This week was not one in which I accomplished very much. My insurance company had sent out a letter a couple months ago that they were going to stop paying for the short term insulin I had been taking for around seventeen years and were forcing me to switch to a man made generic.
That switch occurred late last week and soon after I took the first injection, I knew something was not right. I ended up becoming deathly ill on this new drug and after a few days, I had to make an emergency trip to the clinic where they also came to the conclusion that it was the new drug making me sick.
To make a very complicated story as simple as possible, I ended up back on the original drug that has worked for many years. I'm still feeling the affects of the experience but I'm a whole lot better than earlier this week.
It was soon after getting back on the original insulin that I was working in the kitchen while half way listening to a Bible teacher from one of the Christian stations on Direct TV. I was not feeling all that well but a little housework done poorly is better than none at all, or so it seems.
Something drew my attention to what the speaker was saying and since it was time to rest for awhile, I sat on the recliner and listened. Just then she said something that was so full of Truth, I thought it quite amazing. It was especially helpful after the week just experienced.
She said, "Never compare your everyday life to the highlight reels of other people shown on social media".
Now that is a statement that should be written out and taped next to every computer, every tablet, every smart phone in the home. We may say we never compare ourselves to others but if we are being honest, we know better than that. Especially when we see the perfect photos on Instagram and Facebook. Real life does not have a filter option.
Don't get me wrong, there is a legitimate sadness that can occur as we follow others on social media. It is not wrong to wish you could travel like some friends but health issues make it impossible. Just feeling sad is not a sin, it becomes a problem when those feelings affect our relationship with God and other people.
It isn't wrong to wish your talents were being used more than it seems they are, for you are given gifts of writing, or singing, or telling stories, or teaching the Bible, or even something as simple as cooking meals. Not at all for wishes... and dreams... and desires can be the seeds that move us to learn more and practice and become really good at the gifts God gives us.
What we must come to realize... and find peace with... is that our gifts God blessed us with were for our own journey... that path He designed us to walk. We are not to covet another person's journey, no matter how exciting and glamorous it may look. For our path is uniquely designed by Him and is a mystery that our human mind cannot fathom... how He combines His goals for our life with our own free will to make decisions as we walk that road.
I take photos of pretty vignettes in my home which I guess could be called styled. However, they have been tweaked into looking pretty for my home and not the camera. You will never see a photo on Instagram of the mess Florentine has made of her kibble bowl or the sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.
I also rarely show photos of something I have cooked because I do not take the time to plate the food so that it is Instagram worthy (only on Holidays). I'm just happy to get a meal on the table on most days. When we compare ourselves to others, our homes to their homes, our meals to the beautiful photos being shown, we must remember that for the most part they have been styled to look as close to perfect as possible.
I love to see the photos taken by those people who have a gift for styling whether it is food or flowers or art or books or china patterns, or any other number of pretty things. I view the photos as works of art, no different than perusing a pretty magazine.
My real delight is when I see photos of what friends and family are doing on their journey. Whether in using their talents, or taking a vacation, or baking a cake, or growing flowers, or writing a book, or any other use of their gifts. I feel as if I am there, partaking of the moment with them (as much as possible in this finite world).
For you see, I realize that the problem is not when I desire to do what is necessary to make my own talents better, or do what is necessary to meet a goal... given circumstances and God's will. It only becomes a problem if I start comparing my every day life that I live with what God has allowed in the life of another.
He only asks us to do what we can, with what we have been given, in the place where He has placed us. It took awhile for me to be at peace with my journey. It was not what I expected and definitely not everything I desired. When I gave up my own idea of what my life should be and submitted to His plan... it was amazing how much joy I could find in the journey.
Doing the best with what I have also makes it possible to enjoy those pretty photos on Instagram. It makes it easy to enjoy Europe vicariously through the photos of family and friends. To take pleasure in the success of a friend's new book. To give thanks for the meal cooked for dinner in spite of feeling tired, even if it is not one that is picture worthy.
Everyday life doesn't have a filter but it doesn't need one. Our life is a gift from God to live each day and we can trust that God is at work in our life to bring us good and Him Glory.