Today I have a devotion running at Proverbs 31. Thanks to all of you who stop by after reading. On Thursdays at my blog I share something I am thinking about. (See the "About Me" page for a schedule of what I share each day.) Today I am sharing my thoughts on being real versus being encouraging...
I think there's a fine line between sharing the positive side of life so that people are encouraged by what you share, and being real about the tough things you encounter on a daily basis. I find myself walking that line like a tightrope, hovering this way and that, always wondering if I am striking the proper balance. I want to encourage, but I want to be real. If I only say the good things does my life look too perfect, too unobtainable? And yet, if I complain publicly will those of you who come for encouragement be put off, saying of me, "She's so depressing."
I thought about this the other day when I was reading through Facebook statuses. Everyone mostly seems happy on Facebook, probably because of what I am talking about. They want to put their best foot forward. They want to be a ray of sunshine. And yet... they can't all be that happy. They are, after all, living with imperfect husbands and children and friends and extended family. They have rainy days and cars that break down and home appliances that go on the fritz and bad news and disagreements and... you get the picture.
And yet, if you read their Facebook statuses, you usually only see the happy, good moments. This is pretty true with me too. If I do write down something negative I usually try to find the humor, so it looks like "well yes this was not the best but hey, I managed to find humor in it!"
I thought of this one evening when I tweeted/Facebooked about a meal I was serving. If you just took the tweet at face value, you might think that all is well in Whalen world, happy children and parents gathered around a table with smiling faces, ready to enjoy a delicious meal together. That's my Facebook life.
My real life was not that way at all. I was grumpy because I didn't feel like my family appreciated my efforts to make said meal. My husband was quiet because he'd had a bad day. The kids were grousing at each other and not using good manners. And no one wanted to be the one to clean up after dinner. That's my real life.
Which do you want to read about?
I think that we want to believe that somewhere out there, people are living that life we see on Facebook. We need to believe it because it gives us hope that it's possible. And so we follow people on Twitter and friend them on Facebook and read their blogs, hoping that in our connection to them, we can find the secret we're missing so that our lives are happy and perfect and joy-filled.
I will keep trying to strike the balance between what I share and what I hold back, offering glimpses of the life I strive for and being real about the life I end up with. There is no perfection this side of heaven. Yet there's beauty to be found in the reaching for it. And there's camaraderie that happens as we all reach together.