Family Life

When No One is Watching

We recently had some minor remodeling done on our living room and hallways. Though it displaced some of our normal activities, it wasn’t enough that we had to completely stay out of the house. So, on and off for about 2 weeks, we had a brother in the Lord, who works as a general contractor, come in during the day to work on the repairs. He would arrive early in the morning, and I tried to keep the kids busy and undistracted by the construction activity and noise. Movement around the house was limited, so the children had to stay engaged with each activity I gave them. At times, they complained or got bored, especially when they had to stay in their room for long periods of time. I can’t blame them. But what I realized is that as soon as our friend left in the afternoon, my countenance and tone of voice drastically changed. With no one else within earshot, the patience I maintained all day was completely gone.

"Reserved for Parents with Screaming Kids" Parking SpotThis really ought to be no surprise since I’ve exercised this selective self-control before. Countless times, I have gone to the store with the kids, kept my composure while they acted up, and let out all my fury once we got inside the car. My self-control in public can be selfishly motivated, primarily desiring to keep myself, rather than my children, from embarrassment.

This desire to look good in front of others my pastor calls the “Facebook life”. Whether it’s Facebook, or blogging, or our own homes, when we invite someone in, we show them a window into our world. But, we tend to present just the cleaner, nicer windows that look into the well-kept living room with the parents and children sitting happily together. I’m sure there are those precious moments, but we all know it’s not always like that. Of course, we need to exercise discretion. It’s not necessary for us to air all our dirty laundry. But it is necessary to consider if we are being one way towards certain people (usually those closest to us) and another way towards everyone else. How awful if my children ever said to me, “Mommy, how come you’re so nice to us when other people come to our house?”

Do I fear man more than God? Do I desire to please man more than God? Do I seek glory from man rather than the glory of God?

Who are we? Children of God. Servants of Christ. Then, let us “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called” (Ephesians 4:1). Let us be to all men who He made us to be, so that He would receive all the glory.


(Photo credit: Enokson)

6 thoughts on “When No One is Watching”

  1. This made me laugh because our 6 are all older now and they remember when… We had our basement finished and homeschooling was moved upstairs bc of all the construction. I had an “arguer” that took me to task over math daily! We figured our “discussions” couldn’t be heard over the drills and saws… it was. The workers said the space downstairs amplified everything! Humility.
    Now we all laugh at those many times I tried to save-face. Our kids now feel sorry for me back then- haha. It’s all part of growing up and growing together as a family. We can’t help but stay open, with our faults, in front of so many eyes, but we also get to see salvation “worked out” in each other. God uses EVERYTHING 😉 for His good! -Anna

  2. Ouch! “Selfishly motivated” self-control. This one hits home, especially with a 16 month old who has recently started throwing tantrums.

    Yesterday, we had “incidents” at the doctor’s, Hobby Lobby, and the playground. I definitely feel like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in the way I deal with her inside vs outside the home. I love that you posted this for me to read this morning!

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