I’ve been home from Kenya for about 2 weeks, and I want so much to share with all of you the things I saw and the stories I heard, the people with whom we fellowshipped and the places we went.
But it’s hard to do because….where on earth do I begin?
And what exactly should I share?
You see, I have a constant struggle with sharing photos and stories from my friends in Kenya because they are their stories, you know? I look at it like this: if you came to my house for coffee, and I shared my story with you and let you take photos of my kids and my home, would I want to see them plastered all over Instagram the next day? Shouldn’t it be my choice, not yours?
It’s a hard balance to keep because we want to share what God is doing (and have been encouraged to do so by the ministries we partner with), but I never want to exploit the precious people we work with so that we can raise funds for them. Does that make any sense at all?
So I try to wait for the right words and the leading from the Spirit that says, “Share this. Post that.”
And waiting can be really hard to do in these Insta-days.
I mean, did I really got to Kenya if I don’t post a photo for you to comment upon?
Then there’s the time it takes to comb through countless photos to find the ones most likely to be “liked.” Because let’s face it: why share a photo if it won’t be shared?
That’s the culture we live in, right?
The one that measures our moments by how many people mark them with emojis.
I have four sisters. We keep Instagram and group text pretty active what with the sharing of some 12 children’s photos and achievements and videos (oh the videos!). The comments that follow each share are often as precious as the photos (or as funny). The problem is that when I share a photo and all I hear is crickets chirping, it bothers me. I mean, they commented on someone else’s photo just five minutes ago, right? Suddenly, their phones are ALL on silent? I think not.
Maybe I’m being too honest here, but I think it’s time we all get a bit more honest about our Pinterest-perfect lives and admit once and for all they don’t exist.
Because if we don’t, we are going to have to live in the slavery of comparing ourselves to others forever. Our worth will continue to be measured by what people think of our “best” moments, and we’ll have to keep the mundane moments private because they simply don’t merit emojis.
Y’all, we’ll be living big lies.
And striving to live up to standards set on Instagram.
And let me tell you this: no matter how many “likes” you get, that kind of life gets lonely.
What can be used for fellowship is used to show favoritism.
The joy of sharing a milestone becomes a bittersweet memory because no one mentioned it.
And, let’s just talk for one minute about the sheer number of photos we take so we get one that’s worthy. Does anyone else remember the days of flipping through a stack of freshly developed photos, separating them into piles of good and bad. How many times did you snatch one from a friend’s hand and say, “You can’t show that to anyone! It’s awful!”
But a few “bad” photos always slipped through because there was no alternative. We didn’t have do-overs. We documented life as it was, not as we wanted it to be.
Y’all, there is freedom in that, the freedom to be who we are not who we are expected to be.
And the ability to let others do the same.
One of my favorite things about being in Kenya is the fellowship I have with my friends there. We write each other on What’s App throughout the year, sharing photos and praying for each other, and often there are times when I would give anything to be right beside them to pray or talk. When I arrive in Kenya, the joy of being in the midst of them, of holding hands and praying or walking side by side as we talk, is almost indescribable. We have the opportunity to say the things that can’t be conveyed in 140 characters or less.
We get real. Like flesh and blood real.
Because virtual isn’t always reality.
God made us all for relationships. He created us to crave fellowship. He planted in us the desire to connect…and not with our smart phones.
Whether we realize it or not, we all want to go deeper than Facebook. We need more than status updates, y’all.
God knows it even if we don’t.
That’s why “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)
Jesus was love with skin on.
And we need to be the same.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
We have to do more than comment; we need to connect. We need to reach out and get real.
But how? I’ll be honest and say that I don’t always know. My post How to Form Real Life Relationships in a Virtual Reality World gives us a few tips on where to start, but the daily struggle of keeping things Insta-worthy or being real remains.
How do you develop deeper relationships in a social media surface society? I’d love to hear your suggestions because I need them, too! I’d also love to have you join us this week for Encouraging Word Wednesday! Please leave a link or two below and visit another blogger to connect with an encouraging comment. Thanks!