Hey, social media. I'm calling you out. Let's take this outside.
I see what you're doing there, with your perfect pictures of Thanksgiving centerpieces and coordinating placemats.
I see you getting under my skin with adorable collages of my friends and their kids, overflowing with syrupy sweet captions about being grateful for the blessings of the season.
I see the pictures of healthy post-workout snacks, of the cute Halloween costumes, of the beautifully decorated houses.
I see the polls, the quizzes, and the click-bait articles, all waiting for me to fall into a time warp.
You see, social media, nearly every time I log in to your version of reality, I start feeling less-than: I feel bad about myself, bad about my parenting, bad about my relationship with my husband. I start feeling dull, and uninspiring, and frumpy. I start finding fault with my husband, for a multitude of infinitesimal and exceedingly stupid reasons. I start finding fault with my children, because I see the things my friends post, and they look so much better than the things I'm doing (or not doing) with my kids.
Aha. "...they look so much better..." There's the punchline. I know all about the dangers of comparison. When my fridge door is clean, this verse is the first thing I see staring at me:
"Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct." Galatians 6:4-5 (NLT)
Truth words, those. And yet, I find myself falling into the comparison trap time and time again, and each time I come up short. The genuine, deep-in-my-gut thankfulness that I normally feel turns into heartburn. Less-than.
Since I'm being honest, I have to say that there are parts of social media that are great - I love logging in to see that a friend from college just had her first child, or to see the awesome video of my students playing the piano for their grandparents. It's things like that that keep me from closing my account and becoming a hermit (albeit one disguised as a social butterfly).
I will be the first to admit my part in this - I have been a purveyor of comparison as well as a consumer of it. I am deeply ashamed to say this, but I have been guilty of living my life from Facebook post to Facebook post, and sometimes my motives for posting have been less than awesome. Maybe it's to prove that I can be creative with the best of them, or that I too, can take artsy, quirky photographs of my children doing insanely adorable things. All of it boils down to one thing: reputation management. Trying to make myself look as good as possible. It's really ugly, right there in Times New Roman, isn't it?
Here is my antidote, my proposition, my December-resolution: this season, I will be posting exactly zero photographs of my children staring in wonder at our beautiful Christmas tree, the twinkle lights reflecting in their eyes. I will also refrain from sharing the heartwarming, meaningful Advent activities that our family somehow (never) finds the time to do. Oh, and no cake pops. I guarantee you will never see me posting about cake pops. Ever.
My motivation behind this is simple:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24
I don't think God is offended by cake pops (well...), but if I'm posting things on social media just to make myself look good, or to prove myself, or to make another person feel like they're less-than, then my heart is ugly, and God knows it. He knows it, and He wants more than that for His kids.
So, here's to a Christmas without Facebook leering over my shoulder, whispering about what a cute post that would make.
Social media, you are excused.