Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Life is not Instagram

So, I've already chatted too much about not feeling well these past few weeks.  I have to say when more sofa time is part of my day, I begin to notice some things about life that one can't when going about their regular activities.

For instance, the garden produces to the level that I cannot get out to harvest anything.  It is a new Truth of Life recently discovered.  I have also noticed that The Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and even PBS... they all could use some new cooking shows. 

I now know at what time of the day it is best to catch Tec the Tractor on the channel which is supposed to be for people who have babies and preschoolers (what can I say, it is filmed in Wales and so very cute) and what morning's PBS lineup I like best.

But what I really learned during this process is that one who must stay fairly quiet and in one place should not view Instagram in the Summer... or perhaps I should include Winter for Australia is in Summer mode then.  For it will make you believe that everyone else in the whole wide world is out vacationing at a beach, in the mountains, or at least in some really fun amusement park.

When you are trying to get up to make cereal for dinner, someone everyone on Instagram are showing photos of their latest locally grown and sustainable and organic gourmet meal.  In the best restaurants around the world.  Or their back yard.

I learned long ago that the contentment I feel towards God in general and life in particular has much to do with not comparing myself to others.  For I can always find what I'm looking for... if I want to look righteous then I know where to look for people with obvious sins.  If I want to feel miserable then I can always find someone who is more successful, richer, more attractive, and healthier.

As if I think God doesn't know what I am doing.  Hey Lord, look at them.  I'm better than them!  Hey Lord, I can write just as good as that person so why does she have yet another book on the Top Ten list at Amazon?  Ummm... God.  You do know that photo on Instagram shows exactly the place I've always wanted to go and never made it?

Where are you, God?  Why am I flat on my back and everyone else in the entire world is out there having fun and writing books and eating delicious meals in amazing places.  You obviously have either 1) forgotten about me, or 2) you don't care.  Sheesh.

But as I leave my pitty party brought on by comparing my lot in life to those with iPhone photos on Instagram... He opens my eyes to the millions upon millions of people suffering in this world.  Many of them love Him as I do.  Most suffering far more than I will ever suffer this side of Eternity.

For you see, if there is one thing the enemy of our souls knows will cause the average Christian to turn their backs on the Lord, it is in the simple act of comparing oneself to others... and it is rarely people who have it far worse than we do that the enemy brings upon our path. 

No... it is usually the person who has what we want whether it is as simple as a pizza made in some fancy backyard brick oven or a house decorated just in the style we love.  The enemy loves to have us compare our old car with the neighbor's new Porsche, even if our family would not fit in to such a small automobile.

We notice that he takes better photos than us and that we can never write as good as her and that her dress is made with expensive fabric and that their kids always behave and if they show one more Instagram photo of their new baby when you long for a child so much it hurts... the enemy knows how it affects you and me and us and all God's children.

So do you close your Instagram account and never go on Facebook?  Unfortunately, while it may add a lot more time to your day, it will never get rid of the human need to compare our life to another.  It has been going on since the days of Cain and Abel.

This Summer I learned how to battle the devil formerly known as Lucifer by doing something simple.  You know all about how the Lord told us to pray for our enemies?  Well, I learned to pray for those people posting pretty images on Instagram and be thankful for them.

For those I know either personally or have an Internet acquaintance... I pray for them as God leads.  The people I know only through pretty photos and I'm fairly sure don't know my Friend... I pray for their salvation.  For writers with new books and artists with gorgeous paintings and craftspeople with the most amazing works of art and people who get paid to cook coming up with the most delicious recipes... I thank God for their creativity.

A thankful heart cannot live in a bitter soul... or should I turn that around?  Bitterness will not be able to flourish in a thankful soul.  So thank God for what you have and know if you are able to read this on a computer or other device, you are richer than 99.9% of the world.  Even if your dinner is not Instagram worthy. 

When jealousy sets in, think of children whose homes have been wiped out by war and floods and fires.  Somehow it makes laying on a comfy sofa with one's fluffed up pillow and access to lots of books and beverages and flowers on the deck and a Maine Coon snoozing beside the sofa seem like Heaven on earth.

Artist: Susan Wheeler

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful reminder to be thankful - even for the little things - to battle the discontent that the enemy wants to bring to our hearts. It brings to mind Phil. 4:6-7. Our anxieties are to be taken to the Lord through prayer, but we are instructed very specifically to do it "with thanksgiving". Sometimes when I'm especially discouraged and finding it hard to know where to even start, it helps to begin making a written list. Then the Lord brings to mind all the many blessings (spiritual and material) for which to thank Him! -Joy

jlt said...

This is a very good reminder. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Had to smile at your reference to Tec the Tractor. We kept our granddaughter a couple days this past week and watched some PBS. I decided I wanted to live in a cartoon--everything is so perfect in the cute little houses. Everything is in order, no dust, no leaves or limbs on the lawn which is perfectly manicured. Colors are brilliant and perfect. Cartoons are cute but not real. I could show you a few photos of neat, pretty places in my home but that doesn't reflect the whole of it. There are places that are cluttered, dusty and not at all to my liking. But that is real life. And if I compare myself to others, I'm not going to be the "best", the "first" and the "most"--but I am to be thankful for what He has blessed me with and be content for He has blessed me greatly. Loved your post today. Right on target. Blessings, Sharon D.

Lee Ann said...

great post!

Mary said...

Spot on! You hit me right between the eyes, Brenda. Aha, Satan! You've been caught red-handed. I see he tried the same smarmy trick on you that he did on me. Well, it won't work, thank God :). My sister, Brenda, and I are being thankful :).
p.s. Just so you'll know, I heart your posts on IG as vintage comfort. K, bye!

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Brenda. Always pointing us back to Him.

Mary Magdalene said...

Amen! I just finished Ann Vancamps book on 1000 things to be thankful for,so this has been a very thankful week for me even with all mine pain issues, which I,too decided to be thankful for. About the third day in I started to question this "thankfulness thing" and decided enough was enough, so I prayed for relief and guess what, I got it! But, first I remembered apple cider vinegar was good for arthritis, and took a mega dose of 2 tbsp, three times the first day, best sleep I've had in 2 weeks and then I woke up with minimal aches and pains which I quickly remedied with 1 tsp. of vinegar that morning, I have been feeling a lot better, and now I am thankful for vinegar and for listening to that little inner voice. Have a great day!

ellen b. said...

That's a wonderful antidote you've shared! Hope you feel better soon...

rebecca said...

So true! Comparing roots out contentment BIG time!
Well written.

I sure hope you get relief from your pain & symptoms. Lean in on the Heavenly Father and your brothers and sister is Christ! ♥

Anonymous said...

Amen! Thank you Brenda for a wonderful post.
Pauline

Vee said...

In July, I spent a week in bed. It was no fun. As I recall, it was pretty much a blur because of pain killers. Anyway, I will take this Instagram thing under advisement...I don't need more troubles...am already having to pray again and again for the bitterness that wants to creep in. Oh that slewfoot is a wily one, but he is no match for The Lord.

Deanna Rabe said...

Amen, amen, amen! Your so right!

Maureen said...

Wow! What a powerful reminder to not let the "if onlys" sneak into my life. Your idea to pray for those you might otherwise compare your life to is a good one. We are so, so rich in many ways, and yet it is so easy to grumble about what we don't have instead of thanking Him for all we do have. Thank you for this reminder.

Jane said...

Wonderful post! Jealousy is such a useless emotion. All it ever leads to is discouragement and unhappiness. I've personally seen it destroy relationships.

Annabel Smith said...

I hope you feel better soon Nanna Chel. I am a skeptic about social media so I dont even mostly believe the perfect pictures on instagram etc and know it is not all real life it is well styled snapshots that arecarefully edited! Even on bad days we are so much better off than most people in the world probably. But still it is hard when not well and I hope you are feeling heaps better. With love Annabel.xxxx

Heather LeFebvre said...

Yes!!! Thought about this comparing thing while watching the runners compete in the Olympics and how it slowed them down when they turned their head to check on everyone else's progress! wow. So true. Boy I love instagram for the inspiration but it is also a battle. It's also hard to decide if I should post something there....will it cause someone to feel badly? Or will it inspire other people as I need inspiration? Well, we just can't get away from these difficulties.

Ann said...

Loved your post. Hit the nail right on the head. Now that we're retired just six months ago and living on a very limited budget (you know all about that), it's best to look at instagram pictures and pinterest just for the joy of seeing the beauty -- not for dreaming "I need that" and "I want this". So true that we here in America are so blessed while christians around the globe are being persecuted and killed just for accepting the King as their savior.