Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Give Me Real

"We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise."  These words from Jen Hatmaker, in her book For the Love, really hit home for me–especially in regards to the online world.   I may be a little more immersed in this social media world than some of you, but for others, I am behind the times with all the new platforms that exist.  I'm not on Snapchat or Periscope even though as a blogger I'm "supposed to be." I am freaked out for my children who will have to navigate real life alongside this online one over the years to come–thankfully we didn't have this whole other dimension to deal with when we were growing up.  Don't get me wrong, I love the communities that I have become part of, the people I've met, the information I've learned, and the support I've felt, but, do these positives outweigh the negatives?  What are the long term implications to being so active in an online world?


I'm a pretty confident woman.  I don't say that in a bragging sort of way, just a thankful one.  I feel like a decent mom, wife, and friend. My home is average. My life is average. My looks are average.  All good. But, get me on Instagram for a few minutes and I'll admit that a crazy side of me can sneak out.   How do people look like that? How are their homes so beautiful? How do they have so many followers? How are their kids that stylish? How are people experiencing all these gorgeous vacations? How do people have money for all of this?!

Then, I take a deep breath.  I get it.  I follow a lot of online businesses which means this is their platform for what they have to offer; their real life isn't all white and bright and perfect (and if it is, don't tell me!)  I follow many adventure, travel, and photography Instagram accounts and I'm sure their days aren't full of frozen waterfalls with perfect lighting.   We don't see what is really going on behind the scenes and what the other 23 hours of their day might look like. I have to remind myself of a quote that I found a few years back by Theodore Roosevelt, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Be happy for them. Don't compare.  If it's going to bother you, don't look. Unfollow. Done.  If it sounds like Instagramming is a negative experience, it's not; I really enjoy it for the amazing photography, new ideas, and connecting with friends.  I just need to keep my perspective in check...continuously..that develops character, right?!


It's not just Instagram that causes me to question myself.  Pinterest is notorious for making me feel uncreative in the craft realm and in the kitchen.  I still pin away but I can't make every fun craft or recipe that I find on Pinterest.  Let's be honest, I've probably made 1 out of 100 of the recipes that I've pinned! I do appreciate the inspiration but I struggle with how it makes me feel like I'm not enough.  How do we feel supported and learn new things through social media and yet keep a solid head on our shoulders?   What did our parents do when they needed to connect?  Pick up the phone?  Chat after church on Sundays?  Get to know their neighbours better? I don't know.  What I do know is that if something online is causing me to constantly feel like I can't measure up, I need to change my mental approach to it or make some actual changes.  Unfollow. Unplug.  I'd encourage you to do the same, unless it's not reading my blog...you still need to do that (insert winky emoticon here.)

This week I read a post by Julie at 3 Chickens and a Boat entitled "Why I am NOT Live Streaming My Life".  She says that "Our purpose for doing things has switched from "filling our souls" to "filling our social feed.'" which really struck me.  I hope that I am not missing out on real, precious, present moments with my own family and friends in order to invest online.  I hope I don't do things just to get that "perfect picture" instead of savouring the moment.

I'm curious, what are your thoughts on figuring out this online world for you and your family? Do you have these struggles or no?  Is my husband brilliant for not being on social media? (Okay, he does have a Twitter account he checks into once a month.)

Love,
Louise

10 comments:

  1. Hi Louise...I feel like I never measure up, especially when it comes to SM. It is almost worse IRL. I remember years ago (before social media), when I would be at church, and see the people, the perfect moms with their perfect kids, nice outfits, etc. Even now, I still see it. It can be frustrating. I hear you.

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    1. I'm sorry you feel this way IRL too. I hope you know beyond the "perfect" there's really a whole lot of not perfect!

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  2. SO well put. This post eloquently shares what is on my heart quite frequently as I am newer to the world of Instagram. So often I have to remind myself, "The Lord is my shepherd. I have ALL that I need." I find myself needing to recite this to myself frequently as I navigate social media. Thanks for putting words to what, I'm sure, so many of us feel daily.

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    1. And how do we teach our kids how to navigate this?!

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    2. Primarily, I think we have to model it. I catch myself with this - sometimes I'm strong at this (and am clear in the modeling), sometimes I am sneaking moments on social media, or commenting on how amazing/beautiful something is. But I think we need to be vocal about recognizing and thanking God for the things in our homes/lives. the more verbal we are with our gratitude for what we have, i think our kids will see that and adopt that, as they do with most things :)

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    3. Yes. Awesome answer. My parents were so, so good about being thankful for all we had and I think that helped me so much.

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  3. Social media is overwhelming at the best of times. It's why we limit screen time for ourselves. Put the phone away/don't being it with you. It's so easy to get sucked in.

    I like Instagram for the photos too, but keep myself in check. We actually have one account for our blog, and a private one that we share just with family and friends.

    It's all about balance, and I love what Anita said about"The Lord is my shepherd. I have ALL that I need" that's exactly it!

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    1. I need to limit myself even more!!

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  4. This is SOOO true. Sometimes, hubby will be the one to remind me of this when I'm scrolling through IG or FB and commenting (verbally) on things. and i have to step back and reset my focus on what's right in front of me (for real, not out in cyber world) and see the great gifts we have. I third Anita's reminder from Psalm 23!

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    1. My husband is good at reminding me of these things too :)

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