As I sat in a small cabin in the mountains of New Mexico, it was snowing. About four inches of good, powdery snow. The air was crisp and invigorating. Wild turkey and deer were venturing around the property. Thankfully, no bear sightings.
While on vacation, and for a bit before that, I'd realized something. I'd starting to buy into a lie. "Live for the picture."
At the ski resort near our cabin, I saw selfies being snapped right and left. Spendy snow gear, adorable hats and snazzy puffy coats adorned folk making faces at a phone they held above their heads. (Don't get me wrong, I think I look great in a ski cap with duck-lips.) But my eyes began to open as I continued to look around me one afternoon.
Most of the people I saw, stayed in the resort area. They were not gliding down a mountain or trying to balance on a board. They weren't wet from crashing into the snow and their boots weren't covered in slushy mud. I went up the mountain and down and the same people were in the same place 2 hours later.
The selfies they were taking were of an experience, an ability, a dream they were only touching - not actually living.
As I humbly observed the people around me on that mountain, those in my personal life AND Jesus-loves-'em, strangers, I realized that so many were merely living for the picture.
Friends, the picture comprises what, 1% of your actual life? Ok, maybe for some of you that number is a liiiitle higher, but think about it.
Let me take a picture of this one plate of food I made this week, let me pooch my lips and stick out my chin so my face looks thinner than it really is, how about I slap on a cheesy smile and make it look like I'm actually enjoying this party. Or, I can take an awkward photo with this special person and quickly post it all over social media so others can see what good friends we aren't...are.
- Look at me - I must love my life - I'm smiling so big.
- Look at me - I'm working so hard - I just had to take this pic for you too see.
- Look at me - I'm such a good mom - I stopped screaming at my child long enough to grin for this photo with him.
- Look at me - my marriage rocks - this couples selfie proves it.
- Look at me - my life is stellar, put together. I'm an amazing person worthy of your respect and admiration. Give me your praise...I meant likes.
Y'all, your photos are 1% of your actual life. Your status updates, your posts, they add up to nada in reality...in genuine eternal value. How is your child, really? How is your marriage, really? How is your health, really? How is your relationship with God, really? Are you hiding from reality? Are you pretending? How is what you're sharing going to impact lives and promote the Gospel? It can, but does it?
Granted, we are now conditioned to live this lie. Our natural desire for approval is fed. We feel validated with 100 likes or 72 hearts. Really though?
As I ask the little humans in my life, "What's your truth?" Meaning - what is something absolutely true that no one, no how, no way can ever take away from you? Your truth, a undeniable statement that touches your heart and soul, something you believe forever. It might be...
- Jesus loves me no matter what I do, where I go or what happens to me.
- I am strong, capable and secure in Christ.
- What's on the inside is more valuable that what's on the outside.
When we find our security and identity through Jesus - likes, comments, hearts - they don't matter or motivate. The only thumbs up I care about is from God.
I use social media. I take selfies. I have hundreds of pics on my phone of my family. I'm not being a hypocrite, I'm trying to make a point and refocus us...
Or more eloquently as one of our Founding Fathers said...
Branding. Marketing. People are trained to do this for themselves now - not just for selling products. Again, I have a problem. While you're so busy developing your own image - have you developed character? Do you have any real experience? Is there depth and substance to your work ethic and thoughts?
Fearfully, I look ahead to a future full of people who seem amazing online and on paper, yet don't know how to work, follow-through is nonexistent and they get genuinely offended if you didn't "like" one of their posts this week.
God led me to read a quote scratched on sticky note on a friend's desk. (I was NOT snooping, it was on the monitor!) This answered a life-long question for me.
Searching. Questioning. Seeking. Hoping. Every generation finds themselves here at some point. The people I'm seeing are turning to photos and web-based fans for their quick-fix - and temporary solution to a deeper, human problem.
What happened to years of experience? What happened to anything tangible? What happened to respect for position and said experience? What happened to responsibility, "the buck stops here," or "if a job is worth doing, it's worth doing right?"
You are not "it on a stick" - yet. You are learning, growing, changing, living! Your few years or months at a specific job or hobby do not make you an expert. Listen to those older, watch them, ask questions.
Again, to clarify, I am not anti social media. I believe it has it's place. But the online world is not your life. Stop snapping and posting long enough to really, truly, live your life.
Live a life so full of adventure, Jesus, people and learning that it's worthy of documenting.
Go LIVE! in an actual, physical life. Share Jesus. Follow truth.