Look around and Love

A few days ago I realized that my mini journal (aka Instagram) had been rather neglected as of late. For me, four weeks is kind of a long time since I love to document life and look back on what we’ve been doing but I just haven’t had anything personal that I’ve wanted to share. Working all day and coming home to school that needs to be studied, laundry that needs to be folded, dinner that needs to be cooked, a budget that needs to be balanced, a workout that needs to be completed… and all the other “do’s” of life are boring and frankly, not that exciting to post about. But that’s real life. Like I found out {again} this week – sometimes real life is a whole lot harder than simply being dull. But there is still beauty to be found through clinging to Christ. So why don’t people share the real life stuff very often? I’ve thought it before and I’ll think it again, social media is deceiving. When people do share real life it is hard to “like” it. They put themselves out there in their raw form and it is uncomfortable. Instead we often just want to share the fun things and the things that make us look good. We are a people of self-marketing. We are all about putting ourselves out there and hoping other people like it. I fall into this trap more often than not. Either hoping people like me or wishing I could be like someone else. But that’s because it is hard to not scroll through people’s posts and start my mental wish list. (“I wish I could just sit in a coffee shop all day working on my business like he does…” “I wish I could afford makeup like that…” “I wish I had hair like hers…” “I want that camera…” “It will be so nice to have a dog someday…”). The list goes on and on and on and I get more and more discontent the longer I scroll.

The fact of the matter is, living out everyday life and being faithful, content and full of joy is far more difficult than posting about a wonderful honeymoon. But it can also be more beautiful to see that kind of faith in hard situations. Admitting I have struggles and failures and weekly breakdowns is harder than taking a picture of a delicious meal I made and getting kudos from friends. Talking about unanswered prayer or brokenness is way more challenging than saying “I’m good” when a friend asks how you are doing. But being vulnerable is where love starts. Loving someone despite their shortcomings is what Jesus did for us in a huge way and being willing to be loved means being open and real also. Something I have been learning lately is that taking time to invest in people is so much more enjoyable than double tapping a photo. Phone calls have been so refreshing and chatting with a friend over muffins or while doing laundry has led to such encouraging conversations these last few weeks. I’m still going to use Instagram for posting mini Journal entries to look back and remember, but I want my focus to be deeper. I want to learn to love – even when it is an unlovely situation and I want to be loved – not because I’m perfect (I’m far from it), but because there is grace and forgiveness in friendship and true love.

I was feeling overwhelmed by the sadness in life and the evilness in the world on Monday. I know God wins in the end. I know He will come back and claim His children as His own and punish sin once and for all. But sometimes it just seems so dark down here, so heartbreaking and ugly. Xavier sent me a text from campus this week that really made me stop feeling beat up by circumstances and helped me cling to hope.

“There is sadness and depravity in life. But we have an opportunity now to show that the light of Christ is more joyous than the gloom of the dark.” – X.B.

How are we supposed to help each other see that joyous light in the midst of the dark if we are not being a part of one another’s lives? How are we to encourage people when we don’t look up from our phones long enough to actually see into people’s eyes? When I invest in others and embrace the joy of Christ, my self-pity and empty desires seem so much less enticing. My despair turns into hope and gloom lifts from my heart. I don’t challenge myself to take action often enough, but I want to start. Let’s embrace the opportunity we have to shine with the light of Christ! To show that it is more glorious that the gloom of the dark and to love those who are hurting and desperate around us. No one is fighting an easy battle, let’s fight together for the hope we have in Christ.

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