A old school friend had this as her Facebook status last week:
It's a bad idea to over share on Facebook but honestly I am a bit ashamed that at this moment I can only feel jealous of others, lonely and a little insecure. Wish I had some positives with which to stack the deck.
I appreciated her honesty because I've felt the same. Facebook encourages people to write things for 'likes'. When you're going through a hard time or a 'meh' time, it's hard not to envy those who seemingly have a great life. They're always at hip restaurants, taking photos of their scrumptious meals, posing with their picture perfect families.
I encouraged my friend to not be deceived by what people write on Facebook. All is not always what it seems. That doesn't mean that people writing about good things happening to them actually have a terrible life behind the scenes; it just means that they are focusing on the positives. A good friend of mine went through a terrible time last year, but you wouldn't know that from her Facebook updates. It can be tempting to accuse people of wanting to make others jealous but that isn't always the case. When I'm going through a tough time I either write nothing or write about the good things, and it isn't because I want my friends and acquaintances to think I have a perfect life. It's because I don't want any smart-mouthed person to write something that will result in me feeling even worse.
By simply looking at my Facebook page, some people may think I have it all together. A beautiful baby, a loving husband, cute pets, plenty of space and fresh air. But those who know me and those who read this blog will know that is far from true. I never advertised on Facebook that I had spent five weeks in hospital with postnatal depression and anxiety.
Things are not always as they seem.
I have to remind myself of this when I find myself envying others due to what they write on Facebook. More importantly I need to be reminded of who God is and my standing before Him when I find myself becoming envious or grumbling about my own life. I often find myself becoming jealous of non-Christians who are having lots of fun on Sundays, going out and about while we're getting ready for church. Being an introvert, sometimes I'd rather just spend the morning alone or just with my family instead of a large group of people. I want to go to cafes or parks and just have fun. Non-Christians seem to have it so easy. I enjoy meeting with God's people when I get there, but I sure do feel tired afterwards.
That's when I need a reality check. Why am I envying those who don't know God when I have been given the most incredible gift, a gift I don't deserve, a relationship with the Creator of the universe? That is far better than any Sunday sleep-in or trip to a café. Having Sundays for recreation isn't freedom. True freedom is being liberated from sin and death by Christ's death and resurrection.
Time to log off Facebook, get down on my knees, thank my God, and pray that those I've been envying will come to know Him.