Social media, like a lot of things in life, can be a blessing and a curse. I have several social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter) and I have found these outlets significant in helping me keep in touch and connect with people. However, am I REALLY connecting with people?
I’m an introvert that LOVES transparency. As a result, I feel the word “connect” takes on a different connotation for me than it does for others (the same is true for the words “relationship” and “friend”). Knowing surface level facts about someone does not equal a connection (neither does proximity…you can share a space with someone and still not connect with them). With that being said, I wouldn’t say I’m connected with every person that follows or friends me on social media. I, of course, know them in some capacity, but I don’t have a deep rapport with all of them.
This is where social media can become a blessing. These outlets can allow you to share pictures and posts about your life with other people outside your core circle (aka your “tribe”). You can also search and find people you may have lost contact with due to distance, time, etc. For myself, I will say it has been easier to stay in touch with family and other people I know who live in Florida (because I am in Ohio). Since I cannot be there physically, I can experience events and milestones in their lives secondhand via social media. The same is true for others in regards to my life. I mean, I put my wedding ceremony on Facebook live! lol
Now for why I feel like social media can become a curse (and the reason for this post): most times it is not a reflection of real life. Do I think people are lying about what they’re posting? No (at least not the people I follow). What I mean is social media platforms have become a place where mainly the highlights of life are put on display. Posts about engagements, baby announcements, weddings, graduations, new jobs, new cars, new houses, and new business ventures flood our timelines. I love being able to congratulate and celebrate these moments with people, but when that’s the only thing people post it creates a false perception and expectation of reality.
Life, as I’m sure we all know, is full of peaks AND valleys. If you fall into the trap of social media, you might begin to feel like you’re the only person on the entire planet that experiences low points in life (In reality, this is a total lie. EVERYONE has low points…but not a lot of people are talking about it publicly). I’m not ashamed to say I have fallen into this trap numerous times. Here are a couple thoughts/realizations that pull me out of the trap (in case you have been there too):
1.) You don’t know what’s going on behind the closed doors of that person’s home.
2.) Everyone and everything has a season. Maybe what you’re seeing is that person’s peak season (shout out to my sister-friend, Stephanie, for the inspiration on this one!).
3.) Comparison is the thief of joy.
4.) God is STILL totally and completely, head over hills, you’re-to-die-for-and-I-did, in love with you.
As previously mentioned, I’m an introvert. For me, this means too much human interaction drains me. So when I do interact with others I would prefer not to waste time on small talk and get right to the meat of the matter. Yes, it’s one digit degrees outside…I know….but, what is the biggest challenge you’re facing in life right now? It is during these type of conversations that I get to sometimes encourage people (a gift/talent I believe God has given me) and we get to learn more about each other and make a REAL connection. There have been very few times that I’ve made connections via social media (with the exception of online dating, but that’s possibly another post lol).
All in all, I think social media is great. It just annoys me that it’s not commonly used as a place to be transparent even about the bad days. I love balance (because I can naturally lean towards being an extremist aka just plain EXTRA and DOING THE MOST in some situations lol). Highs AND lows in life is a balanced and normal concept. Not to mention, the lows make the highs so much greater. In the words of Royal Tailor’s song “Gravity”, “What’s a win without a loss?” Don’t get me wrong, winning is amazing. But a win after a loss (or multiple losses) feels even better. Without the rain who would appreciate a sunny day? Tough days, moments, and seasons are inevitable in life.
Christians, like me, especially know this. We are reminded to “consider it pure joy” WHEN we face trials of many kinds (James 1:2) and that in this world we WILL have trouble (John 16:33). One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Being a Christian does NOT mean you will no longer have rough days. Sometimes I fear the opposite message is what’s becoming popular through prosperity gospels and others like it. If Jesus Christ, THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF, had to suffer…why, my Christian brother and sister, do you feel like you shouldn’t? (again, that’s another post lol) Christians have the knowledge of hope in suffering because we know it ultimately builds our faith and reliance in God and we have His grace to sustain us through it.
So with lows being just as significant as the highs, why do we not talk about it more? I’m not saying you have to spill all your tea on social media (Girl…go talk to a friend, pray, journal, get a therapist), but don’t be afraid to be human. #inreallife
Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to address the questions in bold in the comments!