CyberLife

I’ve been thinking about the idea of “image crafting,” or creating and manipulating our image to the world via social media. I was intrigued by an article called The Dangers of Image Crafting I found on Facebook and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I usually give up desserts for the Lenten season, but this year I’ve disconnected from Facebook. It’s a removal of something I can easily worship to focus on Jesus, the One I worship.

So here’s the premise: we “carefully and deliberately construct our social media content” to control how others view our lives. We delete unflattering pictures of ourselves (I totally do this!) and highlight the ones we look best in. We post stats from a long run, Instagram pics of a healthy recipe,

I'm guilty of the healthy recipe posts. Confession: I don't eat kale and quinoa every night.

I’m guilty of the healthy recipe posts. Confession: I don’t eat kale and quinoa every night.

…boast about our kids’ triumphs, flaunt the flowers our husband bought us “for no reason,” and lament a tough workout. #blessed #ilovemylife #fitmom #transformationtuesday

We wish our lives were actually as perfect as we make them seem, and become discontent as we compare ours to the perfect versions of our friends. Comparison robs our joy.

I’m guilty of some of these social media blunders myself. That’s why I’m taking a break for a while. Without knowing it, I get caught up in how many of you viewed or “liked” my posts and I am easily frustrated by my friends’ posts/pictures I either dislike, am jealous of, or disagree with. I watch some of their lives play out before me on Instagram and wonder how they can keep up with such perfection?! How does every meal look like it came out of a magazine? Why is everyone else’s husband buying them random gifts? How many square feet is her house?!

I’m not sure we were meant to interact with society via cyberspace.

It’s a fantastic thing, the Internet. Don’t get me wrong. I’m able to reconnect with old friends and keep in touch with distant family. I’m able to maintain this blog and Finn’s smile encourages some of you. But at some point I think we lose a genuine-ness that I highly value in friendships. If I haven’t spoken to you (with my mouth) in decades, or we don’t even speak when we see each other in person, how are we considered “friends?”

I can put a filter on any picture that will hide my wrinkles,

Selfie with Laura. Tried to filter out my tired, pregnant eyes.

Selfie with Laura. Tried to filter out my tired, pregnant eyes.

whiten my teeth, make me look tan, or crop out the mess that is my kitchen. I can pop my elbow outward to make me appear thinner

Double whammy: elbow pop AND workout boast.

Double whammy: elbow pop AND workout boast.

or post a cute “selfie” in which I put myself down, but secretly I’m searching for; begging for your approval.

This is so wrong.

I crave this kind of validation, but it is not satisfying to my soul. I don’t need it. In girls’ Bible studies I’ve taught in the past, I always touch on the fact that if we are believers, we have all we need through Christ. We are a full cup. This eliminates our demand to approach the world thirsty–parched for compliments, approval, inclusion, validation, acceptance. If these things are granted, they become a blessing; overflowing our cup. Not what we needed to make it through the day.

I’ll just be honest and let you know I don’t have it all figured out. Read the post prior to this one on Failing. I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to parenting. I’m a rude and selfish wife sometimes. An inconsiderate friend. I made my mom cry at Christmas. I ruin many a meal with too much salt. I lost my temper wiping Jersey’s muddy paws last week. I eat pizza too often. I speed to work. I’m not happy with my body these days. The list continues.

So relax. Take a deep breath with me. Maybe take a break from social media for a while, or at least determine its purpose in your life. It shouldn’t be your source of affirmation. Or mine.

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7 thoughts on “CyberLife

  1. Ashley this is by far the best blog written on this topic. I am guilt about a lot of these things too…i realized that by reading rhe blog. Thank you for writing all your posts…i subscribed..mostly because your way of thinking awakens my mind to think differently..i love sth that can challenge me to think outside of the box. Thank you for that*

  2. I cannot agree with you more on this one. I always found it disturbing to be so visible and you are right, I don’t need people to think I am cute or my husband is handsome or or or… how does it help me other than exposing my life to people I don’t even know. I kept my facebook profile very low, only to keep in touch with very close friends and family but I finally decided to go off it when I saw how many marriages it has wrecked. I saw how perfectly-happy looking wives are actually not that happy and how they start posting provocative pictures and end up offering online intimacy to others in the same circles. You can imagine what happens when a wife or a husband finds out what their spouses are doing in the archived messages ๐Ÿ™‚

    We are whole but we are surrounded with so many accessories that we grew to believe they are necessities. Life is so simple and it is better enjoyed when lived simply. God Bless.

  3. Thanks for this! I’m in my early twenties, and am going through a pretty lonely period in my life. I look at other people/old friends who have friendships dating back to early childhood, have boyfriends/are getting engaged right and left, and seem to have amazing opportunities to travel. I have none of those things, and I quickly get down on myself, wondering WHY my life is so different than the lives of other people I know. “Is something wrong with me?” is a frequent question that runs through my mind. But then I realized… I was looking at their lives according to facebook and instagram. They might be just as lonely as I am, but they just might not choose to show that side of themselves on social media. But then again, neither do I. All of that to say… I needed this. My worth is not found in how many people I am “friends” with on facebook, or if I am tagged in the most pictures. It is found in Christ alone, and only through Him am I made complete and whole.

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