Earlier this week, my sister Lyndsay made the following post to Instagram:
I could post this picture of my coffee this morning, along with something cute like “Iced coffee in a mason jar on a Monday morning ❤️ #perfect” — BUT what you don’t know is that this iced coffee tastes terrible…I mixed 2 kind of creamers that didn’t exactly complement each other and it tastes like an awful liquid medicine you take as a child. It literally made me cringe. Remember, everything on social media can be like this. People can paint whatever picture of themselves they want. All you can see is their highlight reel. Stop comparing your life with the lives of others. Find joy in where God has put you & what He has given you. || Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
My graduate degree in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse makes me think about communication (through both word and image, in both print and digital environments) in funny ways. I was inspired by Lyndsay’s reminder. It meshed with Jen Hatmaker’s (my current hero) call to give grace to ourselves and to recognize that we too often hold ourselves to a standard that’s unrealistic and ultimately harmful.
We all present an image through our social media presence, whether we like or not. How consciously we manage or curate this image, however, varies significantly. Since undergrad, I have been pretty conscientious about my online presence. How does what I post reflect me, my friends, my work, and (most importantly) my God? As a result, I have a carefully curated version of myself that, while partially true to reality, perhaps falls into the ‘highlight reel’ category.
I like to think that my highlight reel portrays a less-than-perfect (or perhaps downright messy) life. But even the downright messy can be carefully crafted. I can spin how that mess appears and even exaggerate it for effect (pity, humor, etc.). This side of the highlight reel is even more dangerous in my opinion because it becomes a false vulnerability through which we may invite others into deeper conversations than we’re willing to have. We protect ourselves from true vulnerability. We’ve been ‘real’, but we’re still safe.
But Jen challenges us to pursue something different–to ‘tell the truth’. I am not saying this means we should spill everything on the internet (curated social media is not entirely evil). Instead, it means that my hope in this blog, in this little space of the internet, I will tell the truth. I hope to speak the truth in love and give and receive grace as much as I can. I don’t want to fall into the pitfall of the highlight reel or to provide a false vulnerability that gets me hits and boosts my ego. It may make me popular, but it won’t bring meaningful relationships or peace. Nor will it bring glory to God.
These ideas–grace, truth, love, and the glory of God–has become my passion over the past few weeks, and while it may carry me away from the original focus of ‘Why I Got Married’, I hope you’ll join me in what may ultimately be a new direction for this blog.