PERCEPTION?

 

It’s amazing how people think that they know you because of what they read on Facebook post. They feel that they know you because you shared your pictures. They assume that life must be picturesque and trouble free. It’s their perception. As we know, perception does not always equal reality.

Those who know me personally on this blog, know that I smile a lot. A few years ago, the name, Sunshine kept following me. Typically, during an encounter with me, a person will laugh or smile, because I’m likely going to say something funny. I’m very personable. Some would even consider, a “happy go lucky”, extroverted type.

Few people know me well enough to know that I’m actually quite introverted and relish time by myself. I can spend hours even days alone and it doesn’t bother me, I actually crave it. Which can make marriage and motherhood a challenge at times. My kids don’t care if I want to be alone. They are more like, “You are mama. Get up and make us a sandwich. When we are done eating we are gonna sleep in your bed with our feet in your face! 🙂

It’s interesting because I didn’t realize I had this “glitch” until after I got married. I got married at age, 38. I left home at age 20. So, I’ve had about 18 years of being on my own rhythm about life as a grown up. Y’all need to pray for my husband. I know it’s rough being married to me. I’ve gotten so use to being on my own rhythm that sometimes, I’m rude and sarcastic. I don’t naturally think about walking together. I don’t always think partnership, but sole proprietorship of my life and plans. The worst part about it is, I don’t even want to talk about it. Why?  Because, it’s a selfish and ugly part of my personality that I’m constantly asking God to help me with it.

I don’t imagine that anyone would guess that about me. Or when you see the picture of my family of four that you would imagine that we have tough days. That when you see those two handsome little boys that there were actually two other babies that didn’t make it. That there are days that though I’m grateful for the gift of wife and motherhood, that I I still have to pray that God help me to love them. Shoot, help me to be kind to people. Because my instinct wants to slap the stuffing out of some folks.  I’m guessing that you would never imagine that this thought would ever be behind my big ole smile. But it has.

My point is people are not always as there appear.

Only a few people know this; I just feel like sharing it now. Twice last year, I learned that there was a person who was saying unkind things about me, not because they know me, but because of what they perceived. In November, I learned that I was not only spoken ill of, but also hated. To be honest, it shook me. I’ve met people that I didn’t necessarily care for, but to go as far as to literally hate someone, well… to me that’s inconceivable. But it’s because of perception.

It can be perceived that because a person looks happy; that they don’t have to go through their share of challenges and dark days. But as we know, that’s not true.

As I talked to people last year, I learned that the end of 2015 was a dark and difficult time to say the least. You wouldn’t necessarily know that they were at the end of their rope by looking at them. But quite a few people, me included, found it to be tough. It reminds me of the 23rd Psalm. There’s a verse that says, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me.

A valley is a low lying place; a depression with two mountains between it; where it’s difficult to see the sun. There is a river running through it. When you look at it according to a perspective of life. It’s a place where you feel down and discourage where you can’t see the sun or get a light, illumination, revelation on what you are going through. You aren’t sure which way to turn or which direction is right because there’s a shadow; something that’s there, that seems to be blocking out the light.  The weight of what you are carrying may seem like it’s going to kill you. It’s a shadow of death. It seems to separate you from God, your source of light and knowledge. But it’s just a shadow. Keep walking. This verse gives hope; it gives encouragement because it is perceived that God is not there. That you have somehow been left alone.

When I looked up the definition of the valley. I read that there is a river running through it. The water; the substance of life is there in the depression. All that you need in your valley, to make it through it, is right there, carving a pattern in your life.

In a valley, the water will form the shape of a V or a U. In your life, the pattern is, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is with you. You can put your confidence in that. It’s an unchanging pattern. You just have to keep moving, keep walking. Soon the valley will be a place that you can look back on because you came through it. It’s where you were, not where you are.

Maybe you are in a valley experience as you read this. I encourage you to keep moving. What does that look like? You have to decide that I am going to get through this. Ask God to help you. Shadow of Death situations are real. There are times when you just don’t know what to do. But a shadow does not mean that the light is not shining. It does not mean that God does not see you, know you and love you. He does. Ask for Help. Matthew 7:7 says, Ask and you shall receive. Many times we need help whether from God or from people put we don’t want to be perceived a certain way. When we do this, we allow pride to stand in our way. Ask God to send you who or what you need to get through your situation. I believe he will do it, because he’s done it for me so many times.

As I wrap up today’s post, I tried to tie one of my poems to this thought but, I couldn’t think of one. As I was typing, I kept hearing this song by CeCe Winans called, Alabaster Box. I used to sing back in the day.   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9QZxS03FvY )

The line in particular that I want to point out is, “You don’t know the cost of the oil. You don’t know the cost of my praise.” Because people think that they know you. That they have you summed up by what they perceived. But the truth of the matter is, you really don’t know the depth of me. The smile that you see is because I have a strength that is beyond me, it comes from the Lord.   It’s despite my failures, imperfections and short comings. It’s strength that comes from Jesus loving me and guess what… He Loves You Too!

I hope that this helps someone.

 

One last thing… if you would like to follow the blog, let me know at usmama4@yahoo.com.

-Angela

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