A year ago at Annual Conference, I connected with a clergy colleague I’d not seen in a long time. For some reason, his FB feed never showed up as I scrolled social media so I had no idea he’d lost a ton of weight. He looked great! He looked fit and healthy . . . and since I knew weight for him had been a battle, I commented on how good he looked. I went on to confess that I was a little jealous because I just couldn’t find the bandwidth or motivation to do the whole “diet/healthy eating” thing.
“Ha! Really? You are jealous of me? Right!” he exclaimed.
“Yes . . . you look great and it’s obvious how much better you feel, not only about yourself but about life. That has to feel good . . . and that is something/somewhere I would like to be in my own mental psyche.”
He replied, “Oh please, you are just saying that.”
Then he made a face and began to walk away.
I called after him and asked why he was being so snarky. I told him he knew me well enough to know that I don’t say things (especially compliments) to people that I do not mean.
He turned around and said, “I just can’t believe you’d say you were jealous of me. Your life is so **** perfect. What do you have to be jealous of?”
My life – perfect???? That was comical . . . I know my/our struggles, the challenges we face and trust me, my life and the life of my family is anything BUT perfect. But for whatever reason, that was his assumption so I knew I had to push for more.
“I see your social media pictures . . . and you, Scott, your kids . . . you look (expletive) perfect.”
There was no reply to that other than to assure him that pictures don’t represent the truth.
Later that day I went back through the pics on my FB feed and thought about what it must look like from someone else’s view. It was humbling . . . because nowhere in there did I put that it took taking 20 pics with the kids over Christmas break before there was one that I would deem acceptable because I do not like what I see when I look at pictures of myself or in the mirror.
With pics of Layne at college, I didn’t share about the #transitiondifficulties for us as a family.
With pics of Andrew at college, there was no explanation of how we fought tenaciously because for the longest time we couldn’t figure out how to give him the freedom he needed and yet still be parents.
There were no sexy pics of Scott and myself asleep on separate couches at 7:30 pm on Friday nights because we were both exhausted from the week.
Those were (and still aren’t) the pics we put on social media.
I put the things that did indeed make us look perfect.
I’ve often wondered what would happen if we put REAL things on social media . . . like that, I lock my shoes in my trunk and cannot get it open and am late for jury duty and go in barefoot because I was afraid I was going to be arrested.
How could things be different if we were real with one another?
What if we stop creating a “My Life is Better Than Yours” picture album?
Hebrews 13:5-6 The Message (MSG)
5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?