Have you ever felt a need to just stay hidden for a while? To wake up and just dawn the old sweatpants and cozy sweater? To not worry about the messy, unwashed hair and makeup free face? To just hide out in your home being YOU?
It’s pretty funny actually, when I think about it. Because around my family, I can do this with no second thought. I can be me. They see the uncovered zits and yesterdays smeared make-up remains. They see the bed head (and let me tell you, my bed head beats ANYONE’S!!) They smell my morning breath in all it’s glory and I don’t care one little bit.
Think about it: here I am, among the most important people who mean more to me than any king, president or celebrity on earth, yet I don’t care AT ALL about trying to put on a show, or to act a certain way.
Because they know me. And they still love me.
Yet the amazon delivery truck pulls up and I FREAK OUT.
Really I do, it’s hilarious.
I run frantically upstairs put some real clothes on, brush my teeth, wash the remains of breakfast of my face and I still feel self conscious answering the door. Why is this?!? Because I can honestly tell you that in reality, I don’t deeply care for the delivery man or woman. I don’t have a special connection with the person who delivers my homeschool books. I don’t know anything about them. They’re not the paparazzi coming to plaster my face over the front of tabloids across the world. They aren’t famous reporters that will humiliate me in their next piece in the New York Times.
They’re strangers, just doing their jobs… but for some odd reason I have just tried to impress them.
I see a unexpected vehicle pulling up in the driveway, and what do I do? I grab six pairs of dirty socks thrown about the living room and put them in the laundry bin. I dash to grab a wet rag to wipe the dirty counters. I quickly try to shove dishes in the dishwasher, hoping that somehow, in someway, I may look more put together, more presentable than I really actually am.
And on social media, I tell the stories that make me and my kids look just so perfect, so put together. Our selfies hash-tagged #happy and #perfect, really are shot at just the right angle, with just the right filter on the one day a month that our skin has that natural clear glow and the flaws are minimal. And no wonder our friendships online are as deep as a kiddie pool… yet we spend more time in a day pouring into them than we do in an entire week with a friend face to face. And we ask ourselves, with heavy hearts, why we feel so disconnected with the world. Why so out of touch? Why do we feel alone in our struggles, when a quick post on Facebook will get me dozens of “likes”?
You want to know why?
Because when you turn off the Facebook account, and only about a dozen of the five hundred friends still care to talk to you, you realize that “community” on Facebook isn’t community at all. Ninety five percent of those friends don’t notice your absence, because the space that once had your witty posts, will now be filled with another’s cute new baby pictures.
Online presence isn’t real presence.
Our “likes” don’t actually matter. Our posts are forgotten in the time it takes for a person to scroll down the page.
And there’s something chillingly cold about liking a post about a the need to end world hunger and then two seconds later, laughing at a meme about a cute puppy.
The contrasts of serious and comedy put together on one page should completely shake us to the core, but we think nothing of it and barely bat an eye – unknowingly hardening our hearts to the news in the world that should be breaking them.
What generation before us has become so self absorbed? Which people group has become so uncaring and lazy that we can end a friendship or relationship over a two sentence text and think that’s acceptable or even normal? Who has lived before us who would tear down a friend in a single social media post and get hundreds of “amens” in the comments.
Sometimes it takes a break from the fiction in life, to grasp reality. And the reality is, that the people I should be doing my best for are right here in front of me. My house should be clean, for them. My face should be prettied up, for him. Not because I need to be someone else for the people I love, but because I want to be my best for them.
So, assuming you noticed that I left Facebook and Instagram, this is why. I’m choosing to pour into real friendships. I’m spending my time with people in person. Maybe it’s a temporary thing. Maybe lifelong. But one thing I know is that I don’t want to live for the “likes” of strangers, I want to live to love true friends. Friends who care to know the real me, the messy me: The one who makes dumb mistakes and has the most awkward and embarrassing moments. The one who hates wiping counters, and folding laundry, but who loves hosting and baking for guests. The one who sincerely cares about those around her and would give anything to someone in need, but who often forgets to look for them. The one who loves Jesus and imperfectly follows him with all the zeal her selfish heart can conjure up.
That’s the real Heather. And Facebook knows nothing about her.