.”

I myself have been uplifted by the daily thankful posts of others. My childhood friend, her mother, a mother of four, my old youth leader’s wife… I have about a dozen friends posting daily. (And probably about 40 friends and family “lurking” and liking mine.) The posts that have made me smile the most? “Today I’m thankful for my youngest child who mercilessly torments his older siblings.” “Today I’m thankful for my robovacuum.” “Today I’m thankful my children and their friends have become my friends.” For all the mundane posts of their every day lives. For the “roses” they have taken the time to smell. I’m truly uplifted by them.

So do I find them self-centered? Of course not. So why should I feel that holds true for me? The Chief, who if you haven’t figured out is NOT a big proponent of political correctness or fairness, said “You are going to offend somebody. Somebody is not going to like what you post or blog about. I offend a lot of people. But if you spend so much time worrying about them, nothing would ever get done. We’d be unable to do anything.”

“So you post you have a great husband. It might remind someone they don’t. That’s not your problem. So you’re grateful we have things. Guess what? I’m gone half the year–that’s the cost of those things. It’s what you deserve.”

I don’t know about the deserving part, but I am grateful.

I just don’t want to be the Pharisee. Interestingly, some of my conflict comes also from how I feel about all the guilt-laden cutesy pictures and quips stating that “If you deny Him, He’ll deny you so you better repost this”. Does He really want just my reposting? I think He wants much more than that. By participating in the Month of Thankfulness and having several of my posts reference God and all He has done for me, I hope I am doing more than just “reposting faith” … I just don’t want it to appear equally obnoxious (or Pharisitical). Especially if the gratitude feeling wanes and I forget so quickly in the new year the minute a stressful situation pops up.

And thank you for the posts of encouragement in Part 1. I wasn’t necessarily attacked for my Thankfulness posts but I think the person was referencing them as almost “holier than thou” as her excuse for calling me those things for an unrelated but equally public posting.

It is late at night when these anxieties rear their ugly head and this has been on my mind. I needed to explain how bitter-sweet it is to count my blessings. The Chief gets it (even if I frustrate him with my edginess) but he also wants me to stop being so hard on myself.

Easier said than done!



  1. I agree with you wise hubby, stop being so hard on yourself!

  2. I agree with The Chief — stop being so hard on yourself. As he said, there are ALWAYS people who won’t like what you do/say/wear etc. and it just isn’t worth worrying about.

  3. […] ← Uplifting or Pharisitical? Part 2 […]

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