Do you like getting family pictures taken? I don’t. Facebook is a wonderful place to post family pictures. We can keep people in the loop without having time-consuming personal conversations with everyone about everything. We get to see a snapshot of their family and then scroll down to the next newsfeed. It’s a great way to feel connected without actually being connected. This might sound shallow, but it’s true, so you can admit it.
Honestly, I like to see all the family pictures that people post. Pictures of families jumping into a pile of leaves or standing hand in hand, walking down a scenic path, make me smile. Some families even wear matching shirts and jeans. In the Braland family picture, we wore matching white shirts and jeans while posing in front of a variety of summer scenery. I even have one pic on my Harley with my sweet bride sitting behind me.
The truth is that I hate picture day. I always have. When I was a kid I hated dressing up, combing my hair, and traveling to the Sears Portrait studio to pose with my annoying sister (she felt the same way about me). By the time we left my mother was usually in tears and my dad was ready to smack me.
Our family photographer is a good friend of ours and unfortunately our family pictures were about as pleasant as my parents’ annual experience. Kids fighting, dad irritated, mom wishing everyone would just get along for ten minutes. Even my dog Hunter insisted on walking in the mud then dropping his ball on our clean clothes. For every good picture there were a dozen more where someone was having a meltdown or complaining about having to wear white shirts. But you would never know it if you only looked at the pictures.
It’s a good thing God doesn’t scroll through our family pictures to get a snapshot of what is happening in our life. If he did, all of us look like we are living the dream. Rather, God looks straight at our heart. When I’m depressed, he knows it. When I’m prideful, he knows it. God doesn’t care about my glossy photos with the perfect filter; he cares about the condition of my heart. That is what is so cool about God. Regardless of what I have done or who I am trying to fool or pretend to be, he loves me just as I am. This is undeserved grace at its best.
If God has a fridge, your picture would be on it. Not some polished family photo, just a picture of you in your everyday attire. If God is on Facebook, you are his friend. He keeps up with you and he has the time to care. When I see my family picture, I know the real story and I still love my kids in spite of how they act on picture day. When Kathi sees our picture, she loves me in spite of how I act on picture day. When God sees me, he loves me regardless of how I may have been acting lately. Knowing this helps me to authentically communicate with God because I don’t have to project myself in a phony way. Since he loves me as I am for who I am, I never have to fear that he might discover my life isn’t really as pretty as my pictures.