Beyond the Image



We all try to portray a perfect image. Social media has heightened that desire to radical degrees. We show everyone our best selves, our happiest days, things that make us feel important.

The problem with these perfect images we share is that they aren't reality. Of course, the pictures we post on our happiest days are real, but they are only half of the story. Because the truth is that we don't always feel on top of the world, we question our decisions often and sometimes we are so busy taking the picture that we forgot to live the moment.

I am just as guilty of this as everyone else. In fact, I have found that especially anytime I do anything out of the ordinary, I feel this deep, hidden desire to prove to everyone that I wasn't crazy, this ugly desire to be admired and thought well of. If I can just prove all the ways that God is working through me because of the choice I have made then peop;le won't question it, they will celebrate it. I will be a hero.

The first four months I was here in Latvia, I felt like everything was new and exciting. I never really felt homesick and it felt like facetime and social media really helped me stay connected to the other side of the world. Sure, I had my fears about whether I made the right decision, but I saw glimpses often of how God was using me and I felt confident in the decision we had made to come here.

But now, as summer has quickly disappeared here and it rains nearly every day, I'm suddenly wondering how I will make it through. There are days when I wonder if I am doing anything of lasting importance, days when I miss my family and friends and days when I wonder if there is any real significant reason why I am the one God called to do this work. There are times when I see the same women standing on the streets every week and I get frustrated wondering if they will ever realize that God has so much more for them. There are days when I feel like I am trapped and unable to make any difference in the things I see going wrong around me. Days where I feel like I should just give up and go home.

I'm starting to realize that it is important I share this part of our journey here as well. Because as I sit and listen to our women talk, they ask a lot of these same questions. "Why am I here? This doesn't feel easier than the life I was living before. It actually feels a lot harder. Where is God?" I think these are the same questions we all ask and we are afraid to tell anyone. Surely, if we doubt, we must have heard God wrong, we must have made some mistake. God wouldn't allow us to doubt something He called us to do, would He? I don't think that is actually true. I think we all struggle and doubt even when we are smack dab in the middle of God's perfect plan for us. God promised us that He has good plans for our life, but He never promised that it would always feel like a good plan.

These feelings I have on the average day aren't depression or true questioning of my value. They are just the other half of the story, the ones we don't usually post on social media. It's the messy part of life and the confusing parts of our stories that we don't really understand.

BUT FAITH ISN'T BUILT IN OUR INSTAGRAM-ABLE MOMENTS.

It's built in the moments that we wouldn't dare take a picture of; the ones we rarely ever talk about. It's built in the seasons where day after day, the biggest thing we feel like we are saying to God is "Why?" One day we understand and we realize that God really was faithful more than we could have ever imagined. But until we reach that moment of understanding, I think it's important for us to know that we all doubt and God isn't afraid of our doubt. In fact, He welcomes our doubt so He can produce faith - a different kind of faith within us; the kind of faith that cannot be shaken.

"Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse." - Philip Yancey

Written by VMC missionary, Britney Miller (millersinlatvia.com).


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