Snapshot (noun, masculine): a photograph, especially one taken quickly or in a moment of opportunity.
Have you ever wondered how others seem to be on top of everything and you’re the only one who isn’t? I certainly have. Many times. And there seems to be a correlation with the usage of social media, too!
The web and the wide world
I love apps like Pinterest or Instagram for their way of sharing inspiration and encouragement. That’s the sole reason for me to even have an account there. But if I’m not careful I can get lost in the world wide web easily. Hours go by like minutes. And besides inspirations or a “moment” to unwind, I’ve unintentionally also collected envy, jealousy and all its ugly consequences.
The word “snapshot” keeps coming to me and in today’s text I want to highly recommend something: Grab this word, too. Whenever you see someone or something and start comparing to your own situation, keep this in mind. You’re only perceiving a snapshot!
When I sometimes share moments of our life on instagram and afterwards meet a person in real life they’ll comment something like “I’m so jealous of what you accomplish.” When I send pictures of my kids to a relative or friend I may hear comments like “Oh these cute babes, they’re always so happy.”
I’ll let you in on some truth, ok? I don’t ever take pictures of the kids when they throw a fit. I don’t ever capture and share our family life in moments of anger or strife. Because in those moments I’m in the middle of it all. Those moments belong to us and us alone. And trust me, we have plenty of those. Every day. And I’m convinced, you do, too.
Recently I caught myself thinking “Am I a good enough mom? Am I a good enough wife?” Why would I think that? Because I stepped into the comparison trap. Again. All it takes is a few shiny pictures and posts of stunning houses, clean kitchens or skinny moms with smiling perfect-looking kids.
When I catch myself comparing to stuff like that I know I need more time in His Word. Away from people and away from my phone. Why? Because His Rhema word is what washes me and cleanses me (Ephesians 5:26). It washes me clean from thinking like the world does.
Have you ever tracked your time on social media usage versus time reading the Bible, praying, worshipping? It might be a good tactic, at least for a season (there are plenty of apps out there). Because if you find yourself being fearful, worried, anxious or discouraged, I have a question: What’s on your mind? What content do you allow to enter your eyes and ears? The Bible is pretty clear about this. Here’s what Paul teaches in Philippians 4/6-9:
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
- And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Let’s get real!
Coming back to the concept of snapshots – let’s get real with each other. So many times in a conversation I’ll listen and on the inside I’ll think: “Really? Is your life that perfect?” Oftentimes the Holy Spirit then prompts me to share a struggle I’ve recently had or even one of the big topics of my life (infant loss, burnout, marriage crises). Suddenly, the atmosphere of the conversation will shift. You know why? Because I took the risk and made the first step towards more authenticity and vulnerability. Is that easy for me? Nope. Is it necessary? Absolutely!
If you haven’t already, maybe you want to take the time to listen to what Brené Brown shares in regards to vulnerability. One of the best TED talks ever, I think.
Two gals and I
I yearn for the day that we can be honest and real with each other. On a side note: It should be a given that you don’t spill your guts to each and everyone you come across. Neither should you do that with people that can’t respect healthy boundaries or can’t be trusted. Yes, we need to be wise in what we share with whom.
Here’s a recent example: Two gals and I started a prayer meeting in our tiny village about six months ago. It was a heavenly encounter from the first get go. We hardly knew each other and in our first meeting we set up one rule: What is being prayed for and spoken about in this circle stays in this circle.
I’m telling you – we’ve experienced so much healing, openness and vulnerability – it is amazing! And what’s best: We’ve extended our invitation to other women around us and we’ve shared parts of our lives with them. The result has been tremendous. Healing, revelation and just deep conversations with Jesus in our midst. It’s too precious to even be put into words.
There’s always an and
How did what I just described even “happen”? You see, before starting the prayer group we had only seen each other occasionally at the playground or when picking up kids at school. A snapshot here, a snapshot there. During our first meeting, we quickly came to terms with the fact that the snapshots we’d been seeing of each others lives were not the complete picture. Because the complete picture will always show the high and the low, the good and the bad, the clean kitchen and the messy rest of the house. That’s the secret.
Dearest reader, next time you catch yourself wanting to smile and say “I’m fine” through gritted teeth, I encourage you to be real instead. Start by being real with Jesus. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him heal you. And make this world a little brighter and more authentic by opening up to trusted people in the next conversation: “Yes, my ________(fill the blank) is a mess, too.” Or “Yes, my kids fight, too, and it drives me crazy.” Or “I also struggle with my body image.”
“Friendship is born at the moment when one says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”C. S. Lewis