I went to Europe a month ago and I’m still in a space of processing the weight of what I learned there. Just this week, I was scrolling through Instagram and something in my heart just felt pricked. I’ve written about the European way of tuning IN instead of tuning OUT via technology (here if you missed it) but that isn’t the full story.
I was sitting in the airport in Madrid, already exhausted from 5 hours of travel, preparing myself for 19 more, and I wrote a post on Instagram about the unglamorous side of travel. The picture wasn’t perfect, it didn’t fit my “theme” and I was honestly so jet lagged I didn’t expect anyone to really read it and make sense of the ramblings, but I landed 11 hours later, turned my phone on airplane mode, and was shocked when notifications started popping up on my screen.
And it hit me: that was the most genuine, real post I’ve ever written on social media about traveling. And people actually listened because it was real. Insta even sent me a notification “this post is doing better than 95% of your other posts…” This made me feel really funny. I felt the weight of conviction. I knew there was soul work to be done, so I’ve spent a few weeks processing, listening to the pieces of my heart that scream “take a break” and asking myself tough questions
What’s the point of posting on social media? What are you trying to prove? Does anyone really need to know what you’re doing? Are you spending more time on a screen and missing connections? What kind of friend, girlfriend, daughter do I want to be? Will my life be defined by a following online or the community that I’ve built offline?
And let me tell you guys, it’s hard to ask yourself these questions. It takes a lot of brutal honesty. And it’s not fun. It’s humbling to realize that you’ve bought into the lie of gratification that you hate. I would tell people all the time about how much social media is a lie, but in my heart, I worshiped it. And anything that we obsess about takes us away from creating intimacy with friends, family, and most importantly Jesus.
We are messy creatures with imperfect edges. We can’t put a filter on our everyday life. The only place perfection is expected is on our social media accounts, and why?
Humans were meant to crave connection and intimacy, but if we’re focused on building a life online we could be in danger of missing those moments. Listen, the Insta Game is addicting. There’s a little high that comes with gaining followers and having a pretty feed. And I genuinely don’t think it’s wrong to play the Game, but it becomes wrong if it’s all you focus on. If that’s the basis of your thought process. If it takes you away from friends and family. When your life feels unbalanced, it’s time to acknowledge what gets the most of your mental energy and attention.
This isn’t a post about giving up social media. I think it can be balanced in a healthy way. I’ll still post about my blog. I enjoy giving updates about my life. I have some incredible friends who use social media as a platform to build a career. But if that’s ALL we are, it’s empty. I realized that if my goal is to share the “perfect” moments of my life, it’s not fulfilling. Because anyone can build a perfect life on a square screen, but it takes guts to engage in real life offscreen. It takes grit to reveal the imperfect pieces of your life on a public platform.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: give yourself permission to be human. No one’s life is as incredible as their feed might lead you to believe. If you feel exhausted, maybe you’re like me and focus too much on screen time. If you take a break, it’s so healing. If you create space in your life for meaningful connection, you’ll be richly rewarded.
Thanks for reading this rambling post. I don’t have it all figured out, but I promise to be transparent in the trying-to-get-it-right.