There is a cancer that is eating our souls. What is it? Social Media.
Do you know how hard that is to say as a blogger? Social media is part of my industry. It is a huge part of how I get what I’m writing out to you. The hope is that you will read something I wrote or like an idea I created and pass it along to your friends via social media. It is how I grow and hopefully reach my goal of coming alongside other moms in the journey of parenting – providing resources, inspiration, hope and camaraderie. Pinterest and Facebook bring in the most traffic to my site behind Google, and now I’m calling it a cancer? Am I crazy?
Maybe I am a bit crazy, but I believe it is a discussion that needs to be generated. We need to talk about it so we can prevent the pain and discontentment that seems to be plaguing us.
There is a Cancer that is Eating Our Souls
There is a cancer that is eating our souls. We can blame social media. It’s always easier to blame something else than look directly into our own hearts and the sin issue behind it. Social media is part of the beast, but if we are going to destroy the beast, we need to cut off the head. The head is the sin of jealousy.
At the heart of this issue is discontentment based on comparison.
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” – James 3:14-16
I have fallen into this trap my entire life. My discontentment has often surfaced around the way I look. If only I were naturally thinner I could be fulfilled.
Now, in motherhood, it looks different – or rather it is being added to. Now, the comparison game comes as I stare into the supposed lives of mothers I see. This can be on social media or in real life. Social media, however, seems to exasperate the problem for women because we see the highlight reel of ones life and make a whole lot of assumptions about their lives behind doors too.
I struggle as a mom. I have never hidden that fact. Yes, I write a mom blog, so I should have it all together, right? I think that some people still think that about me as they glance from the outside. However, you need to remember to look at the articles that really explore my heart. I’ve shared with you why I suck at being a mom. When becoming a mom I felt like I lost myself. There has been confession that I have everything I ever wanted and have still been unhappy. Despite my candid admissions of my short comings, I know people look at my social media account or blog and start that nasty comparison game.
I know that some fall into this trap with me, and yet I fall into the trap with others. Most of this fits into the category of feeling inadequate as a mom.
Man – if only I was the workout mom like that friend. She takes her kids outside in the rain and runs uphill with a stroller. Look at her energy. I wish I had that motivation.
Take a look at that wonder mom. She has 10 kids, and they are all well behaved. Look at those smiles as they explore life together. They all look so happy.
Ugh – that mom has her kids dressed so cute all…the…time. Her children are showered and styled and their hairstyles are adorable. We can’t seem to find matching socks. My daughter doesn’t want to let me try and tame her locks. My son chooses soccer shorts every single day. I’m not quite sure when they showered last.
Here’s the big one – I wish my kids were easier and better behaved like the ones I see. Look at the pictures on the beach. Not one of those kids is crying because they have sand in the wrong place. See that child getting acknowledged at school? All we seem to do is battle homework. Those kids seem to be walking alongside their parents in an orderly fashion. My monkeys are…wait, where are my monkeys?
The comparison game.
I try and teach my kids to be happy for others. “Jealousy is the root of discontentment,” I tell them.
“Why did she get the bigger piece?”
“I want the gift he was just given!”
“Why did he get to go to a movie when he was with his friend? I want to go to a movie.”
“I want the red cup.”
As a mom, I tackle this by trying to teach my kids to rejoice when others rejoice. – Romans 12:15
Moms, we need to listen to the lessons we are teaching our kids. We need to learn to be happy for others when they are happy. Period. When we see something going well for someone on social media or in real life, we should be happy for them – not jealous. Jealousy is our natural tendency, so it takes a lot of self control and attitude shift to combat it. If the temptation is too great and the comparison game continues to infect you, I encourage you to be all done. Turn social media off. I do social media for work, but I am not pursuing it personally for many reasons – the comparison game being one of them.
Beyond learning to rejoice over the successes of others, we need to understand the truth behind social media.
What you see on the screen is a snapshot. It is a moment. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. Let’s say someone posts on social media once a day. That is 365/525,600 of their life you are observing. You see .069% of their life. What you don’t see is the fight they had with their husband last night. The child who tests the boundaries around every corner was also not observed. The tears of depression that poured onto their pillow were also not captured on Instagram. Laundry piled up on the couch wasn’t their Facebook share of the day. You didn’t see it, but it’s there.
A mom I admire shared with me this week about her daughter chucking an iPad across the room in anger.
Another mom I envied because of her children’s behavior shared her own struggle with the comparison game about…catch this…her children’s behavior compared to others.
I have amazing moms around me. They are working hard to raise their children well. Yet, these moms share with me their struggles. There are women tackling all kinds of sin issues with their children – anger, lying, theft, disobedience, hyper activity, defiance, and an inability to stay on top of their responsibilities. This shouldn’t shock us. Our children were born into sin and struggle in different ways just like we have and continue to.
When we don’t share our stories of our own struggles as moms, we feel alone as we grapple with the harder parts of parenting. Making assumptions about everyone else’s life is a recipe for discouragement.
Mama, I don’t want you to live a life of discontentment and of jealousy. I don’t want to live that life either. Will you join me in fighting this cancer that is eating away at our souls? Let’s stop the comparison game and learn to be happy for others. It might mean turning off your computer or your phone. It is worth it!
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