Picture Perfect

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"She really has a perfect life." I thought to myself as I looked at Facebook pictures of an old friend whom I haven't seen in twenty years.

Smiling children. Smiling husband and wife. Smiling friends.
Church involvement. Exciting vacations. Good humor.

Then I caught myself and had to chuckle. "Of course she's not going to post video footage of a fight she had with her husband the night before!" I said out loud. I wouldn't either!

Most people don't want to post everything...

Moments we are ashamed of: "You should take that face the next time you go to church." my husband said. (I was scowling.) CLICK

Moments too private to share like tears over the death of a loved one or some other deep grief. CLICK

Moments of fear. CLICK

Moments of embarrassment: "No, that wasn't the recipe I wanted." I stunned the young woman as I turned on my heel to hunt down the person with the right recipe. (What could ever have possessed me to say that!) CLICK

Moments of parenting concerns. CLICK

On Father's Day I posted pictures of all of my children kayaking on a beautiful lake at a beautiful beach. Even the little ones tried it - and they did pretty well, too!

Smiling children. Smiling parents. Good times.

A few moments after this...

In an attempt to keep her in shallow waters (per Mom's instruction) an older sibling turned and pushed her kayak closer to shore.

My beautiful child shrieked at the top of her lungs for the entire park to hear, then attempted to HIT the older sibling with the PADDLE!


I am shaking with laughter now, but at the time I was mortified!

Why do we only post the good?

I think that there are several reasons - some better than others.

1. We want to appear like we have it all together. This is one reason that people are so disillusioned with Christianity - we think that what people want is perfection, but what they really want is genuineness. They can see through all of the pretense and hypocrisy, and there is nothing endearing about it. Our Savior was tired, angry, frustrated, broken hearted, cried real tears, and knew the value of forgiveness - - and people were drawn to Him, not repelled by this show of emotion.
Why should we be any more "perfect" than HE?

2. We want to preserve the GOOD memories more than the BAD ones. Scripture tells us to intentionally think good thoughts:

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Matthew 9:4

To entertain means to give admittance or reception to. To allow into or hold in your mind; consider; harbor; cherish.  The American College Dictionary.

Whichever type of thoughts that we choose to harbor and cherish in our minds, will be reproduced over and over again in our lives. I have seen this in many forms. Annoyance breeds discontent. Discontentment breeds complaining. Complaining produces disunity. Disunity leads to the break down of relationships...

So we choose to be positive!

3. We want to protect our loved ones so we refrain from posting their ugly or embarrassing moments. This is respectful. It is loving. It is the right thing to do. Posting things that embarrass our loved ones would cause a loss of trust and a rift in the relationship. It does nothing to improve our own appearance of goodness by making others look bad.

4. We fear vulnerability. Sometimes it is as simple as wondering what people would think of us if they really knew that we yell at our kids, or fight on Sunday mornings - then plaster on smiles before we walk through the doors, or if our house is really messy, or we gave the kids the same lunch two days in a row... We fear that people would pull away from us if they really knew.

That might be true. But to be honest with you - I find comfort in knowing that other people are just the same! I get too discouraged when I feel that I am a pitiful lump surrounded by perfect people.

One day I told my husband that the ladies at church with whom I most identify and wish to be friends are the ministry ladies and pastor's wives. "But they probably wouldn't want to be friends with me. I don't really fit into their category." I said. My husband was shocked. "What makes you think that they are more holy than you!?!" he asked. "I bet they are insecure about the same things as you are."

 It is this fear that has held me back from pursuing relationships - and from plastering my insecurities on Facebook.

5. We need to preserve our safety and the safety of our loved ones. Sometimes it is not necessarily bad to post something - it is simply unwise. For example: you should not post the address of your garage sale if you have posted pictures of your kids.

We should be careful not to post things that could be used against us, or could bring harm to our loved ones. In some cases, it is best to be cryptic rather than explicit. Or simply don't post about some things at all.

I guess it all comes down to this:

Nobody is perfect!
 ...and nobody really has a charmed life.

Things are not always what they appear.
...so don't get caught up in the "greener grass" comparisons.

Everyone else feels like a pitiful lump on occasion, too.
 ...so it's OK to be transparent and share some of your insecurities.

And finally,

Genuineness is more godly than a pretense of perfection.

Happy Posting!


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