In this world of technology, every day becomes a battle of resisting comparison. Whether it is access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, the ability to see other people’s lives in a photograph or with a post can be a daily struggle of discontent. The photograph or post may appear to reflect a positive, healthy relationship, or successful career and life, but looks or posts can be deceiving. No one wants other friends and family to believe there is trouble in paradise. Appearances must show “everything is awesome”, just like a kid’s movie, Lego Land portrayed. The sad part about this representation is it is a lie, it brings a person more sadness. You can’t hide forever. The fallacy of “Let’s keep up appearances” is physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually exhausting. It ultimately causes more envy, more loneliness and more depression. If we aren’t able to be transparent and real with at least a few trustworthy friends we will become increasingly isolated. The Lord calls us to community, all humans need connection and to feel heard and understood. To feel invisible and isolated is not the answer.
What was deemed a community access point, ie.. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat has instead lead to more isolation. The number of Followers may seem to say a person is popular and well connected often times it may mean the exact opposite; multiple acquaintances but less meaningful relationships.
I find the less I reach out to the social media sites the more content I am. I was listening to a podcast from John Eldridge today, “The World Part 1”. Mr. Eldridge and his fellow radio commentators were talking about the increase in depression, loneliness and its cause of discontent being The Comparison Trap.
We used to value our differences in likes and dislikes. We used to stand for our opinions, however, it is becoming more common that all opinions are considered above the Creators. Our need to feel the affirmation of others has overtaken our self-esteem. Even if I was to post a blog on this topic, I may anxiously await a Follower’s opinion as a like or dislike, or may anticipate a comment of affirmation after publishing my next blog.
What has become with a society that seeks constant reassurance instead of being content that the Lord creates each of us uniquely with a specific purpose? We seek human affirmation over His. We must seek meaningful trusting relationships with a few chosen friends who encourage and support one another (Isn’t that what Jesus did with his disciples?), friends who listen attentively, who give advice when asked, who are willing to be transparent in good and not so good days. Friends with whom we can share our insecurities, joys and failures are priceless. I am blessed to have some of those friends, I am forever grateful for their input, their listening ear, their discipline in words or actions with love. I hope I am seen in the same light. May that Light be the light that reflects from me, as I read of Jesus.
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decided to be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
What a profound statement by Ralph Waldo Emerson, our destiny is our choice. Sometimes I can think the life of someone I care about is set in stone. Temporarily, it may seem that their future is preset by the generations before, however, there is a reason that we all have free will and that is to make our own choices. Those choices pave the way for our own opportunities to learn and grow. Those choices may be for our good such as the good company we keep, the ability to resist temptation, and the willingness to look at mistakes as just that mistakes. Or our alternative choice is to connect ourselves with company that corrupts, seek risky choices, push aside the idea that we are called to avoid temptations, live the world view lifestyle, and sit in the pity party of our choices believing things will never change.
Proverbs 3: 5 -6 tells us ” Trust in the Lord with all our heart, lean not on our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our path.”
Could it be possible that our life will include trials, challenges, joys, happiness and consequences related to that free will? Yes, of course!!! Life is a journey with light and dark contrasts, meant to provide a kaleidoscope of many reflections. These reflections can bring new insight into our life purpose. There are sunny yellow days, pink loving days, teal blue cool days, lavender peaceful days and black darkness filled days.
There is always the opportunity to learn from the mistakes, not hold onto failure and stay stuck. Failures give us a chance to see the infallibility of being human, to seek the Lord who knows we are not perfect and wants to guide our lives. Failure is not a dead end but an opportunity to take the other road that leads to freedom. Our Lord wants to take us by the hand and point the way to redemption, reconciliation, and a life lived abundantly with Him. Lightness over darkness can be achieved when we choose obedience to His path and lay down our need to plan the journey.
If I think with the mindset of the temporal I may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I choose instead to think with a mind for eternity. I choose to use quiet time reading His Word; seeking greater understanding for the ups and downs or play worship music that soothes my soul. As I sing about His promises, slowly but surely my heart and soul connect on a deeper level with the Lover of my Soul, Jesus. I choose to pray intercessory prayers for those who are on challenging journeys. The phrase, Letting go and letting God, can lead my life and the lives of those I love. I choose to spend time with friends that support and encourage me as I hope to reciprocate with them the same.
Your destiny may be your choice in some measure, however, you do not walk the steps alone, unless you choose that path. Seek peace and direction from the only One who really understands you, Let go and Let God!! There is something amazing about holding hands with the One who created you and knows your destiny. Realize that the kaleidoscope reflection may not be clear yet, however, that doesn’t mean the image won’t be beautiful in the end. Open your eyes to the colors of the day.