Those Who Are Living Their Best Life Aren't Posting It Online

Breaking the eight month blogging silence with some deep thoughts I've been having about identity, idolatry, and this age we find ourselves living in where we constantly have access to other people's lives through social media. 

I've been living through a transformative reckoning the last several months and feel like these onion layers have been peeling away from me in rather large chunks. As I've moved away from living my life online, I've realized I've had these "social media influencer" blinders on for 10 years, and when they were jarringly ripped off, it's led to a lot of deep and transformative thoughts within myself that I'd love to share. 

I've been walking this path of truly studying the idea of identity and idolatry. I've been trying to ask myself through many lenses of my life, "If God took this away tomorrow would I be okay?" For almost everything in my life, I can honestly answer yes. I've proved to be okay without blogging. If God took away my family, my house, my car, my job, Derek's job... All of that would be insanely hard, but I know I would be okay. Which is good, I don't find identity in my house, possessions, other people, etc... because I know and understand that God will provide for me in all things and so those aren't things I personally struggle with. 

One massive reckoning I've had is the amount of identity I have in running and the entire running world/community. I know without a doubt that if I had an accident tomorrow where I shattered every bone in my leg and could never run again, I would not be okay. I would need massive amounts of mental health services to get me through that trial, and I'm sure against better judgement I would still try to run time and time again because it's an addiction I just can't break. I've shared this idea with people over the last few weeks and the response I get 100% of the time is, "If running is your biggest problem you're doing okay", or "I don't think that's really an issue you need to take up with God..." And yes, are there bigger issues/addictions than running? Absolutely. But it's still something that I personally know I find identity in and so it's an onion layer I find value in exploring. 

As I've been working through this "issue" I've come to some conclusions: 1) Passion is not bad. 2) There is nothing inherently wrong with running. 3) God gave us this earth and life, and I truly think that He wants all of us to find the things that make us tick and bring us pure joy. So how do I make this shift away from finding identity in running? I've also come to several more conclusions: 1) My works are not my own they are God's. 2) I believe running can be used as a platform to speak to God's goodness when I recognize my accomplishments are not my own, but are achieved through the people, care, and resources that God has put into my life to help me reach my goals.

I truly believe as we work through these identities and idols that we ultimately worship in our lives (and they look different for everyone), we can find this middle ground where we can deeply love our hobbies and passions because they're a manifestation of God's love for us. 

This brings me to my thoughts on social media. While I don't intend for everyone to become a Christian social media influencer who praises God for all the good in their lives, it's really made me see how much people idolize other people online. How much certain influencers online find identity in their businesses, homes, possessions, etc... We're constantly being sales pitched. There are always people telling us we have a problem in our lives, but if you click here on this link, and spend your money on this product, all your problems will be solved. 

We're constantly being shown other people's massive homes, expensive remodels, and are led to feel that our own homes aren't enough because we're not keeping up with this staged life of others that we see online. 

I was listening to the radio the other day and they said, "Those who are living their best life aren't posting it online, because they're out living it, and not seeking validation from the world." Like daggers to my own soul. How many times have I posted something on social media and sat by my phone for 30 minutes constantly hitting the refresh button just to see the likes and comments roll in... or they don't and then I start thinking there is something wrong with me or my life because it didn't receive the validation from others that I hoped it would? 

I don't even really know how to approach social media after a comment like that because... It's truth. We don't need validation from others in our lives. Our lives and how we choose to live them are enough regardless of what someone else on the other side of a screen does or does not tell you. It makes me want to be more mindful of what I'm putting out on social media. Am I posting something because I want validation for the cute things my family and I do? Am I posting something because I want other people to praise me for something I've accomplished? 

At one point not too long ago in my life I would 100% say the answer to that was yes. While there are definitely still moments where I need to check myself, I wonder if there is also a way where we can strike this balance of sharing, but also knowing our works are not our own. It's an approach I've been working through in my posts the last few months. Can I post about running? Yes. Can I also post about the ways that God has healed me through an eating disorder, how He's put amazing people in my life to make running what it is for me right now? Yes. Can I speak about how my accomplishments are not mine but a result of the work God is doing in my life? I think yes. I think that social media can be a place where we can share the good and put the glory/praise in the right place, if we make that commitment. 

It's my hope for everyone who reads this that when you're using social media, the pretty aesthetic lives you see are not reflective of how everyone is living their lives. You can use social media to journal your family adventures and post the fun and happy moments, but if they don't get the likes and comments you hoped they would, that doesn't make your moments any less valid, or happy, or meaningful. It's my hope that as we all navigate the identities and idols that are calling for us and sucking us in each day that we can become more and more aware of our weaknesses, and seek to identify ways we can make them strengths in our lives. 

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