Appearances – as in keeping up with.
“It looks like you are living your dreams, doing what you want,” my friend said. “I keep up on your life through Facebook.” Our families were having lunch together and I wasn’t in a position to go into a lengthy explanation with my friend about how things aren’t always as they seem and it has been bothering me ever since.
It took me a while to join the wave of people who were part of the Facebook social networking community. To me, it just seemed like one more thing to do that I didn’t have the time for. Plus, I wasn’t too excited about being contacted by people from my past. It surprises many people who know me that this curly girl has introverted tendencies, but I do. However, a speaking mentor insisted that I would need to get involved in social networking if I wanted more opportunities to speak, so I grabbed my boogie board and jumped on the wave.
Now I love Facebook ~ even the introvert in me! It has allowed me to remain in contact with people with whom I would otherwise lose touch. I can check in on family too far away to see on a regular basis, to see baby pictures, and share in the success of others. But I have felt a downside to social communities, too.
It can be a sea of temptation where undertows of discontentment and comparison are often stirred. Where, at times, friends are only seeing the pretty blue, calm surface of our lives and, if we are honest, appearances are not always what they seem.
I don’t think any of us do it intentionally. It’s not as though we say to ourselves, “I think I will go on Facebook today and make everyone else feel bad about themselves by sharing all the wonderful things that are going on in my life – my travels, my accomplishments, my picture perfect family.” It is certainly not at all what I think when I share ~ I just want to share the great waves I catch on this ride of life. It doesn’t seem right to share those times when I crashed on the ocean floor.
I don’t want to bring people down. I want to be positive. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I want to appear always grateful. Who wants to be a Debbie Downer? But maybe it’s really about not wanting to be that vulnerable. And I don’t think I am alone.
Sure, we will post when something really serious happens in our lives that is out of our control ~ an injury or illness. We will ask for prayer…and we should. But what about those days when I am feeling so insecure about myself because I haven’t heard anything back from publishers regarding the seven personal stories I sent out. What about the days I worry that I am getting old and less attractive, that my hair might be thinning and it is hard to be a curly girl for God if you don’t have any hair. What about the struggles I have with anxiety and the days my husband and I just can’t get along. Do I really want to be that vulnerable with my 154 friends?
Maybe not all of them. Maybe not always. But I do think I owe my friend a Facebook message with an explanation. Friend, things are not always as they appear. Best not to completely judge me by my Facebook posts. Sure, life is wonderful most of the time…but there are many times in between status updates when life is, frankly, just okay or not great. And that’s okay. That’s life. Maybe not Facebook life, but it is real life.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:15