Social Media. We all have a love-hate relationship with it. It can provide so much good: inspiration, pray, uplifting ideas, laughs, and friendship.
But the bad. It can suck us into a black hole of endless, fruitless comparison. It tends to show us only the happy, the beautiful, and the perfect side of some stranger’s life. You never pick up the phone with the perfect person and hear her pour out her woes. You only see her perfect mantle or her spotless kitchen sink. We turn to these squares for inspiration, but sometimes we walk away with only frustration.
She has troubles, same as you. She also has messes just outside the picture frame. She probably has the same frustration with that world of little squares that you have. But you never see that, so we all assume that her life really is that perfect little world of perfectly curated pictures.
The “problem” with social media is that we all, literally, zoom in on life, so that no one sees the peripheral. I may post a gorgeous picture of my wildflower bouquet, but I carefully crop out the margins. What you don’t see is the toddler underwear, haphazardly discarded just outside the frame. You can’t smell the boots that the teenager wore to feed the pigs and, for some reason only logical to the perpetually illogical teenage brain, dropped them inside the front door. You can’t hear thesix-year-old crying in the kitchen, because we are out of chocolate milk.
Social media zooms in on life and we use it as our tool to show the world only our most beautiful. We rarely post the laundry mountain, the spilled cereal, or the weedy garden. We don’t want to show that side of life, because we don’t want to focus on it. And that’s a good thing. We should focus on our good and beautiful. We should find joy in this amazing life we live. But when we get bogged down in believing that the perfect squares of the people we follow are an accurate depiction of real life, we tend to lose focus.
But. What if *we* zoom in on life. Literally. Never post it, never tweet it. Just mentally zoom in, past the mess, past the whining, past the smelly boots and see only the sweet toddler who wants a hug or the charming teen who wants to tell you a funny story.
We need to zoom in and see the beauty, when we feel like we are drowning. If we can take the time to do this when it results in a post that gains “likes” and comments, why can we not also do it simply to focus on the joy in our own lives.
The gospel of Luke tell us that “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” She certainly didn’t post them for the world to know. Or shout it all from the rooftops. Sometimes, we need to zoom in on the beauty, take it all in, and simply hold it in our hearts. God knows. He sees. There’s the joy.