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,
…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,
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
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.