I scroll down, down, down my Instagram feed. Bright and beautiful faces grin winsomely at me. I recognize one author after another speaker after another friend after another famous someone-or-other. All hip. All on-their-game. All trending more than me.
I leave the feed and return to my page, noting no uptick in “friends.” Shoot, my own grown kids haven’t even “liked” the carefully-created post of my blue toe-nailed, flip-flopped feet on a sunny chaise with palm trees in the background. Come to think of it, that post pushed me down two likes. Geesh …
Why is “She” so popular? Why are “Her” posts pole-vaulting to sensationalism? That publisher has signed that author. That event has booked that speaker. That board has selected that new member. Are they more mature? More gifted? More spiritual? Younger? Older? Smarter? Freer? More disciplined? More techy? (I don’t want to learn one more thing – Stories? Oh mercy, not another element to keep up with!)
I set my phone down and think about the “me” I measure against the “others” around me. To be honest, most days I’m not fixated on how I compare to others. At. All. After six decades of stretching to meet an arbitrary mark that would somehow pronounce me “enough” according to the day’s current standards, I’ve come to accept that my best practice to offer this world is “me.” God in me for sure, but still, the real me he has made and is still making. As someone once said, “Competition is repetition.” When we try to be what someone else is, we just repeat what’s already been offered.
But in the newish, not-so-private world of social media, I notice my self-evaluation compared to my evaluation of others can go all wonky.
Her color-coordinated Pintresty parties christen my gatherings oh-so-ordinary. Suddenly my kitchen looks outdated to me. Her arms-around-each-other, giggling gatherings of friends echo how rarely I actually get to see my dearest dearies. Loneliness licks around my heart. Their babies, their toddlers, their kids’ sport events, birthdays and trophies and puppies all lined up for display. What do I have to show for my layers of life?
In his paraphrase of Romans 9:23, Eugene Peterson writes, “If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right?”
Years ago, as I stood in a checkout line at the grocery store, I wrestled with God’s choice of me to lead a mothering organization. Me — never even pregnant and from a broken home — me. The one filled with Swiss Cheese holes of inadequacy. As I dug through my purse for my wallet and looked up at the other moms around me, I sensed God’s response, “Give me your deficits and I’ll make them your offering.”
With that invitation, I climbed onto the platform of inadequacy to offer the mess of me to the need of the world, discovering that in my “not enough” God did indeed somehow create more than enough. Over the years, he’s made it clear to me that he won’t sacrifice the needs of his beloved on the pitiful provision I alone have to offer but that he will inhabit me in such a way that everyone around me is fed — little boy with five loaves and two fish style. Further, as I open my being to notice, he will somehow return my offering to my own soul, filling me to full even as I pour out onto others.
And as any other “She” puts herself in his hands, he will do the same with Her and Her and Her.
So, isn’t that all right?
Swipe. Swipe. Still at 1711 on Instagram and 8399 on Facebook. Oops — now down to 8392. Click. Off.
P.S. Okay — I know it sounds totally weird to ask in this context — but if you are an Insta or FB person, feel free to like my pages and comment on my posts. LOL! I am a real person and I really do read and respond to your comments — even as I try not to let my “numbers” express my value. No, social media is not face-to-face community, but it is a way to share ideas and grow together. And then if we meet in real life, we can say “Yay! We finally met!”