About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jen,
    Your post really made me think about how many times I “self edit” my life by the words I say or the front I put up. Not that everyone wants to hear all my troubles when they simply ask, “How are you?” But, I’ve found, if I crack open the door with a little bit of my imperfect life, it invites them to share theirs. There is a beauty in being honest that invites us into REAL community with others. As for the comparison game, if you haven’t seen me wandering the halls of Facebook….I’m not avoiding you. I just find that a healthy distance from everyone’s positively edited lives helps to keep me away from the snare of comparison. I find I do better if I just “stay in my own lane.” Great post Jen!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, I absolutely love your comment about Facebook. I have felt this exact same way for some time. You expressed it the way I never could. All the ‘bragging’ on FB leads me to comparison and then jealousy and I detest both. So best to stay away and avoid these unhealthy traits. I will strive to ‘stay in my own lane’.

      Thank you and God bless,
      Diane

  2. OH the masks we wear…..

    I agree but sometimes it’s so much easier to smile through our tears.

    Spilling our guts can be healing but not everyone has someone to listen. So releasing it all to God can help.

    Your article was great – has me really focusing on ‘to edit or not to edit’.

  3. Jennifer,

    What a great post! It is unnerving to let the “perfect” world see our flaws but when we do, a great transformation occurs! When my first son was born and the teenage years were upon us, I felt all alone. All the other moms seemed to have “perfect” children and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Worse yet, I was too embarrassed to reveal what I was going through. What I would have given to have just one person to put their arm around me and bare their soul of the difficulties of raising teenagers.

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words today. God has been calling me to teach a Bible study and He seems to be pointing to this very topic!

    I hope you have a blessed day!

  4. Shout’in a thousand amens over here. Thanks for speaking the hearts of so many women. Yes, yes, yes. Enough with the edits.

    Blessings, Kate

  5. Thanks for this, Jen! It’s worth saying that editing less is loving more– our humility offers grace and breath to others drowning in the same stew. Worth a conversation with my own nicely curated teenagers!

  6. Yes! A thousand times YES! This is me and I’m sure many others. So much truth contained in this post. Thank you for sharing yourself so vulnerably and reminding me I’m not alone.

    And by the way, I love your Frugal Fashionista posts!

  7. Jen thank-you for sharing your thoughts, and your amazing words. The word ‘edit’ reminds me of my Children’s Literature course……..edit, edit, edit. But God didn’t intend for us to be edited, but rather for us to be unique. Therefore, I agree, we should try to leave it, and hopefully be accepted for who we are.
    Blessings to all,
    Penny

  8. So true. Someone who portrays themselves as “perfect”, no one can relate to. When our real selves show, our struggles, and everything, people can relate better. We can use our imperfections to help somebody else. Thank you for this, it encourages me to keep being real, because sometimes I think I am too vulnerable or honest, but I know there’s nothing like somebody else really knowing you. your hurts, struggles, victories, and other things.

  9. Jennifer,

    Thank you for opening up about how you came to the conviction of not wanting to keep editing your life.

    The fact that your daughter was able to teach you something about yourself shows:
    ~the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life and your listening to his voice (John 16:3)

    ~the obedience you have to the Lord to examine your own heart (Psalm 4:4).

    ~your love and connectedness to your daughter.

    In the past 6 months I have been off of social media because I want to live in more genuine community with others. It has gone against a lot of the grain with my friends, however, I feel set free.

    Also, you have given me a great reminder that our kids can teach us so much about ourselves (like seeing our reflection).

    All that to say, your post has sharpened and encouraged me. Thank you for being so brave and honest~it goes a long way!
    Blessings on your day!

    In Jesus love,
    Angela

  10. Jen, this is so good and gives me a lot of food for thought. Even in the areas I feel like I have mostly overcome, I realize there is always further to go. God is like that – always stretching us further to give us more. I love your concept of editing. It’s such a good analogy and so very true that many of us fall into that. I’m saying a big Amen to this post and sharing it in lots of places. Thank you!

    • I’m with you, Leslie.

      For the most part, I feel as if I’ve overcome it too, yet Satan is so tricky and every once in awhile, he starts whispering those lies and I have to battle back with the truth.

  11. Thank you for your post and words of encouragement. This pertains to boys/men as well when it comes to FB and other social media.

    I have dealt with this for many years and have another friend who feels the same. Unfortunately, she and I have found that people don’t really want to hear the true lives we live. It’s too messy and they don’t know how to deal with what we have to say. It’s very sad.

    • I hope you find a Bible-believing, Jesus-following, God-respecting church that knows what obedience is to His Word and true baptism of the Holy Spirit through water immersion to doe and rise again with Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of the soul. If you feel as gou have wfitten, you need another church! I love you and care about you and I dont even know you. THAT is what you need.

    • It certainly pertains to boys and men too. I have had the same conversation with one of our sons.

      Life is messy and you’re right, sometimes people don’t want to take the time to go deep and yet, aren’t we so fortunate that the Lord is always ready to dive into the messy of our everyday. I’m glad you have that one friend who will be open and honest with you. Those friends are worth their weight in gold.

  12. Yes and Amen. Not because I see it in others, but in myself. I have done it all my life. Trained as child of an alchoholic to wait for moments to say or do the acceptable things. Images of perfection on the outside while broken and devestated on the inside. It makes us tired and weak. The world sees right through the charade.
    What a relief when Jesus picked me up and loved me just as I was, no striving for acceptance. No hiding pain. Praying now when the world sees me and the struggles, they see me holding on to Jesus for strength instead of hiding into a false image of perfection.
    Thank you for your beautiful and “ perfectly” honest post!

  13. Amazing how the right message shows up at the right time! Confirmation at it Best is how I describe your message today. My husband & I are in a financial battle yet no one knows…we’ve edited it out of all but the conversation labeled ‘must have’ with our mortgage company & bank…but not with ‘friends’ & certainly not on social media for a like – LOL – sad tear – or wrath/judgement of our past & the decisions made leading up to today. We’re waiting & wading through quicksand in need of a lifeline yet still editing…unedited prayers appreciated!
    Praise & blessings for a place I can safely go for a viral hug.

  14. Love this. I have had the same conversations with some of my daughters. I think it all stems from shame and the fear of man. No matter how many times I communicate the worth my children have, our society simultaneously chips at their worth. But God. We can teach ourselves and our children to do as Jesus did – to not regard shame to the extent where we have to heed its voice and edit our lives for an audience. Social media has placed us on a stage, but if we remember it is truly an audience of One Whom we live to please, we can let go of shame’s sting little by little and maybe care less about the likes and dislikes we get.

  15. Jen, I so applaud your taking steps to stem the invasion of technology in your home and your family. At our church (small town/rural area) we have “home” groups on Wednesday evenings. Our current set of meetings is centered around Max Lucado’s book “You’ll Get Through This.” It focuses on Joseph who was put into a pit by his brothers and then sold into slavery (true, the account doesn’t end there, thank God). But it got me thinking as I read your post. With all the technology that purports to connect us, might we actually be digging our own pits? Our group leader mentioned last night how God brings people into our lives to help bring us back into His light. We’re so often isolated by our tech gadgets these days that to actually sit down with a friend, see and touch them, is becoming rarer and rarer. Your message inspires me to add interactions to my days. His blessings on you and yours! <3

  16. Such powerful words, Jen. That Gal. 5:1 verse is one of my favorite verses in all of scripture. Our Lord didn’t do all He did, so we could still be in bondage to the trappings of this modern life. I didn’t come from a close family, and I used to “edit” more because of my fear of being misunderstood. (Which is still, probably, my greatest fear.) (Well, other than my people’s safety…ya know.) One thing I love about being in my late 40s is that I don’t care as much about what others think anymore. As long as I’m not offending anyone, I’m okay with being the Brenda God hand-wove in delight. I still concern myself too often with being misunderstood, but oh the freedom He’s brought about in my spirit these last several years. He’s enough, ya know? — Thanks for sharing your heart so beautifully and vulnerably. ♥

  17. Jen,

    Emily Freeman in her book “Grace for the Good Girl” talks about taking off our masks. She states we should stop pretending to be someone we aren’t & be real. I agree 100%. We need to quit editing our lives & show the world the real you. The rest of us want to know it’s ok not to be perfect. Tell me about your struggles & trials. I may be able to encourage you, but at most I will say “hey me too”. This world screams for perfection & God is the only perfect person in the universe. We are hurting ourselves by trying to be just like everyone else. We need to be the person God created us to be. Use the talents He gave us & go shine His light.

    Blessings 🙂

  18. This was so great and inspiring to read. Thank you for sharing! (Also I have to say as a blogger, I really resonated with this so thank you for including it! “It took her ten hours to pen those 600 “effortless” words.”)

    Blessings,
    Kristin

  19. I love this! Thank you! One of the things I love about (in)courage is the tools to be “real” with others, and in that way they can be “real” with us and we can encourage each other. It’s so hard to encourage the “edited” person. For me it’s been so helpful to focus on 1 on 1 conversations/texts/messages instead of the “blast” to anyone on social media. I feel less need to edit and less need to worry about how many people notice, because my intent is just to focus on one person and what’s going on in their life. Thanks again for this message!

  20. Wonderfully reflective post, Jennifer. I, too, have teen girls and modeling a balance of dignity, humility, and the desire to do and be my best while keeping my motivation pure is hard! It’s just hard! I go to Jesus for daily (maybe hourly) heart checks. It’s the only way. If I say I value sincerity and want to see more women grow in authenticity, it starts with me.

  21. I try to be honest, I have tackled a few difficult subjects on my blog. I try to keep it simple and easy to understand yet truthful in teaching spiritual gifts and healing, above all that love. I edit a few things, don’t post pictures, don’t do a lot of social media except to bless others and for His glory. recently, I got edit in a way, it was not a point blank but almost like a don’t pray for me, or them, and I think a comment I made was deleted, I even stated I was not bragging on anyone but Jesus as I wrote it, maybe it was just not received. It appears people are into shaming each other, but we are not suppose to be ashamed of Jesus or who made us to be.

  22. I came across this post tonight after seeing two things on social media that left me frustrated and, honestly, angry. I realized that I was letting two people that I either barely know or do not even know at all potentially ruin my entire evening (which included ice cream so it would be a shame for it to be ruined!). After reading this, I felt so encouraged and I was reminded that I have no idea what is actually going on in the lives of those people, and that my response should be to pray for them but also to put my phone down and be present in my own life. Thank you for the reminder that what we see online is rarely what reality looks like in the nitty-gritty, day-in and day-out living.

  23. I need to learn how to lean into the imperfectly beautiful moments of life and savor them all. Yes, Jennifer, I want to join you! It would be so much healthier for all of us–mentally, attitudinally, and spiritually–even physically as we lower our stress levels. Keep us mindful, Lord!