Two things took place this week that have caused me to pause and reflect. The first was a social media status from a young mom lamenting the “perfect picture” that most present on social media. She made a war call for folks to have “real life” social media, at least balance that with the “perfect life.” The second was as I watched an event at our beloved church in Arkansas. The event was presented by Tangible Truth Ministries and was entitled “Addicted to Anxiety.”
I’ve said it before. I do not think I would survive being a young Mom in today’s social media driven world. I would wake daily feeling as if I was a total failure….because by human nature I would look at all the “perfect lives” on Facebook, Instagram, blogs and feel defeat. It’s unfortunate social media doesn’t come with a “baloney meter.” I have looked back and I have found myself guilty of “tooting the horn of my children.” There’s nothing wrong with that, BUT, it has to be tempered with reality. Real life. The world sees that Johnny made straight A’s, was awarded perfect student of the month and was just sent a mail-out from a prestigious summer prep program. What’s not seen is that Johnny regularly slaps his sister in anger when they fight, or that Johnny screams “I hate you” at least ten times a week or that Johnny falls apart each day as he walks in the door from school from sheer exhaustion of keeping up his “perfect life.” Now, don’t put all your Mama drama on social media either…cause frankly….that’s exhausting too. Do put your pleas for prayer or wisdom. Be real on those days you long for the beach and two hours of sleep without a kiddo interrupting you. That’s real life. Real life is sometimes dinner is a bowl of cereal and fruit and well….even that was a miracle to make happen. Life is messy…keep it real. Keeping up with the “perfect” blogging world some present, or the perfect Facebook land others present or the pictures of the perfectly styled children on Instagram…..it will eat you from the inside. This same message is true for those of us more seasoned. Stop looking over at Susie’s “perfect life” and wishing you had it. It’s not perfect. Susie is just doing a better job of painting one for the outside world. Real life. Real people.
I’ll be honest. I really thought I was pretty together until last night. I realized, very quickly, I have a whole lot of junk in my shopping cart that is anxiety related. What’s puzzling to me, is that I didn’t think of it in an anxiety way before. Angie Smith, yes, that wonderful Christian author, was my first “oh my” moment. I knew that I really did not care for new social situations. I tend to look present, but in reality, I am sitting up on a cliff waiting for the situation to be over. I have always felt judged, compared, and even devalued….but for what reason, well…I know two devalue buttons, but I will have to get back with you on how this works out. Anyways. Angie Smith was being “real” about her life and her journey with anxiety. She was once told something that will resonate with me for a very long time. “Wherever you go, when you walk in the door, assume you are welcome.” Wow. I can honestly say, that for the most part, this has NOT been my life mantra. I do better when I have a strong social butterfly friend with me, as I can somehow feed off their energy. (Does this make me one of those fish who rides on a shark for food???) Until last night, I never really called it anxiety. (I’m certain now is where therapists are beginning to circle my blog…that poor girl.)
I wish I could just post here every single scripture or word by the speakers that I wanted to tattoo on my forehead. I simply don’t have that brain capacity for memory and I did not take notes. (Event attendee fail.) One other thing that I have said a million times, but it is worth repeating here…and is actually an integral part of the “Circle Talk” given by Susan Goss, of Tangible Truth Ministries. “You were NOT meant to carry God’s load.” Oh, how many times have I tried to carry that load and only when crippled in grief did I release it to God? Is that a female thing, to try to fix and carry…or is it a matter of a hole in my relationship with God?
So, I am pondering. What’s your anxiety? What’s your “real life?”
The feed from the ministry is available at : http://www.fbcbentonville.org Right now, one part is on the front page and the first session is under Women’s Ministry. I encourage you to watch.