Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lovers, Haters, & the Perfect Life of Social Media.

This. This is garbage:

Listen. Post your workout. Post that it was a good one. I'm genuinely happy for you! When I'm in a funk, your dedication helps me. When you start a new program or start from scratch, I am encouraged. I will cheer with you and for you.
If you fall off the treadmill and smack your face, please, please for the love of Richard Simmons, post a dadgum Instacollage. I will respond with the pic of me and my wet pants.
[The link is for my baby readers. You're welcome.]

Perfect Life.
A few days ago, Shauna Nequist  posted a blog for Relevant Magazine, "Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life."

In her post, she spoke about the dangers of social media to make us feel "less than". I get this. It's a thing. I don't want to post any picture or tweet or update that is going to make anyone feel like a loser. Here's the deal, I can't always control what makes you feel like a loser. Nor can you control if I'm having a slow day and can't handle that you just worked out, got groceries, wrote a paper for your Master's class, folded laundry and helped your kid's teacher all by 9am! Listen. On my best day, I will not do all that by 9! But, if you can and I can't be happy for you, well, that's on me!

And, sometimes it is on me. There are times that seeing my people do all these amazing things can start to make me feel loserish or homesick or question my calling. I have to check that with me and Jesus.

For example, I was going through a bit of a homesick season a few months ago. I took a six-week FB break and it helped. Seeing all the awesome things my friends were doing without me was making me sad. I was having a hard time being present. Well, that's not my friends' faults. They are just living. I had to make an adjustment.

Another time a friend and I commented on the same post on Facebook. Her comment made the point to say something to the effect of 'This is why I do better when I work outside of home. I feel like I make more of an impact on the world now than I did when I was at home.' This statement came at a time when I was really questioning my adequacy as a homeschooler and questioning my calling and I was emotional. (This is, like, every month.) I was ready to respond with how much of an impact it makes on my family and the future Kingdom of God that I am preparing these girls of mine for battle in this world. I didn't.
She wasn't talking about me. She was talking about her. I had to check that.

Listen. I understand that if your only social network is an online social network, you might think that everyone else is always beachin' it up or busting up some brothels or getting on another plane or getting married.

You know it's not true. That's not ALL your people and that's not ALL they're doing. One of the points that the author says is that "everyone's life looks better on social media". Well, yah. What do you want to see? My pile of laundry?

<True story: A few summers ago, we were evidently having a lot of good times on the old FB. One particular day, though, Spouse and I had had discussion about how much he had been working lately. Later that night, discussion subsided, we were with a friend who was commenting on how much fun we'd been having, according to the pictures he had been posting. She said, "Mark, do you ever work?" We about fell out. Too funny. Perspective, Kids. Perspective.>

Just do this exercise: When someone posts a pic of her trip, already KNOW that there is going to be a mess of suitcases and laundry when she returns, whether you see the picture or not.

Same for the gym: If you see my update about my workout. Don't hate. Imagine my smell.
It's not perfect. That'll help you.
Good grief.

The Haters.
The haters, they aren't ever gonna be happy. They are mad if you post your workouts, too many political posts, your meals, too many Jesus posts, too many soapbox posts, etc. You know. They are just gonna have something to say. And, I don't even mean these little memes. I mean, even the garbage one above makes me snicker. I don't have to agree with it for it to be funny.

How about these:
"I hate my life."
"I can't deal with people."
"I am so sick of _____."
That's what really bugs me. The downers and the foul people. Bless.
No joke, one time I saw one of these downer types post about his annoyance at other people being negative all the time! Spouse and I were cackling at the irony!

The Lovers.
I love the people.
The people in front of me and the ones on the screen.
My Facebook friends and Tweeps and Instagram followers are my people.
When my people's kids do well on their report cards, I love to rejoice with them!
When your kid makes a good showing in the steer competition or baseball game, post that stuff if you want to!
When your teenager stops thinking of herself for a split second and shows a glimmer of what you've been teaching her for 14 years, I will 'like' that, too!
When your 2 year old comes to show you-literally- that she pooped in the potty, dang. I'll be proud and sorry for you.
The hilarity that your kids come up with, post it, if you want to.
If your purpose for the social networking is to promote a cause close to you, rock on! I can hide you if it bugs me, but I ain't mad, Bro!

Let us consider how we may spur one another 
toward love and good deeds... Hebrews 10:24

Bottom line:
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, they are all like the virtual fridge.
If you feel like it, share your life.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
We already know it's not perfect.


  1. You are a Genius!!!!! So wish I had written this!! There is some serious insight here Mel!!

  2. I have diseases. I have deep, systemic, antibiotic resistant diseases. But, comparitinitis is not one. I'm grateful for the insights into this affliction to help me understand so foreign a concept. A. I think you TOTALLY ROCK in your own Melissa way and B. if I did have this particular disease, I would have to say that my laundry pile is WAY bigger than yours....and blacker. You even "out colorful" me in laundry as well as countenance.