Have you ever had an emotional meltdown? Times when circumstances of life left you at your weakest?
Truth is: I think, we've all experienced times when life turned into a messy puddle of disappointment and uncertainty. When things don't go as planned life seems far from the American dream Social-Media presents,
During my many years as a Conference Speaker, I've heard people express how "other people" have "perfect little lives" while their own lives seem like watered down messes. It's an honor to speak into these personal struggles because, the truth is....
We've all experienced emotional meltdowns as we size our life against 'other people.'
It's good to be real because realness invites others to do the same.
That's why I thought it was high-time someone addressed the issue of comparison traps in hopes that our very real meltdowns can become a catalyst to our greatest breakthrough's.
Breakthrough: Bad days where, with God's help, we muster the strength to actually go out with friends - posting simple joys experienced, after the fact. This doesn't mean the stars in our lives have finally aligned so we can go have fun. This is not being fake either. This is being faithful to the breath left in our lungs and the people who love us enough to invite our sacred pain into themselves. People with whom you can say, be, do anything and everything all wrong and they will love you - harder. People who will snap a moment of gut-bellying laughter, post it and share it, saying: What a wonderful day we had!
A fake life pretends all is well - all the time. A faithful life embraces the whole of their journey but recognizes the need to try with all one's might to lay down the pain and heartache for a 'here and now' moment of joy. Because, it takes a lot of strength to carry the heart breaking loads within us; we need private and social times of respites like this.
Perhaps you remember a time in your life-when after scrolling social-media you felt an emotional meltdown coming on.
Measuring our own lives against 'what seems to be' always leaves us coming up short.
Let's be honest, seeing glimpses of cellulite-free, tanned little bodies with perfectly polished toes pressing hard into white beach sand is hard to view after spending the day pressing the toilet brush hard against toilet edges splattered with kid-vomit. Measuring your life against your friends on the beaches of Hawaii will surely send you into a meltdown.
Suddenly, your life forecast is: Partly cloudy- with a chance of sunshine.
Everyone else's forecast: 100% clear blue skies with balmy breezes and NO humidity.
If only we knew THE REST OF THE STORIES behind each social media post!
If only we could see behind-the-scenes and into each real-life struggle.
A dear friend posted beautiful pictures on Facebook, recently. Simply looking at their photos One would never realize the deep grief this family is currently experiencing - their precious son gone-too soon. The added grief of seeing their daughter-in-law and grandchildren living life without husband, or father, furthers unbearable grief.
Another friend recently posted fun-filled pictures of her mountain vacation. The post read: How good God has been to our family! Now, keep in mind - only those who know of her husbands tragic death, how she was suddenly left a widow to raise six children, all alone, can truly appreciate this post. What I've come to realize and appreciate is public testimonies, like this, speaking of God's goodness even in pain and grief and struggle. Others might scratch their heads in wonder and confusion, questioning: Why are you pretending to be happy when your life has clearly been reduced by sadness?
Hang with me...
This week, my husband and I celebrated our 37th Anniversary. I, too, posted several happy photos. And, in my search for the perfect pictures discovered a silly video of the two of us singing to the top of our lungs. Replaying it, lifted my spirits and as I lingered over our smiles, love, and laughter, I couldn't help thinking how those scrolling my social pages wouldn't understand the watery meltdown's we've pressed through to get to our break through's. So, if some think that's being fake...well...that'll just have to be. But, for me, it's good to look back to enjoy glimpses of yesterdays joy to cling to good memories during current hard times. It helps to remember where we've been and that break through is coming if we will keep breathing, keep moving, and keep on celebrating all the bit of goodness we can scrounge up - no matter what!
This is our best testimony!
This is powerful breakthrough in process!
When I see my family members post smiling pictures on social-media, I smile, too. Knowing the meltdowns of their lives it brings me joy to view their momentary celebrations of life. To catch a tiny glimpse of their ability to lay heartache aside for a joyful 'here and now' moment. Well...it's everything to me! But, because you don't know their back-story, you might be tempted to compare what seems like a "perfect life" to yours and find yourself melting down at night, alone. Perhaps you've written stories as you clicked through photo's. Stories of how easy their lives are compared to yours. When in reality they are grieving the loss of precious children every. single. day. So, that's why I love their posts of big fish caught in the deep blue waters of Florida and beautiful flowers sent by the loves of their lives for anniversary celebrations. I know what others fail to see: These pictures speak of a holy God (the greatest comforter of all time) breaking through the sadness. Offering strength to embrace a day of fun. A "here and now" joy - rescue from near-drowning puddles of daily sorrow.
The truth is: God cares about your temptation to meltdown over someone's 'IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE' story on social-media. And, He sees you melting down in sadness, jealously, anger, frustration, asking: Why can't I have a life like that?
Our most powerful breakthrough will be: when we embrace the life we've been given. Because, to have 'her life' would mean having 'her circumstances.'
The whole world is doing their social-media best to experience 'break through.'
As we come to God in every meltdown, He can reveal how He was there all the time - preparing us for breakthrough!
Lord, teach us new ways of seeing others. Give us wisdom that goes beyond external things. Help us to see our own lives from Your perspective - knowing when all seems wrong that's when You do your best work. Thank you, for loving us and for helping us breakthrough personal struggles of deep insecurities driving us to comparison. Help us to be confident in all you've provided to enjoy the joys of others.
Don't look at your struggles as a 'less than life" because these are the moments when we stretch the most, grow the most and learn the most. This is breakthrough!
"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." _2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV