Social Media and the Pressure to Have the Perfect Life

Social media has a way of making everybody's life look better than your own.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, and an endless gamut of social media outlets give us a front row seat to the supposedly picture perfect lives of people who eat better food, have better clothes, drive nicer cars, and have better behaved kids.  However, if we were able to peel back the photos of unique wedding proposals and exotic vacations, we would likely see that people's lives are rarely what your computer screens portray them to be.

A Lack of Contentment

An older saint once told me, "Every generation wants to start where their parents are right now." We want it all right now. This may have never been truer than in the social media age.  We see others living the life we want, buying the stuff we think will make us happy, moving "forward" in life when we feel like we are stuck.  The allure of what we don't have causes us to believe the lie that what we don't have will make us happy.  Yet, the unseen side of the pursuit of better and more is that it never truly satisfies.  There's always something more.  The beast of discontent is a monster that is never full.

I am freed from trying to impress anyone because I am deeply loved by God through Jesus Christ.

 

We Put Our Best Foot Forward

Rarely do we give the whole truth when we post through social media.  When I capture a moment of one of my children doing or saying something cute, you don't get to see the multitude of things that make me feel insecure as a parent.  In my desire to be liked and approved, I want people to look at my kids and think, "he's a great dad!" because I struggle to believe that Jesus is enough for me.  I care too much about what other people think of me.  

Pretending and Performing

In his book, The Gospel-Centered Life, Bob Thune comments that when we take our hope off of the finished work of Jesus, that it comes out in one of two ways: pretending or performing.  We pretend to be something we are not or pretend that we are not something we actually are.  Online, the tendency is to make our lives look more fantastical than they really are by exaggerating or focusing intently on one area of our lives that makes us look really good or by hiding away the areas of our lives that make us look uninteresting.  

On the flip side, we perform by looking to the approval of others as the barometer for our self-worth.  We post pictures to get noticed, a status to get attention, comments to be heard.  The "like" button is the online currency of human approval.  When someone shares our status it makes us feel important. 

The Gospel Frees Us From Having It All Together

The Good News is that in Jesus you are valued, accepted and desired, having all things as joint heir with Christ.  I am freed from trying to impress anyone because I am deeply loved by God through Jesus Christ.  Therefore, you are free from the rat race of impressing others, being a "big deal", or having the perfect life.  You are free to rest in the ordinary, enjoy the fleeting moments with your children, and glory in Jesus who truly satisfies your soul.