Close your eyes and imagine something with me. (Actually, maybe don’t close your eyes, since you need to keep reading. Maybe try to do both. I don’t know, figure it out.) Imagine you woke up one day and you couldn’t remember anything about yourself, about your friends, or about the human race, but then you stumbled upon your social network accounts. You have to try to figure out what your friends are like based on their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Worse yet, you have to figure out who you are based on social networking. What would you decide about human nature?
Maybe you’d discover these things:
- Everyone spends the weekend in groups of people, having fun and partying.
- People typically look happy, put-together, and well.
- Everyone attends awesome, fun events constantly.
- Your friends who are dating have flawless, happy relationships; your married friends have well-behaved, cute kids.
But then, forgetful, confused you would wander outside into the “real” world and look around… and you wouldn’t see everyone sitting around, looking picture-perfect at coffee shops. Because that’s just not life.
Even if these things were true, I promise they are not the whole story. But don’t we live for those things? When we only see the “highlight reel” of someone’s life without hearing about the inside scoop – the tough stuff, the frustrations, the hurts, and the things that just don’t work out – we tend to want that life… that perfect, wonderful life. The problem is… that life does not exist.
The homes in the Pinterest posts are not always that clean (the photographer stuffed all the junk behind the camera), the relationships are not always that sappy (they might have fought right after the picture was snapped), and people aren’t always as happy and awesome on the inside (they probably have some serious hurt and tough stuff going on). And even if they were – even if that perfect life was possible… is that “perfect life” all there is?
And now I shall begrudgingly quote the over-played Switchfoot lyrics: “We were meant to live for so much more.”
Now we will ignore the fact that I quoted old-school Switchfoot and move on. However, I think the basis of that quote is incredibly true. We aren’t meant to live for 100 likes on a selfie or a Pinterest-y home or any gratification that could come from such things. But when we allow ourselves to be sucked into the idea that we need those qualities in order to live a full life, we miss out.
Have you ever been at an event that was pretty okay, but you saw Instagram-ed pictures later and realized that it looked way more fun in the pictures? Better yet – have you ever been guilty of making something seem more fun in the pictures that you posted afterwards?
Yeah. Thought so. I’m afraid that we’re succumbing to live lives that only look good on the Internet. Could we be sacrificing quality conversations and memories in order to create the “We’re having fun, and this picture is proof!” mentality? I notice in my own life that the more time my friends and I spend taking silly pictures, the less deep connection is going on. Now, there’s nothing wrong with taking a picture of a great night to document the moment and remember it later. But if the best memory we have of the time was that we got a cute group photo that received a lot of likes online… Then I think we’re missing something.
This thought leads to another that I discussed a few weeks ago with my dear, precious friend Michelle. That thought is this:
What if God created us for something that is more fulfilling than what we can portray on Facebook?
You see, I don’t think we were meant to find our satisfaction in quality Facebook moments, or to live our lives trying to be exactly like the Pinterest moms who create those blogs with DIY tips. Now, if crafts are your craft and you want to make a blog – by all means, please do. But if you just pretend to be crafty by posting pins so that you can dream about fulfilling that crafty woman’s identity – it may be time to change your perspective.
The things that matter in life aren’t glamorous. Making an impact on someone’s life cannot be summed up in a Facebook post dedicated to that person, and we may never have a chance to Instagram a photo of the “happy ending” of the friendship when they come to Jesus and everyone’s happy… because we may never know about it.
So please don’t look at the effective, positive life someone lives and try to emulate it, because life cannot be captured in Instagram shots. The best parts of life aren’t when we finish a project we found on Pinterest, or have one awesome night that’s worth putting on Facebook. The best parts are in the times between the posts. So live for those things – not for the Facebook-worthy things.