Plank Pullin – Public You vs. Private You


Its Plank Pullin time!  The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.


I live in a guilt-ridden universe, y’all.  I know it may sometimes seem like I have all (or a few of) the answers around here.  And sure, I do have some answers.  But having answers doesn’t necessarily mean having the power or discipline to apply them effectively to your life.  Which makes them more or less pointless.  Except for the purposes of making you miserable.


I believe that eating less will help me lose weight.


I believe that you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar (insert profound parenting analogy here).


I believe that solitude with God will produce fruits of the spirit.


Yet, knowing and doing are two very. different. things.


Having knowledge but feeling perpetually unable to obtain the benefits of it has dealt a blow to my soul these last few years.  Instead of feeling the freedom and grace that I’m told I should have, I feel caged: In slavery to my own mind and flesh and weaknesses.


Husband thinks I have an unrealistic and unfair perspective.  He says that, because I’ve been home with the kids this last year and interacted less with the “outside world” I’ve forgotten what I depraved place it can be.  That compared to great swatches of society, I do indeed have patience, and love, and grace, and all those other things I’m sure I have none of.


He’s probably right, in a way.  But I’ve never liked living a life of downward comparisons.  It seems like rationalization to me.


“Oh, well I’m not like them. I don’t do drugs or yell at my kids in public or have a porn addiction.  So I’m okay.”


I’ve lived with the idea as long as I can remember that the person you are in private, is the real you.  We all know that Public You is a doctored image, to one degree or another.  Public You is generally more patient, more controlled, more smiley.  But Private You?  Well, that’s where the safeguards sometimes get ripped away and the full depth of  your flaws and failures get unleashed.

it’s unfair to judge a portion of yourself as if it’s the whole.

I was talking to Husband recently about this, and he was kind of surprised and bothered by my perspective.  I was kind of surprised and bothered that my best friend of 12 years didn’t already know that’s the reality I live in. He insisted that it’s unfair to judge a portion of yourself as if it’s the whole.  Whoever you are is an average of all of you, public and private, good and bad.


I guess that does make sense.  But there’s still a part of my brain that says, “Yeah, but come on.  You know that the real you is in private”.




I don’t know if this exactly qualifies as a plank, but I  judge myself super harshly.  I discount any good qualities or blurbs in personality as not “real” and only attribute my true self to my worst qualities and moments.   Guess I should work on that.  Beats sitting around depressed all the time.


What do you think?  Who’s the real you?

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  1. I’ve got to say that I agree with your husband. I work in retail and you would be amazed at what people will do and say in public. There are some people who cannot restrain themselves in public. Some of the most horrid things I’ve ever heard have come out of customers mouths and some of the most violent actions I’ve seen, I’ve seen in retail environments. So I have to say that a person has to judge themselves as a whole…because how your do (or do not) restrain yourself in public is a HUGE part of who you truly are. Sometimes I think more so than what is done in private because it shows your regard for others. Just sayin’. ;)
    Judy recently posted..Sally is now High-Tech!My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      I can totally go with that. And … I wouldn’t want to see those people in private! :)

      It’s almost a question of Christian vs. NonChristian though, isn’t it? I would think it much more likely to expect someone who wasn’t a Christian to behave disrespectfully in public. And, again, it doesn’t seem fair to compare ourselves to that.

      (Although, unfortunately, I know there are even Christians who aren’t so nice when things don’t go their way in retail situations) Sigh.

      • Very true (unfortunately.) But I think you are way too hard on yourself. One of the main things I’ve come to love and respect about you is the fact that you are willing to look at your flaws and at least acknowledge them and, even better, you try to change them. I mean, look at what you are brave enough to do with this blog…not to mention the upcoming ebook. I think the observations you’ve made, and the things that you’ve learned along the way show a LOT about your character. And you’re a good character! ;)
        Just remember, the only person who was, is, and ever will be perfect is Jesus. And you’re not Him. So that should take a lot of the pressure off. ;)
        Judy recently posted..Sally is now High-Tech!My Profile

  2. I think you are right on to be pulling planks! We aren’t to judge ourselves based on the depravity of others (depravity sounds so, well, depraved!) but on the purity of Christ. You have to shoot for the stars – ie Christlike behavior, not the sinking sand around us. Just because you are better than the average sinner doesn’t mean that you pat yourself on the back and stop trying for the star! I think our general culture is failing because as a culture we have let it all hang out for so long that what used to be depraved is now “just a thing.” Poor behavior/morals are idolized in movies and TV shows and take place in our churches with no accountability.

    Few people, Christian or otherwise, are willing to do the hard self-examination that you are willing to do each week. You are truly inspiring to this older lady! But as far as our image being an “average” of our good and our bad – nope. There is no Biblical support for that position that I’m aware of. Love to hear it if someone else finds it! What we DO have is GRACE for all our sins, a Christ mandate for 70×7 forgiveness, and “go forth and sin no more!”
    So I would say keep pullin – pray over each plank you pull and commit it to Christ – you already do this – and then truly trust that His grace has covered you! I think the trust is the hardest of all!

    • Jessica says:

      I should clarify that by saying “an average” I don’t mean it in any balancing scales kind of way of measuring worth. I just mean it in a very basic, what-you-do-is-who-you-are kind of way.

      I do find consolation in the fact that God can see into a (wo)mans heart. So at least he knows I want to be more Christlike. :)

      And thanks. Guess I’ll keep pulling. I’ve already lost my obligatory follower for the day, anyway. Lol.

  3. “the real you” . . . meh. I’m still working on it. You know that lump of messy clay that is being formed by the potter. I’m still ugly, messy and brown. There’s that kid song “God’s still working on me” -amen – So I *try* to be real all the time, and with that said, *try* to treat my inner circle better than the outer circle – and fail at times, and try again and fail, and try again. I may not reach perfection *snort* but even -aiming- for the better me has helped.
    I’ll yell. That is my autopilot- yelling. And on some days I have to give my kids warning. “You don’t want me to yell, I don’t want to yell, I *FEEL* like yelling- so be careful!” That actually helps . . . :-)
    Michelle in Mx recently posted..Well, it’s May.My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      Well, I can’t argue with being a big ole lumpy lump of clay. Guess I can only hope to be something beautiful one day, eh?

  4. I always try to be the same public and private. I don’t always succeed. But I, like you, am super harsh on myself about it sometimes. I do think all parts of your personality come together to make you as a whole…good and bad. Everybody has things about themselves they don’t like. Anger issues, depression, excessive bubbliness or whatever. Yes, I do think excessive happiness and bubbliness would be viewed as a problem because it masks the real you. I had that problem. I put on a strong, happy front for a long time so I do feel strongly about being myself. Being you everywhere you go is a battle no matter who or where you are. But that’s my opinion.

    • Jessica says:

      I am WAY more patient in public. Which I’m sure is a blog post to come. :)

      Glad you got your excessive bubbliness under control. :D

  5. This is a great plank to highlight, I’m glad you did. I have a bit of a confessions: I am really irritated by people who beat themselves up all the time. It’s really mean, actually.

    I confessed this to a friend once, “What are you talking about? You beat yourself up more than anyone else I know!” This same sentiment was repeated 3 times by 3 sources on 3 separate occasions. But they all are wrong obviously…of course I don’t. They just don’t realize what a sleazeball I really am!

    Joking aside, this drove me to the same question you posed: am I the person I appear to be or the uncensored monster inside? If we’re being honest, the standard is perfection. Jesus said that if we want to be righteous we have to be more righteous than the Pharisees; He never lowered the standard for us. Does it really matter if I waste my life on drugs or on fashion?

    Downplaying our bad stuff may make us feel better but it doesn’t lead to humility, and humility & meekness is the only thing that can ever save us from being a hopeless jerk.

    But the point here is not how bad of a person we think we are, but what we allow God to do. Jesus said that any nastiness that we harbor in our heart is the same as commiting it. The challenge is not to stop being such a jerk (that’s impossible) or even to start believing people when they want to excuse our jerkiness (because it IS a big deal) but rather to be humbled and have hope.

    That’s the key, I think: hope. It’s easy for honest self-evaluation to turn to a hopeless self-hatred. Don’t let it, yeah we are hopeless sinners, but there’s hope!

    “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27

    Good stuff!
    Sarah Elizabeth recently posted..Water of LifeMy Profile

    • Jessica says:

      “They just don’t realize what a sleazeball I really am!” – I totally get and loved that. Lol.

  6. That’s a bit of a downer, innit? Be encouraged though, it’s not about what you do, it’s about the promise of what He’s doing!
    Sarah Elizabeth recently posted..Water of LifeMy Profile

  7. You have me thinking about some plank pullin’. This might get uncomfy.
    Charity recently posted..Grateful on this 5 Minute FridayMy Profile


  1. […] maybe it’s unfair to say the good me isn’t the real me.  Maybe the pressure of knowing people are observing is just the push I need to be the me I wish I […]

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