Posted by heart, soul & strength
A few weeks ago in anticipation of my 20th wedding anniversary I created this collage and made it my Facebook cover photo. I showed it to my 14-year-old “niece” last week who awwwwwed and then looked up and simply said, “goals.” I know that in today’s vernacular, people (i.e. kids these days 🙂 ) use that word to refer to something they admire and aspire to. For the last week, the best response I can come up with for my niece is: “same.” (Older folks may be more familiar with the word “ditto.”) In a world where social media seems to be part of the fiber of our being, it’s easy to find plenty of “goals” that we compare ourselves to. Instead of admiring others and celebrating with them, we focus on ourselves and what we think we think we are lacking, which results in feeling like we will never measure up. No one said it better than Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
The thing is, most of the time we’re only posting goal-worthy statuses, photos, and experiences. And that’s okay. Life is full of ups and downs, and social media isn’t necessarily the place to put the downs. With all that’s in me I want my marriage to be an example to my kids and my friends’ kids. But more importantly, I want them to know that the photos above are just exactly what my niece called them: “goals.” This is why we can’t allow the threat of hypocrisy to keep us from acknowledging the days when we have made great steps towards our goals. It’s important to celebrate and share our blessings; it’s also important to know that those are just a part of life.
What you see in this collage is everything from a sorority dessert party in college—faces of two young, dumb kids full of dreams and hopes for the future—to this year’s Easter photo—faces of two not-so-young people full of anticipation of worship and celebrating with friends. What you don’t see is the other part that happens along the way: the struggling to make ends meet, the disagreements, the tears, the apologies, the sacrifices, the getting annoyed at stupid little things, the illnesses, the crises, and all of the other stuff that comes with spending part of nearly every day with someone for 20 years. But the downs are what make the ups all the sweeter. We can post about the happy times because we have worked hard and earned them.
The Lord addressed this very thing long before social media. We sometimes forget that Scripture is given to us to help us, not just to give us rules. The last of The Ten Commandments can be quite a struggle for us these days: “You must not covet….” Merriam-Webster defines “covet” as “to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another.” The Life Application Bible explains that “coveting includes envy—resenting the fact that others have what you don’t.” A great way to avoid this is to remember that when we post the ups and we see other people’s ups, those are probably goals for the person posting as much as for the person following. So, instead of comparing ourselves to other people, let’s be the first to celebrate each others’ ups and renew our own goals, knowing that the person posting is probably doing the same.
P.S. If you really want to see goals, my husband’s grandparents celebrate their 65th anniversary the day before our 20th.