As moms there are a few things we just don’t want to say out loud, much less tweet. We don’t really want to take a picture and share it, or post what our children just did knowing no one would want to give us, or them, the blue thumbs-up. And we are pretty sure no one needs to see our selfies with the stack of dirty dishes behind us. We realize we just aren’t living a social-media worthy life.
We watch the highlight-reels of other moms’ lives. The ones who shower every day, who create Pinterest-worthy crafts, cook only real food meals, and have a date-night with their husbands every week. The ones with fabulous vacations, a social-justice issue they champion, and a thriving business that they want to share. We turn off our phones feeling jealous, frustrated, or discouraged.
Why? Sometimes (ok, most of the time), our reality looks a bit different. The house is messy and so are we. When our kids beg us for a homemade treat, we reach for refrigerated slice-and-bake cookies. And we just ordered pizza for supper, again. Sometimes we can’t afford a nice vacation. We may care about what is going on in the world, but for now we are struggling to keep our little world from melting down in complete chaos. Running a business is the last thing on our minds.
Unfortunately, we often use social media as a channel for comparison, the enemy of contentment. We focus on the lives of others instead of our own. We feed our need for acceptance from people instead of realizing God has already accepted us as we are. If we let it, social media can become addictive, harmful, and isolating. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Social media can actually benefit us in many ways. Chances are pretty good that you are reading this because you saw it on a social media platform. We can enjoy seeing people’s beautiful vacations, support their social-justice causes, and celebrate their business successes. We can be inspired by the projects we see on Pinterest and connect with family and friends. But we can only do this when we realize our goal isn’t to live the life God has called someone else to live. Our goal is to live the life He has called us to live.
Your Life Won’t Be Picture Perfect
If you are past the age of five, I’m guessing you have already figured this one out. People get sick. Kids throw fits. Cookies burn. Friendships end. Jobs lost. Life is full of mishaps and mistakes, trials and difficulties, pain and suffering. Not the things Instagram feeds are made of.
Right before Judas betrayed Him, Jesus told His disciples, “In this world you will have tribulation (troubles).” You will, not you might. In James, we see the command to consider it joy “when you meet trials of various kinds.” In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon explains that there is a time for everything—including mourning, killing, losing, weeping. That just doesn’t sound like a picture perfect life.
And let’s face it, deep down we wouldn’t want it to be. We wouldn’t enjoy the good times as deeply or celebrate as richly. We wouldn’t recognize the strength of God or the power of His Spirit or comfort of His love. Picture perfect sounds great on the surface, but ultimately we wouldn’t see God working in the less than perfect here on earth.
Perfect will only come in heaven, and then the focus won’t be on us. It will be on the One who deserves all glory and honor and praise.
You Have a Higher Calling
Dear Mama, I hope you know: you don’t have to live a social media-worthy life. You are called to something better. God created us in His image. And, God calls us to be a reflection of His character, not to live a life pointing to ourselves. That will look different for each of us. As a matter of fact, Paul says it this way, “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” (1 Corinthians 7:17 ESV)
You have a much higher calling, one with eternal significance—to be holy, set-apart. To love God and show His love to others. And sometimes the best way to love is in the less then perfect moments of life. Those moments may not be something we want to post or tweet or share (but sometimes maybe we should). Let Paul’s words to the Corinthians encourage us all,
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 ESV)
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV)
God chose you as you are. Since God loves you that much, does it really matter how many likes you get from people? The imperfections of your life have a purpose, preparing you for so much more. You don’t have to live a social-media worthy life, because you are so much more.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
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