With the advent of social media, the non-stop news cycle, expanded visual formats for every screen, we are living in a wild, media-driven world. Social media is just one part of our visual world, and it is one that I both love and abhor.
One blessing of social media is connectedness. I love seeing friends near and far, getting to witness their lives in peace and hope and struggle and walking with them in that. I, also, love having a platform to share about where God has brought me and have others journey with me. These are all healthy and positive, adding to my wholeness and being.
Still, there is the hard, and one of those for me is being tempted to miss being present. Sometimes, I can be worried about posting while I am in the moment of living. When that happens, I really am not present. When I give into that pressure, I so miss out. Ultimately, I don’t want to “live” online because that leads to disconnection with the people right before my very eyes. And, I do not want to miss them!
Another struggle in social media-land is that I can easily start to live falsely in this world. It can become one of constructs, and in that, too, I can stumble. In my worst moments, I lose sight of reality and focus on perception. Full disclosure, I am a recovering perfectionistic, first-born pleaser. So, I can take a deep dive off the truth-train in this constructed world if I’m not careful.
I think the lesson for me is not to lose touch with reality, actual reality, in the midst of the crazy times we live in. Checking in with my motives are paramount to living truthfully. I have to ask myself-- am I posting because I’m feeling insecure and have a need to show everyone that we are a “good” family and/or that I’m a “good/successful” person? Or, am I sharing because I am grateful for the amazing moments He has given us in this life? The answer to these questions makes every difference.
So, in the spirit of transparency, I want you to know that I have a wonderful family, but we are also a mess. We are flawed, selfish people who squabble and fuss at one another sometimes. We also have tons of fun together and great connectedness. We are a bundle of joy and hard, sass and gentleness and everything in-between.
I get, though, that we don’t usually share the nitty gritty of our sinfulness because it would be awkward for everyone else observing it! So, because of practicality and emotional appropriateness, we end up sharing the good moments usually. And, I think that is generally okay as long as we know that all the other stuff in our lives is going on, too.
Staying real is so essential, but it is hard. It takes deliberate intentionality and work to remain grounded in truth-- the truth that we all live in and contribute to the sinful, amazing, challenging, and beautiful world we inhabit.
When we live in reality, our postings will remain genuine because we know who we are and who we aren’t. None of us is perfect and life is crazy-hard and wonderful all at the same time. When we have this perspective, our happy postings remind us of the wonderful that God has graciously given us as sustenance to our weary souls.
So, joy in the gift of social media, but tell yourself the truth about it. Like everything, it can be used for good or ill. Technology is not evil or good inherently. Just like everything, it is tainted by the Fall, and the people who employ it are fallen, as well. We bring our brokenness to it, but we can also bring the healing and redemption of Jesus, as well.
May we be people who are living in truth, not constructs-- letting go of fake affirmation and choosing to dwell in the known truth of His unending love. As we do, we will follow our Savior, walking in His steps and not our own.