Everyone loves to see what everyone else is doing, huh? It’s amazing, really, how connected we are today – and at the same time, how connected we AREN’T…. We get caught up in it easily through social media – stalking profiles and scrolling through your homepage or tweeting or checking out pictures on instagram, we see what is the newest and best. It’s fun to catch up with friends (I have these accounts too, so don’t think this is a call to deactivate your fb account, okay?), but there is a line that we’ve crossed somewhere along the way.
One favorite favorite paradox is “TBH”: “to be honest”. Can you think of many people whose profile is truly honest? We post the snapshots we want people to see – toddler hugging his new puppy (love!), but we left out the toddler having a temper fit in the grocery aisle because mom didn’t buy the candy. How about the picture of that delicious dinner (yummy!)? We didn’t follow it up with a picture of the 7-year-old gagging over the broccoli and being sent to bed early for refusing to clean his plate, did we? Picture of the engagement ring (so exciting!), but not the picture of the fight over the budget.
I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to raise get married or raise children or have birthday parties on facebook. When I got married, EVERY SINGLE album was EXACTLY like EVERY other album. True story – ask anyone who got married in the 1990s and here’s the line up of pictures: bride alone, groom alone, bride with parents, groom with parents, bride with groomsmen, groom with bridesmaids, couple with bride’s family, couple with groom’s family, couple looking at camera, couple looking at each other, close up of hands with rings….. Raising kids on facebook? Well, I would have been quickly labeled “worst mother of the year” on a daily. The twins’ first birthday was a quiet family affair – there was no “smash cake” (we didn’t have those back in the dark ages), but we took lots of pictures and shared lots of laughs. Honest promise, one of my favorite days! Trust me, no one is making a pinterest board out of my wedding album or my kids’ toddler years, but even still they were such precious days ❤
Along with the social media comes a certain amount of competition that can easily become unhealthy if one isn’t careful. We were talking about this in my small group not too long ago, and one young woman said, “We shouldn’t compare our reality with someone else’s highlight reel.” Amen. Truer words were rarely spoken. Let those sink in for a minute: “We shouldn’t compare our reality with someone else’s highlight reel.” Unfortunately, this generation, raised on social media, has grown up with everyone’s highlight reels. Along with it, came the pressure to create our own “highlight reel” to keep up. If our facebook wall wasn’t as perfect as everyone else’s, well, then we were being cheated or were missing out somehow.
I don’t have to tell you that comparison is dangerous. The only healthy measure is the truth found in the Word of God. In the Message translation, James 1:21-27 reads like this: “In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Acton what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action. Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived.” The KJV (maybe more familiar to a few of us) says, “but be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves”.
Looking into social media can make you feel like a failure at times – I can’t even live up to some of these pinterest-worthy posts – but looking into the Word of God and continuing in the truth He has given to us can make you confident in the precious person of God that you are. James says that letting the Word of God go “in one ear and out the other” makes us like a man who saw himself in a mirror, turned away, and immediately forget what he looks like. So, my friend, enjoy the highlight reel (those are some cute pictures!) but then instead of falling into the trap of comparison, soak in the Word. There, you’ll be reminded of who you are: a chosen generation and royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9), the apple of God’s eye (Ps. 17:8), called of God (2 Tim. 1:9), complete (Col. 2:10)…. and lots more! Hit the “like” button on fb, no problem doing that – then get out your bible highlighter and look into the “perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:15) and be reminded that you are blessed as well!
Enjoying the blessings of others AND enjoying blessings of your own without comparison or jealousy? That’s a treasure! Here’s hoping you are looking into the mirror of the WORD, not the mirror of the WORLD today! 🙂