l o v e . l i v e . t r a v e l. e a t. p r a i s e.
You think you’re doing okay. You’re pretty happy most of the time. You hang out with your friends and while you’re with them, laughing uncontrollably at the latest reality TV show which you just cannot believe actually exists, your world is okay. You are not alone, because you are with people. But then comes the time when you have to drive home, alone. Either to your own place where only a hungry pet and a pile of mess you keep ignoring awaits, or home to your parents who want to know every single detail of where you have been and who you’ve been with, despite the fact that you’ve been a mature adult for quite a few years now. But you’ll be okay. You hop into bed, but before you think about sleep, you want to spend some time with the most important thing in your life—your smart phone. Maybe a delayed reply to a text, a sneaky peak at what’s going on in your Instgram feed, and then of course the nightly Facebook scroll.
As your finger touches the screen and opens the app you realise you hate Facebook, but you continue to waste hours on it anyway. What’s new in your surrounding world? Another one of your single friends is now declaring ‘In a relationship’. Slap. You should be happy, and you are. But at the same time you wonder if for you that will EVER change. 122 likes. Your status got 7 likes and one of them was your mum. No one cares. You continue to scroll through. One of your best friends has updated her cover photo. It’s the really cute one from her wedding surrounded by her beautiful bridesmaids. You weren’t one of them. Slap. It was a good day though, and you are genuinely happy for them. Keep scrolling. Oh yes an engagement party status from a friend, someone you were really quite close with once. Not invited to said engagement party apparently. Slap. An Instagram picture pops up. Ooo it’s that guy you really liked who has recently broken up with his girlfriend. Never mind, he’s with a new girl already. The only spark of hope you had left, diminished. Double slap. Scrolling again. A friend has posted a new status—feeling blessed—about how she just couldn’t imagine life without her amazing, gorgeous, loving, kind, thoughtful husband. When you and her were both single you’d spend hours listening to each other’s struggles with singleness in a couple’s world and promising to always be there for each other. You never hear from her anymore. A new story has popped up in the newsfeed. A friend has had a baby, a little girl. She is tiny and completely gorgeous! You want to hold her, and wish with all your heart that you were just a little closer to being able to be a mother and having your own little family.
You decide to stop scrolling, as you just can’t handle the feeling that there is not that one person out there thinking about you; excited to come home to you after work; planning a surprise for you just because; unable to wait to embrace you and tell you that they love you, like it seems every other normal person in your world has. This is your reality and you must live it, no matter how much you try and throw yourself into the romance of Downton Abbey or hide in the alternate reality provided by the Hunger Games. This is all happening around you. Everyone’s lives are changing dramatically, while yours seemingly stays the same. You are still single, still alone and no closer to living the life you were convinced God had planned for you to live. You start to think that if you had that one thing you are missing; your life would be complete. But did you ever stop to think it might not be about what you are missing and more about what you have?
Maybe you have allowed destructive things into your life. Maybe you have jealousy, or selfish ambition, or bitterness, or self-hatred. Maybe you’ve allowed the enemy’s voice to speak into your life more than God’s. This is neither a lecture nor a criticism. It’s an invitation to stop and think about why these things are constantly there, eating away at you. It’s just a thought, and is something I know I need to be aware of more than anyone. Unfortunately it’s all too easy to focus on self. It’s all about what we don’t have and what we think we need to make us happy. Social media plays a massive role in this and consequently encourages us to compare ourselves to everyone else. Everything we do starts to become a competition, because the more exciting things we can show people that we are doing, the more we look like we are succeeding at life. So in this crazy busy world where we must document everything we do and who we are with at all times, it is easy to let the enemy use that stuff to make us feel like we’re not good enough; cool enough; skinny enough; pretty enough; hipster enough; smart enough; or the big one, loved enough.
I think Paul sums it up beautifully in Galatians 6:4; “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (MSG) We have each been put on this earth with a very specific purpose in mind. Our job is to listen to God’s voice—not the enemy’s voice or the voices in our head while we’re looking through our Facebook feed—in order to fulfill that purpose and live as who he created us to be. It’s time to put our energy into being the best we can be without comparing where our lives are at to others, and without feeling bitter or jealous because thing are happening to our friends which aren’t happening to us. God can take away all that gunk we let slip into our lives, if we’re willing to let it go. It’s only once we do that we can fully experience the happy and meaningful life God wants for us, whether or not it is how we planned it.