There is a post that has been making its way around my newsfeed this week about how we need to stop sharing our “perfect lives” on Instagram. The author makes some really good points about connecting versus comparing our lives with one another, and I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit since I first read it. I think this is a principle that can apply offline just as much as online.
I’ve just come off of forty days without Twitter and Instagram. There were times when I missed it. Especially when things like, “Did you see so-and-so’s Instagram!?” would come up in actual real life conversations (Note: it was never the food ones people were talking about, usually cats). But overall, I didn’t feel disconnected from people and I was definitely less distracted by my phone throughout the day. Moving forward, I won’t go to the extreme of deleting social media off my phone and swearing off of it forever and ever amen. But fasting from it for awhile has really showed me that I need to be careful to use it as a tool and to set good boundaries.
As someone who loves to write and share, I try to find the balance between showing the wonderful things in my life and the hard times. My intention in sharing is never to be all, “Check me out! My life is amazing! I have everything together!” At the same time, no one needs to read every single struggle, thought or emotion I’ve ever had. Especially all the feelings, just trust me. It’s a tough line to walk, because it moves all the time and changes from situation to situation. Blogging takes a lot of wisdom and discernment— or at least it should. But I think the truth is, it’s impossible to be “real” on the internet. Real requires life lived together, time and shared experiences, laughter, tears and prayers.
The past three weeks have been hard for me. I feel like I’ve been climbing uphill on an escalator to the moon. Or some equally dramatic metaphor that makes more sense. There have been a lot of wonderful moments, particularly over Easter weekend. But there have also been a lot of tears. People close to me have lost loved ones, sleep has been hard to come by, I lost my bus pass two days into the month and work has been difficult. I’ve been overwhelmed by business, worrying about things that are beyond my control, feeling totally defeated and being heartbroken for friends who are going through hard things.
The danger for me in these times when everything is a battle is to turn inward. To despair over my own suffering or the suffering of others. To feel like I am totally alone and no one understands me or sympathizes with what I’m going through. To look at the seemingly amazing circumstances of my friend’s lives and feel jealous or left out. Social media is definitely not helpful at times like this. But my sinful heart wants to wallow and despair whether I’m checking my Instagram feed or not. Yesterday I walked around all day feeling sorry for myself. Today, I listened to a sermon about hope and this verse smacked me over the head:
Why are you downcast, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation. —Psalm 42:5
The truth, the REAL is, that God is bigger than anything I could ever face. He holds the universe in the palm of his hand. He is loving and faithful, just and true. I have a hope—unwavering confidence in the promises of God*— and a future. And even though things are hard lately and I cry um, frequently, I know that God is good. He’s still good even when everything around me feels like the the end of the world. He’s good when I’m not Instagram-perfect (which is most of the time). He’s good even when I feel like he isn’t.
I share this because I want you to have hope and to be encouraged. Not because I want you to see some girl who can write a funny blog post or who has awesome times with her friends or who loves music to infinity. Those things are a part of me, sure. It’s who God made me to be. But he made you too, do you know that? I mean really, do you know it? Do you know Him? Because He is what makes my life good and worth living. Ultimately, being a Christian means my life is not my own anyway. God is the author of my story, I just write about it on the internet sometimes.
*I totally stole that from John Piper