In recent months I’ve gotten a few messages that surprised me.
“Do you ever sleep?”
“How do you do it all?”
But the most recent message sent to me on Facebook was troubling…
“You seem like you are always confident and happy. Do you feel that way?”
I was completely shocked. Of course not! I’m human, not a robot! But it got me thinking, how much do we all do this? We see someone else’s life in pictures on Facebook or even just from the outside, and it seems one way. But just as Instagram has filters that can make you look your best, what we see from the outside, is just that, it’s a filter. It’s not the real deal.
I am guilty of this myself. I’ve seen job promotions/opportunities, the BEST marriages, exciting adventures, the cutest clothes… things that make me question myself or that breed discontent. But things aren’t always as they seem. While I’m looking at others, those same people might be looking at me. They might even envy the very things about me that I know cause me the most pain or that I am most unhappy with!
I can’t control what others put out there about themselves, but I can control how I react to it. When I feel sorry for myself, not confident, etc. I TRY to bring it back to thinking of others and serving others. If I’m honest with myself, I am the most miserable when I’m the most selfish. But we ALL struggle with selfishness in some form, so we are ALL going to have moments of doubting ourselves. And we have to remember that what we see of others is usually filters. Not the real deal. Sometimes what you see of others or even how you portray yourself, is more who you WANT to be, than who you ARE.
I mean, get this! There’s even “an app for that.”
Several apps now out can remove blemishes and more. The featured app makes this girl look like practically an entirely different person. Ok, so it whitens the teeth, but why did it need to change her skin tone? What’s wrong with a more square shape face than an oval one?
As far as what I put out there about myself, it’s a catch 22. We all have facebook friends that put TOO much out there. Friends that complain too much. I don’t want to contribute to negativity…although, my FAMILY will tell you I have plenty to go around! 😉 I desire to be positive, encouraging, motivating. If I post my “negativities” I don’t see how that helps anyone, UNLESS I show how I’m working through it or overcoming. However, a little dose of REALITY, albeit even if it’s negative, I suppose CAN be helpful. VULNERABILITIES can bring true community. And the Bible says we should boast about our failures/weaknesses as well.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10
So if we are honest about our shortcomings, It allows us to rest in God’s peace. It can also show that we ALL need God.
On social media, you only see a “picture” of a person’s life and make assumptions. If MY life in pictures/statuses doesn’t show that I have highs and lows just like anyone else, perhaps it’s time for a reality check. I certainly don’t want anyone feeling alone in their doubts/fears. So things are about to get real personal…
Here’s a poem I wrote in one of my low points:
Sad The days are passing, my wrinkles are growing, my future is tightening. Frightening. I can’t catch up, I won’t catch up. Drowning. Reaching. Looking for a hand to grasp… Alone. Fading. I’m almost invisible. I know you can see right through me. Feels right. The emptiness is now clear. The outside matches the inside. I’m frail. I’ll soon catch wind and blow away. Finally able to let go. Seems peaceful now.
The days are passing, my wrinkles are growing, my future is tightening.
I can’t catch up, I won’t catch up.
Looking for a hand to grasp…
I’m almost invisible.
I know you can see right through me.
The emptiness is now clear.
The outside matches the inside.
I’m frail. I’ll soon catch wind and blow away.
Finally able to let go.
Seems peaceful now.
And here’s my personal example of how snippets of someone’s life may not always be what they seem:
So as much as we should avoid negativity and complaining, we should allow ourselves to be vulnerable at times. It shows we are all human. And vulnerability is what brings friendships and relationships closer and stronger. If you can’t trust being vulnerable with someone then how good is the friendship?Who are you closest to? The ones you have been able to share the good AND the bad with—without fear of judgement. Vulnerabilities bring out true community. It is always scary… to feel and know I am judged by some when I put myself out there. But FEAR is what leads to most of the ways we torture ourselves. I try to live by the sayings “feel the fear and do it anyway” and “a life lived in fear is a life half-lived”
Most of my successes and most of my blessings have grown out of failures, getting beyond my fears, and out of painful experiences. Let’s embrace our imperfections and trials. Let’s not be afraid to “boast about our weaknesses.” Then, any positivity can be credited to where credit is due. The One who saves us from ourselves and refines us. The One who allows us to feel the heat of the fire sometimes to make us more beautiful and more like Him. –No smartphone “app” needed.
Kristi Davis is seeking Christ, a wife, mom of 3, friend, career woman…and daily striving to keep it all in that order.
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