Is social media a reflection of real life?
Now don’t get me wrong I like social media as much as the next person. It’s a great place to catch up with people you would otherwise have lost contact with and is also a good central platform to communicate with those you would normally catch up with on a regular basis.
But with all the plus sides to social media , I think there can also be a few negatives. In general, people only ever post the “high light reel” of their lives. The best, filtered pictures, in the perfect location with the perfect lighting. Some people even become obsessed with portraying the image that they are living the perfect life. The trophy wife, the best behaved kids, the new bigger better house and the exotic holidays. While it is awesome to celebrate the high milestones and good things in life (and believe me I think we should celebrate them). Sometimes life just isn’t all that it’s perceived to be. What about the times in life when stuff isn’t all that good? What about when you fight with your spouse, or when the kids misbehave for days on end, or when you have been stuck at home for years unable to travel and holiday due to financial limitations? Posts like that are rarely seen on social media. But isn’t real life just that, real? Social media is awesome but I’m not sure it is always a true representation of real life. Believe me, no matter how amazing our lives are, if we look a little deeper, everyone has issues. At times life can be amazing, and adversely at times life can really suck.
Take yesterday for example. My wife went out for a coffee date with a friend and I had agreed to pick up our daughter from nursery school. I had been feeling okay most of the day but as I started walking to the school I experienced major pain in my back and my chest (now this is nothing new as the last year has been like this a lot, there have been over 6 months in bed due to extreme pain). By the time I reached the school I was in tears. I picked up my daughter and proceeded to walk home. Although, once we left the building I realised I would not be able to walk back home. I called my wife to come and collect us in the car. In the meantime, my daughter and I slowly made our way back to the school and waited inside until my wife came. The rest of the day was spent in bed with many tears due to extreme pain.
Now there is nothing glamorous about a father crying in front of his child’s school teachers. With this not being one of my best moments, I felt such a reservation about posting anything on social media. Perhaps some of it was just wisdom, not letting everyone know the intimate details of my life. But some of it I think was just fear, fear that people may judge me, after all I have written a book about the goodness of God and His wonderful breakthroughs in my life, and yet in this moment God didn’t feel very good nor did I feel particularly victorious. Perhaps I didn’t post anything because I felt it may break the perfect image that we feel the pressure to portray.
But this morning I woke up and felt like I should say something about it. I think we all need to just be real with ourselves and others. Living in victory in Christ is not about just being this faith powerhouse that never has any problems. Living in victory doesn’t mean we never face difficulties, nor does it mean that we will never feel defeated or question God. But I do believe it is about being thankful in every situation but not necessarily for every situation (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Living in true victory is not about hiding the difficulties so that no one else can see them. It’s about being real and praising God through the difficulties and rejoicing in each day that the Lord has made. Sometimes living in victory is about posting something on social media or writing a blog about the struggles of life to help other people be free. I believe showing people that we all have struggles helps sets them free to just be themselves and breaks this unhelpful perception that other people always live such perfect lives.
So I wanted to encourage you to not look too deeply into the lives of people on social media and wish that your life was that good. Also don’t feel the pressure to put on this image of a perfect life all the time, its okay to just be average or even that life just sucked today. Obviously, don’t share everything on social media, but be free to just be you, no makeup, no edits, no filters, just real life in all of its glory and all of its challenges. Also, make sure you have a few friends that you can trust and meet one on one with them to help you through the tough times. We were built for community and we were made for relationship. God in His wisdom designed us to not walk through this life alone.
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