I recently read a blog called “Facebook is Making Us Miserable” that talked about the negative aspects of Facebook we sometimes don’t consider. In addition to Facebook being a time-waster (which we all didn’t need someone to tell us that!), it talks about how users’ tendency to post mostly-positive information can create jealousy, comparison and unhealthy competition among friends.
I am guilty of this positive-only posting. When I consider which picture to post on Facebook its usually the most flattering one that I choose. I’m an off-the-chart optimist and can’t stand complaining, so you’ll rarely hear anything negative from me, even if I’m currently struggling with something. I consider Facebook a fun, superficial place to interact with friends so I only occasionally post anything serious. Of course, I don’t think the solution is for us all to post mundane stuff (“just wiped my nose for the 3rd time today!”). Nor do I think it should be a venue to air all of our complaints and annoyances. Yes, Facebook is shallow. Public places are supposed to be shallow and filtered and Facebook is a public place. We don’t talk about our bowel movements with the cashier at Wal-Mart do we? The correct answer, hopefully, is no.
My life is not perfect. I assume everyone knows this but in light of aforementioned blog, I’d like to alleviate any confusion and clear up any misgivings anyone might have due to being my Facebook friend. Here are some things you should know:
We don’t have a ton of money. Tiff and I have all of our needs met but please understand we are a one-income family of five and I’m not a doctor or lawyer. Sometimes we wonder how we’re going to pay for stuff and pretty regularly we go into “lock-down” mode a few days before our next paycheck. We have nice things – a great house, good cars, etc. But many of the nicer things we have were acquired under special circumstances. For instance, the family car we currently drive is something we never could have afforded if our last one hadn’t gotten totaled by a guy with good insurance. God blesses us and takes care of us financially so we’re not going to go around posting about any negative financial situations. But please know that we, like everyone else, live on a tight budget and it can be stressful at times.
Our kids don’t always act right. We love our children and they’re really good kids. We make an effort to discipline them consistently while loving them unconditionally. However, our kids are like all kids and from time to time they have bad attitudes, misbehave and do immature things. When I post a picture of them on Facebook, they are smiling and happy, not angry and throwing things. That smiley, happy picture was posed. What you don’t see in that pic is me threatening them with their very lives if they don’t HURRY UP AND SMILE SO I CAN GET A FREAKIN PICTURE OF THEM WITH THEIR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER!
My marriage requires a lot of work. I love my wife so much it scares me. We do have a great marriage but I gotta say we work really hard at it. We decided years ago that we were going to “live to out-give” each other and that’s not always fun. Its very normal for me to not do something I want to do for the sake of peace in our marriage. I’ve given up possible job changes, don’t watch as much sports as I want to, don’t spend money on certain hobbies, etc. all in order to invest in “us” instead of just “me.” And she does the same – she works really hard to lay her life down for me as well. Sometimes it gets difficult and we have to hash out disagreements and issues that come up. So when you see that pic of us smiling or that gooey sweet post about being each other’s soul mate, realize that I don’t post about the times when we disagree on a money or parenting issue. Neither do I post a pic of me not doing housework cause I’m too self-absorbed to realize she feels overwhelmed. But those things do happen.
I don’t always feel confident. Just like you, I sometimes question the path I’m on. I wonder if I have what it takes to make it in this world and I question if I’m truly doing what God has called me to do. Sometimes I don’t feel fulfilled. Other times I’m confident. Sometimes I hear clearly from God. Other times I don’t. So if something I post on Facebook make you think “Wow, Jamie has is figured out” then please know that I don’t. And I know good and well that I never will. And that’s OK.
In light of all of this, you need to know that I’m not going to change how I post on Facebook. My pictures will be posed and will be as flattering as possible. The quotes from my kids will be cute and funny, not disrespectful and angry. I will post the cool revelation I might get during my prayer time, but I won’t post every time I don’t get anything from God. So in case you’re ever tempted to compare your life to mine or anyone else’s, please know that Facebook does not give you the whole picture and should not be used as a measuring stick as to whether or not you’re doing OK in life!
Happy superficial posting!