01 August 2011

Picture Perfect?

I am very thankful for the internet. I love the convenience of searching for and finding all of the information that I could possibly need as quickly as my 70- wpm fingers can take me.

At the same time, internet use can tend to make me feel slightly crazy and insecure. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and all the many, many blogs I read bombard me with words that portray perfectly organized lives, ideal marriages, immaculate homes, healthy organic meals, adorable children, endlessly patient parenting, deep and rich prayer/devotional lives, burgeoning and healthy ministry growth...and the list could go on and on and on...

I am often tempted to compare my own life to the lives portrayed in the carefully crafted words I read on the screen of my aging iMac. And I often succumb to that temptation and become enveloped in an abyss of self-pity and jealousy.

As I read the words I just typed, I grimace at their ugliness.

I cannot think of two more insidious, destructive and consumptive emotions. They chip away at the confidence I've been given by God. They erode the stability of healthy relationships. They bore into the brain like a parasite and deplete energy, life and joy.

That is not the life God has designed for me. Even if the ideal lives crafted for the world wide web to view were 100% accurate (but seriously, most people put their best face forward when posting pictures, writing statuses and blogging...I mean, does anyone really want to know that my deodorant gives out around 3 p.m.???), so what?

My life is mine. Your life is yours. Behind the pretty pictures, the perfect children, awesome husbands, and clean houses that we click through on a daily basis are struggles, sorrow, pain, financial difficulty, career instability, learning disabilities, marital issues, and ginormous dust bunnies that no one else knows about.

I have been given a precious gift and it is my job, my God-given responsibility, to use time wisely, appreciate resources allotted to me and love unconditionally the people that He has placed in my life.

No more jealousy and self-pity. And no cynicism and mistrust either. I don't read blog entries written by women touting their extreme money saving tactics and homemade organic cleaning supplies with a smirk on my face and think, "Sure lady, you drop $100 on every Target trip just like the rest of us and probably clean your tub with Lime-O-Sol, too."

Instead, I try to thank God for blessing her with creativity and frugality. Then I thank Him for my blessings and evaluate how I might take one or two of her ideas and incorporate them into my own life.

Have I arrived? No. The temptation is there all the time. It's a daily battle. But I've noticed that an amazing thing happens when I'm not feeling sorry for myself or focusing on what I don't have, or how much I used to weigh. I think more about others. I am more generous. I am more thoughtful. I am more Christlike.

As I wind this down, in an effort to "keep it real" I considered posting a really hideous picture of myself. But the beauty of a digital camera (mine is over 5 years old and has seen better days) is that one can delete all unsavory photos of oneself and therefore perpetuate the perfect online persona. Ah...well...nobody's perfect.


jamiec11803 said...

Here's a little something for you. Everyone thinks I keep my house SUPER clean, on a daily basis. We have a new dog who peed on the floor, and it was two days before I found it. Lovely, right?

April Maus said...

I just stumbled upon this post from Nina's blog...and I'm almost certain God purposed me to read this...awesome, love your writing style, honesty, and wit!