Health · Life · Uncategorized

Filtered Anxiety

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If you don’t own a 4,000 square foot house with an open-concept and repurposed barn wood doors, then corners of it should at least look like a Magnolia design.

If I appear thin, I will be perceived as thin, which basically makes me thin.

If I post pictures that make me look happy, fun, and carefree, I will project an image that disguises the hurt, abandonment, and heartbreak I’m actually feeling.

I don’t know about y’all – but each one of these thoughts hit home with me. How many times have I posted something cheerful when my heart felt no cheer whatsoever? How many times have I posted to make some kind of a point about my life?

Luke 12:22-32 is a beautiful passage with deep imagery on the silliness of anxiousness… which is a tricky animal to begin with. I want to challenge us with a quick analysis of how social media, if we’re not careful, can greatly add to already bubbling anxiety struggles.

While we worry about our reputations, our appearance, and our number of likes, we are mass-producing filtered illusions of the real version of our lives. We are advertising images that are posed, edited, and only half-real. The hard questions here for me are: How can the body of Christ lift each other up with hollow bones? How can we live in authentic community if our own lives lack authenticity?

Our culture lures us in with imaginary images of perfection that are not real and were never meant to be real. This endless search leads to seeds of discontent, bitterness, and shallow relationships. The longer we believe the lies so craftily sold to us, the deeper the roots grow, until taking over and choking all joy and satisfaction available to us.

It’s hard enough just dealing with work, family, children, church, health, cooking & cleaning… toss in social media and we have a DAILY mental throw-down of epic proportions. If we let it, the social media mutation steals our time.

Our joy.

Our privacy.

Our holidays. The list can keep going.

At its base, social media is an incredibly engaging tool. I love seeing my out-of-town friends and family post photos and life updates. The catch for me, though, is that I have to be careful not to let their gathering together send me into a tail-spin of homesick bitterness.

Whether it’s thinking too much or too little of ourselves, it’s easy to waste precious time and energy on appearance, or what people think about us. Just like the lilies, God created me with purposeful intentions of cowlicks and acne scars. While I absolutely try to style my hair with volume, I don’t need to hate myself for thin hair, or delete a photo because I notice my acne scars. I don’t think God is calling me to share the intimate details of all my hard things online, but I cannot imagine He wants me to project a made-up version of my life, either.

It’s hard not to be sensitive to things sometimes, and not be hurt by someone’s misunderstanding of us (or fall into the trap of being the one judging unfairly) but when I get to heaven, photo edits won’t matter – nor will anyone else’s opinion of my life, but GOD’s.

As heirs to the throne of the Most High King, we can show grace to each other by analyzing the ‘why’s’ of our posts:

What am I projecting here, and is it honest?

What am I hoping to get out of this post or status?

Am I creating stumbling blocks for my sisters or brothers in Christ by posting this?

While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the analysis of why, it’s important to be honest with ourselves. If we are not fighting our culture, we will quickly be overcome by the weeds.

Maybe you need to take a break from social media & shut down your accounts for a time – or pull some of those ‘weeds’ & unfollow a few friends or accounts that drag you down. Every few months I delete some of the Instagram accounts I follow because they tempt me to compare my house, figure, clothes, budget, relationships, etc. to someone else’s.

But God! God comes to me in my anxiousness, pulls up a chair and puts his arms around me. He loves the daughter that I am. He sees my messes, my anxious, scattered mind – and still wants to sit with me a while. When others misinterpret my actions, He sees me from the inside out. When the world tells me I’m falling behind, He reminds me the race has already been won. When comparisons steal my joy, His presence is the fullness of joy.

I want the fullness of joy – and I want to be far away from the lies of comparison. I want to plant seeds of satisfaction, hospitality, and authenticity – knowing that there will be pruning & dry seasons but also growth. Beautiful, organic growth. We plant, weed, water, fertilize, wait and watch as God gives us just what we need when we need it.

Our Good Father whispers in the quiet “I am making you beautiful. Just like the lilies.” It’s an incredible promise that He will not forget to come through on. He prunes us. He fertilizes us. He waters us. We may not always understand or enjoy – but He will always remind us that He is enough. He is making things right. He is pleased with what He sees.

“And he said to his disciples. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you eat, nor about your body, what you put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are  you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil or spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is into the oven, how much more will he clothe you. O you of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and you Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom and these things will be added to you.”   Luke 12:22-31

 

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