A friend said to me, “It looked like you had an amazing and fun summer from your pictures on Instagram.” That’s the thing with social media, it can make it look like peoples lives are nothing but fun, laced with beauty, serene moments of pure bliss really. But I think that we all know that’s not true. I don’t set out to make my life look more fun or amazing than it actually is. I’m pretty honest on here that it indeed is messy, but you may not see that if you only follow my Instagram feed. The truth of my summer was that it was hard. My instagram pics were indeed most of the highlights of my summer.
As I was processing that comment I came to a conclusion. For me Instagram is more of a thankfulness journal throughout the day or week. I capture moments that are indeed beautiful, show the things I love (such as my kids), showcase time with friends, etc. I love to capture the moments throughout the day that bring me joy, it’s like my photo journal of thanks. I’m not out to impress others, it’s mostly for me and my enjoyment. And when I look at others blogs, Facebook photos or Instagram streams as something that might bring them joy I’m less judgmental of whether or not they are painting a picture perfect life or not, because we all know those don’t exist.
And really, it would just be inappropriate to stop mid fight with your spouse and say, “Hey can I document this for Instagram?” Or take multiple (an occasional one is okay right?) pictures of your child in the midst of a full on rage. Those real life messy moments are when you’re trying to survive and work them out in a healthy way, and taking pictures of them wouldn’t really help.
These are questions I ask myself to see if I’m using social media in a harmful way:
- Am I taking too much stock in what others think, how impressed they are with my photos or my shiny moments in life?
- How many times am I going back to see how many likes or comments I have on a photo or post?
- Am I too wrapped up in how others might view me through my photo stream?
- Am I spending too much time on-line and not living in the present?
If I take too much stock in those things or I’m not being intentional with relationships in my everyday life then I may have gone too far in the wrong direction with social media. It’s no longer a journal of thanks but one of pride (not that you can’t take pride in your photos but you know what I mean). I want to strive to be real, relish in the highlights of the day but also engage in the hard things. I’m not out to look like someone I’m not.
Just like everything in life, there’s a balance. We live in a digital age and the world of social media. Those avenues can allow us to only see each others highlight reels and edited version of reality. It helps me to remember, don’t compare my lows of the day to someone elses highlights. Approach it with thankfulness and hopefully use it for the glory of God.
In light of capturing a messy, real, everyday moment though I had my husband take this picture to prove that my house is not always clean and this is how I feel at the end of most days. Life is indeed a beautiful mess isn’t it?