The Facebook Façade {finding joy in the mess}

This and That Michelle Lindsey March 8, 2013

I hate that women feel like failures because of what they see in social media.

I hear what people are saying and it is not pretty. They feel unloved and unlovely. They feel friendless. They feel like they are failing their families. They wonder what is wrong with them, because they can’t seem to keep up. They wonder how everyone else seems to cook amazing meals, visit fabulous places, and take gorgeous pictures of their children frolicking in wheat fields. Something has got to give.

We are fighting comparison at every turn. Facebook, television, magazines. I spend a lot of time talking to women. And guess what I have found out? Everyone is getting frustrated.

Facebook can be a great tool for connecting with others, but it can be very damaging.

It lies to us. We are not viewing the real picture. All we see is a window dressing. If we were to peek behind the curtain, we might be surprised. We would be relieved to discover we are normal.

I lie to you too.  I hate to admit it. I am really sorry. My life is not all cute stories and days of blissful homeschooling.

Last week my three-year old was sick and stuck to me like glue. I was crabby from lack of sleep. I had been wearing the same clothes for three days straight. I didn’t brush my hair. No makeup. No shower. I passed by a mirror and jumped at my reflection, feeling very sorry for myself and for anyone who had to look at me. I was a frazzled mess. The kids chose this week to fight more than ever before.

I called my husband and begged him to just take me away.

I wanted to go to one of those tropical, faraway places you all post on Pinterest. Tearfully, I told him I felt life was passing us by and I was tired of seeing everyone else have fun. Where was the romance? Where was the adventure? What on earth would our memories consist of when we were old and gray if we did not find a way to be as happy and fun as our Facebook friends!? We needed to at least go hiking or something! I told him all of this for about an hour straight. He reminded me that I adore my life. I really do. But I was having a bad week and was struggling with envy and fear. And I was being vocal about it.

Being more honest

Did I mention any of that to you all? Did I change my profile picture to my scraggly-haired-self? Did I fill you in on my kids boxing all the way down the cereal aisle in Safeway, or my tearful meltdown on the phone with my husband? Did I update my status and tell you I was having full on anxiety? No, I kept my best foot forward and let everyone think I had it all together. I clicked “like” on other people’s vacation photos even though I was glaring at them while doing so.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have good moments. (As you know.) But I also struggle plenty. I just don’t show you. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to bring you down. Maybe it’s because I don’t want you to think badly of me. Either way, I am painting a picture using colors that don’t even exist. I am creating a canvas that isn’t true to life. I am Fakebooking. I am not proud of it; I just don’t know if I am brave enough to be “real” all by myself.

Here is what I want to say:

1. You aren’t alone

We are all in the same boat, bobbing on the same big ocean. Life can be scary, and full of hurdles. Just know this; God is there, and He will never ever leave us. He is our comfort and  strength in the middle of complete weakness. He’s the Friend who never ditches us, hurts us or leaves us feeling rejected.

Fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

2. You are lovely

You are made in the image of God. That makes you amazing. Don’t compare yourself to others. Our culture tempts us to fall for a false standard of beauty. Fight against it! Why are we all so bent on competing with each other? Let’s give each other a break. Inner beauty is where it is at. Outer beauty is fleeting-no matter how hard you work or how much money you spend. Magazine covers should not define beauty. A friend recently told me something very wise and true. The most beautiful thing a woman (and wife) can wear, is a joyful smile. Who can resist that?

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;  my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

3. Messes can be beautiful

I have found the greatest growth in my life occurred during my darkest days. Only God can turn bad things around for good. He stretches you and gives you a deeper love for others and a grateful heart. You gain wisdom and empathy in order to help others. It’s tempting to fight against pain and suffering.  It is my first reaction, that’s for sure. But every time I look back, I am amazed at how much I learned. I love others better because of the messes God has brought me through.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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