I was perusing Instagram on Black Friday while sipping a Starbucks latte and for an instant, (okay, maybe a tad longer) I wished for the buffet of family, food, fun and festivities my eyes were taking in.
My heart sagged. Self-pity lurched. I can feel envy rising in me. I caught myself wanting the never ending picture perfect life and things everyone else has. Ugh 😥.
Young ones, I had to shut it off. I stopped scrolling and turned to God’s Word for some reinforcement of what is true about my world and others. I am so very weak and often in need of reminders to focus on what’s real and true.
Thankfully, I had the Bible with me 👌.
I admittedly have become an insta girl. I find technology to be a great resource, but also a grave distraction. It has the ability to connect us to the world and disconnect us from God, our source for everything good, life-giving, and true.
The picture perfect family photos, the polished presentation, the magazine worthy décor and meals are but a snapshot of the life we all wish for yet can never attain. Because it’s not real. They are mere snapshots of the life our hearts yearn for because we presume such a life promises happiness. If only we had this and that, all will be right and good.
Nothing is further from reality. Real life is not always pretty and happy. We all know this. But, our brain loses the ability to think rationally when we’re bombarded with images at every swipe. Our minds are perpetually stuck on autopilot in the social realm. We react and respond hastily to what we see instead of perceiving and processing the information from God’s viewpoint. This is a danger to our whole self because it damages our spirit and outlook. It skews our perspective of our circumstance, our worth, our purpose.
You’ve heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? How very true. In every snapshot, we can tell what people lack, what they love, and what they’re searching for.
Through every picture, the deepest longings of the heart are revealed. Its unspoken words shout for attention, acknowledgement, acceptance, fulfillment.
My young friends, I share this because tis the season when comparison, envy, and discontent can escalate. Holidays stir up emotions in us that are asleep during other times of the year. We long for what was and our empty hearts crave to be filled what it is missing: Love, comfort, hope, happiness, peace. And seeing posts of people’s “perfect” on-screen lives often aggravates our hearts to a state of self-pity and discontentment.
But remember, no life can be perfect because we are all imperfect humans. Things are not always as they appear. No matter how pristine a picture, don’t hyper focus on its presentation. Don’t get distracted by what you see. For only God sees the back story behind the beautiful imagery.
Some words of caution for your young hearts and my seasoned one.
Limit your scrolling time to guard your heart against envy and discontentment. Always use God’s Word to get an accurate perspective of your circumstances and a right measurement of your worth. Psalm 37, 73, and 139 are a few of my go-tos when I’m discouraged and think life is not fair.
And another thing. Don’t let yourself get to the place of comparison. Because you will either be puffed up with pride or pulled down to despair. Both are not right thinking and neither are pleasing to God.
Finally, we must guard our impressionable minds and ever-wanting hearts by talking to God often.
Lord Jesus, guard our hearts against wanting what we see during this holiday season. Steer us away from places and things which will tempt us to feed our wants. Give us the desire of wanting to know you more. For only you can truly and completely satisfy the yearning in our hearts for love, peace, joy, acceptance, and fulfillment.