You may recall that I gave up Facebook for Lent. Boy, am I glad I did. Yes, I definitely miss hearing about all the good news (babies being born, engagements, kid celebrations and milestones, et al). What I don’t miss? All that bragging, complaining, arguing and stretching the truth.
I’m certainly guilty, like many of you, for taking to the status update before really examining whether it should be written or reflected upon. If you can’t say something nice, right? Being off the grid (well, partially off the grid, I’m still tweeting and blogging) has given me quiet. A little rest. A portion of my day has been reclaimed to reflect, meditate and pray about my shortcomings and how I can be a better wife, mother and woman of God.
Here’s the real problem:
You see that happy, smiling family above? We start to resent them. Our internal dialogue gets the better of us. We can’t see the beauty of the photo and the people in it. No, we resort to comparison, judgment and low self-worth. We start to believe that this is the way that family always looks. Trust me, be a fly on our walls around 5pm and you’ll see differently. We only see what we want to see. Perfect families only exist in picture frames.
What our eyes don’t show us is reality. All those fabulous vacation pictures and kids winning awards and fancy date nights among spouses? They always seem to look beautiful and fun and awesome. But, what about the friend who tweets how “fab her hubby is” but you know the marriage is barely holding together? There are the kids who look so well-behaved and happy, yet you know they are disrespectful and struggling with self-esteem. The vacation photos are breathtaking, but so is the credit card bill.
You see, we’ve started to compare ourselves to a virtual world that doesn’t exist. We compare ourselves with things in which we can never compete. We forget to celebrate the gifts God has given our friends and family. We can’t be happy for people because we’re too busy making excuses for why we’re better than they are.
Lent is slowly reminding me, with each passing day, that happiness doesn’t come from this world, but from Him. We can accumulate many things, travel to far off places, meet celebrities and post it all online for millions to admire. But we’re impressing the wrong people. I’m finding myself drawn to women that challenge me to strengthen my relationship with God, which in turn, strengthens my relationships with my husband, children and friends. It is hard work overhauling your soul. God’s expectations are so high, aren’t they?
There is only one family worthy of comparison. The Holy Family.
On the days when you feel like the rest of the world has it better than you, just look around. Write down ten things you’re grateful for and put them in your wallet. I had a priest give me that as a penance once.
I still have that list.