I’m sure by now you’ve all heard the Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman legal trouble. If you’re not familiar with who these people are, maybe you remember Aunt Becky from Full House and now Fuller House? She also stars in many Hallmark movies and a few television shows on the Hallmark channel. Felicity Huffman is a famous actress who is married to William H. Macy, the narrator on Curious George, the drunk dad on Shameless, the dude who put the guy in the wood chipper on Fargo, and so much more. Felicity is best known in today’s pop culture for her role inDesperate Housewives, and according to Wiki a lot of films, and apparently had a blog in which she wrote catered toward motherhood.
These two women are mothers, like many others of us, who would do anything to help their children succeed. They had the financial ability to pay their children’s way into University of Southern California. Lori went so far as to have her daughters pose as rowing athletes in order to be admitted to this college for the rowing team. Except these girls weren’t rowers and they did not participate in the sport at college. Felicity paid upwards of $15,000 to have her child accepted into this college.
The point that stands out to me the most is sometimes we can take things too far, and they sure did. These two moms risked legal ramifications, public scrutiny, career spirals for their kids. I’m also wondering how many other decisions we as mothers/parents make in the moment, that will benefit our children, yet take it too far. Sometimes I wonder about this Mama Bear mentality that seems to be going around. Yes mothers are notorious for being overly protective and inserting ourselves in places to help manipulate outcomes for our children. I’m guilty of this in minor ways of I don’t know safety! Manipulating chairs away from the stove while I’m cooking is probably a great choice. Calling the teacher because my child has an F and asking her to accept late homework, that’s overstepping and going too far.
Personally, I do not think they placed so much risk upon themselves knowingly. I think they did what they thought was best for their families, in the moment.
Right there— in the moment, is the key word. We are blind to consequences when we’re trying to prove something.
In the Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin case, I wonder if they made the decision for paid bribery for acceptance to a college because they felt they needed to prove something. Did they need to prove their kids can be “normal,” and go to college like the average American child? Are they trying to prove that their kids are normal? Are they trying to prove that they were famous and yet their kids were still able to have a well-rounded education and life? I don’t know those answers, but it does make me thing about things in my life.
When have I made a decision in the moment where I was blind to consequences because I was trying to prove something of myself? Let’s see. If I’m honest, I’d admit to so many places in my life where I made decisions that caused more harm than good.
Decisions where I let other people’s behaviors dictate my feelings.
Decision to feel guilty about others’ feelings and behaviors.
Decision to valued others opinions and feelings more than my own.
Decision to put other people’s needs and desires before my own.
Decision to judge everything I say, think, or do harshly, and as never good enough.
Decision to compromise my own integrity to avoid the rage or anger or disappointment from others.
In other words, I made the decision to be a codependent, in moments, not thinking about the consequences simply because I wanted to prove myself as important, lovable, and useful. The consequences of choosing codependent behaviors though, caused me to enable an addict. It caused me to continue to be ruled and manipulated by certain people so they could control me, keep me in my place.
I allowed harsh words to be spoken to me and to define me. Choosing codependent behavior inevitably cost me my identity and usefulness.
So, how do we get to a place where we are aware of the consequences before we make a choice in the moment? The key is to make the decision ahead of time.
For me, specifically, I chose to acknowledge and live in my identity of who Christ says I am. I am a sinner, born into a sinful world, who can do nothing to save myself. I need Jesus’ warm blood, shed on the cross to atone for my sins. I need hope in the resurrection of Jesus. That one solitary event is what sets my identity apart from many others in the world. I believe Jesus is the living Son of God, who was buried, dead, and rose again to life. I believe he did it because he said he would and he did.
Before I make a decision in the moment, I already know I belong to Jesus, so my response should reflect that. I know if I make a decision now, in the moment, without wisdom, I have consequences that aren’t just of this earth, I do have consequences from God. If I know better, I shouldn’t purposely do something wrong. If I do something wrong on purpose it’s called a trespass—purposeful sin. And for that, I need to ask for forgiveness from God and from the person/people hurt by my sin. Repent and turn 180 degrees from what I was doing.
I must be aware of consequences. There are consequences to my choices. Good or bad. No matter how hard I try, though, I’m going to make a bad decision. The difference is, I’m aware of how I should respond: like Christ would and to go forth and make amends with others where I’ve done wrong.
Some examples of making a decision in the moment to prove something could look like:
We make excuses all the time for our behaviors. This is honestly one of my pet peeves with myself and others. Excuses are essentially just lies we tell others or ourselves so we can get out of doing what’s right. Excuses sound like this:
I don’t have time.
If I had more money.
If I had your life.
If I was smarter.
If I had better insurance.
If I’d just eat less.
If I’d just eat more.
If I’d just workout more.
All these things have in common are actually this: X is not my priority so I’m not going to do it. Excuses have to go or else we will begin seeing consequences we were blinded to because of trying to prove ourselves.
We make excuses for all sorts of things.
“I do this for my child.”
“I do this for my husband.”
“I drink because of my children.”
“It’s been a hard day, let’s get a drink.”
“I deserve that extra helping.”
And our kids are watching.
Our neighbors are watching.
Our social media feed is watching.
Happiness is another lie we use when making decisions. You and I are not guaranteed happiness in this life. If you’re making decisions in the moment based on your happiness, you’re surely going to be blinded to the consequences coming your way. For example, I know so many women getting divorces right now. They are around my age. A lot of the verbiage used around their crumbling marriages and reason to get out is they aren’t happy anymore. Not everything is going to be a happy occasion in our marriages.
Maybe you’ll realize you’re married to an addict thirteen years in. Maybe your spouse was abused as a child and struggles to love you well. You’ll have to deal with deaths of parents and family members. You’re going to deal with depression and sadness and loss of what was and what is. You’re going to deal with the same ol’ routine for a few years and it will get monotonous and boring.
Food. How many of us, (raising my hand,) feel so happy with a large hot cookie in a pan with ice cream on top. Scotty’s Brewhouse in Indianapolis used to have this Cookie Monster. They no longer have the exact thing I’m talking about, so sorry you won’t get the honor of experiencing this thing. I was pregnant with my daughter and I’d go there about once every few weeks to get this cookie monster monstrosity. It was five fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies, served warm, with 5 scoops of vanilla ice cream on top, slowly melting into all the gooey crevices of these five cookies. Then on top of that was some chocolate syrup just to make it all fancy, ya know.
That cookie brought me so much happiness. It clearly still evokes memories of happiness in me. But you know something? Happiness is fleeting. Once that cookie monster was in my belly, I was bloated, full, and satisfied. But then I digested that mess. No longer was that piece of happiness there.
Happiness is fleeting. It can be digested away. It isn’t guaranteed. In fact, if you’re a follower of Christ you’re likely going to experience a lot of moments of unhappiness.
This is life. It isn’t always happy. But we can choose ahead of time to be content with what we have. It will change everything.
Another lie. Noticing a trend here with lies?
I’ll just go ahead and say it: No. You’re not enough. I’m not enough. No you’re not worthy nor will you be. That’s why Jesus came.
Here’s the thing. If we aren’t careful we can take the idea of being enough and worthy and start feeling self-righteous. Let’s talk about righteousness.
Self-righteous means: having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior. Some synonyms include: holier-than-thou, self-satisfied, smug, complacent, too good, hypocritical.
Read that definition again and those synonyms. How many times have we seen on social media or even in bible studies or books published by Christian publishing houses that use these trendy words of enough and worthy? If we think we’re worthy and enough then why do we need Jesus?
Look at the synonym self-satisfied. Complacent. Hypocritical. These words magnify how this idea of enough and worthy can spin us if we’re not careful. Now you might say I’m looking too far into this. But Jesus says to take every thought captive. Why? Because when we hear something that sounds so good and motivating, it may actually lead us astray. It may make us start thinking solely about ourselves. Our pride becomes an issue. We start to take on this mentality of how we are better than everyone else and deserve so much more than we do—and Jesus’s work on that cross means absolutely nothing at this point.
This pride and self-righteousness comes across in distorted definitions of self-care, me-time, worthiness, being told you’re enough as you are. How do we reset this mindset then?
Self-care—this is taking care of your health, your doctor’s appointments, making sure you’re set up for the week for less stress, worshipping God, praying, meeting with Jesus in your Bible, therapy, recovery groups, and the like.
Me-Time—This is great! We do need alone time, don’t get me wrong, but me time can become self-righteous. Me time is something that should be scheduled ahead with plenty of time to prepare other responsibilities. When me time comes in place of responsibilities or comes as a last resort, we are utilizing this wrong.
Worthiness—No one is worthy of anything. Think about it. We come out of the womb expecting everything to be about us. As a baby we cry and someone comes running to meet our needs. When we’re a toddler we somehow switch into practicing the ability to be a terrible jerk by pushing as many buttons and boundaries as we can. We enter school and everything is all about us and test scores and grades and sports or other extra curricula. We go to high school and it’s all about us, our friends, our futures. When we’re getting married, it’s all about us. Pregnant and have a new baby it’s all about us. We. Are. Selfish. People. We are prideful people and it is from birth. No one is above this. We think we have worthiness when our expectations don’t meet reality. Maybe we think we deserve more than we really do.
I am enough—No Jesus is enough. Period. I’m never enough but I can move toward holiness and righteousness through the sanctification process. When we begin believing the lies that I’m good enough in my brokenness or good enough in my mess, we unknowingly begin to take away the importance of sanctification.
Briefly touching on this subject because it’s something I’m learning about and have yet to fully grasp the ramifications of status issues. Status can be a lie, especially if you thinkyour status is either holding you back or putting a barrier between you and what you know to be right.
First, the idea of privileged status. Privilege means opportunity. There is this movement of continually segregating people based on privilege, even within the Christian culture. When we continue to segregate people or put them in categories, it makes it harder to connect. When we who segregate and make themlook different than usthat is an excuse to not get hands dirty doing life together.
When we stop segregating, it opens our eyes. There’s a platform where everyone else welcome. Ideas are expressed out of love and pain and hurt. Ideas are received with love, respect, and compassion.
Another layer of status is this aspect of people being unreachable. You know the type—those people who exude the confidence and peace you want, but don’t feel is for you. Those people who could never possibly understand or relate to you. Thinking like this is a lie, too.
It is our responsibility to use privilege or opportunity to show people we are human, too. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all need Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for our salvation.
And just a quick note: People that live in confidence and freedom, they’ve likely faced many mountains. They aren’t better than anyone else. They’re likely in the next phase of maturity awaiting the next battle.
If I’m not performing I cannot prove myself. LIE. This can look like a stubborn, hardheaded person that is actually selfishly seeking attention. They even know better, but refuse to face reality. This may look like:
Having an injury and not stopping to rest. I am so strong, look at me!
Working ridiculous hours. I am so dedicated, look at me!
My kids are in so many activities! I’m such a great mom, look at me!
Look at her, she’s just too _____ ! I’m so much better than her, look at me!
Posts a lot of selfies online. Look at me!
Posts a lot of pictures of kids online. My kids are awesome, look at me!
I go to church and am a Christian. I’m so much better than you, look at me!
Look how much I’m giving away! Look at me!
Arrogance is pride and pride goes before the fall. Here’s the thing, I don’t think we know we are arrogant at times because we are blinded of consequences of our actions. Are the actions above necessarily wrong? Of course not, but we can take it to the extreme often because we want to be looked at as enough, worthy, or whatever other lies we want to believe.
Maybe Felicity and Lori fell into this arrogance piece believing they were professional actresses by proving they, too, could have it all for their kids as well.
Do you see how the two actresses easily fell into the legal charges they’re facing? It happened so fast, even if their intent behind it was a means of providing the best for their children.
The best for our children? Is probably to see us loving Jesus more than them. Making sure our world does not revolve around them and instead it revolves around Jesus. Being like a Christ follower and asking for forgiveness, even from our children.
We choose to be blind to consequences when we’re trying to prove something. We do this by making excuses, seeking happiness, want to be labeled as enough or worthy, allow our status to define us, and or allow arrogance to rule in our hearts.