Sunday

Lying on Facebook



A startling study made waves earlier this year. Based on data collected from over 1,000 regular users of popular social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the study revealed that regular social media usage makes people feel bad.

Participants took a survey that measured their life satisfaction levels before and after accessing social media. Across the board, almost all participants indicated a decreased level of satisfaction after scrolling through Facebook and Twitter posts. Many participants also reported feeling increased levels of negative emotions like jealousy and envy.


I wasn't surprised.

How many times have we clicked on someone's Facebook post to see photos of their gorgeous new hairstyle, tiny feet dabbling in the surf off Cancun, and slimmer, trimmer swimsuit body?

How often have we sighed with jealousy at the pictures of a dozen long-stemmed roses that someone's thoughtful husband surprised them with on the 23rd-year-fourth-month-three-week-two-day anniversary? Gag.


And how about the magazine-cover-worthy family photos where everyone's smiling, even the dog? Has that ever happened at your house? Certainly never when a camera was around.

Well, I know what the problem with Facebook is.

We all lie.



 

We post the photos of the amazingly healthy Mediterranean Couscous with Twelve Veggie main dish recipe we served our family (you can bet Dad was out of town that day).




Instead of the chopped, formed, fried, died, and laid aside version of dinner that happens more evenings than we'd care to admit.



 


We post gorgeous pictures of the view from our once-a-year vacation spot.




 

Instead of the view we see every day.










We download a snapshot of the one day this month we actually ate a healthy lunch.
 


Instead of the grab-and-go version we often eat after stopping at the grocery store, dry cleaners, and pharmacy.



We don't intentionally lie, at least most of us; we just instinctively know that the out-of-the-ordinary is much more interesting than our day-to-day lives.

And be honest, which are  we more likely to comment on--the post bemoaning how all five kids have come down with the stomach flu or the one that captures that newborn baby smile in all its sweetness and light?

Facebook is a wonderful tool for networking, sharing life, and connecting, but to keep it in it's proper perspective, we should remember a few time-honored principles.

First, when we sign on, we should be willing to, as the apostle Paul said, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn."

See a picture of Suzi's brand new BMW? Rejoice that every good and perfect gift comes from above, and that the same God who allowed Suzi to have a BMW loves and provides for you and me. He may not send us a BMW, but his gifts to us should cause us to overflow with gratitude no matter what's sitting in our driveway.

Read a post about someone's recent hospitalization or dying grandmother? We can take a moment to pray for them, post a comforting Scripture verse in the Comment box, or send a real-live-sent-through-the-mail card, mourning with those who mourn.

When my sister-in-law died while we were on a mission trip in Mexico three years ago, the overwhelming number of kind words and sweet prayers ministered peace and grace to our sad souls. Three thousand miles away, we were comforted through Facebook.

Are you scrolling through 127 pictures of Kitty's trip to Europe? Or Pat's kitchen remodel? Or Betty's recently graduated and married (in that order) daughter? Resolve to say with Paul, "I have learned in whatever state I am in (even South Carolina) to be content" (Phil. 4:11). Remember that God has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:4). This means that wherever we are, God is there, and that makes it a good place.


"Be content with what you have," Scripture encourages us, and Paul, who must have been divinely inspired with 21st century social media in mind, brings the point home: "With food and clothing (even if it's not Ruth Chris' steak or Sak's Fifth Avenue), be content."

Remember, while we're grumbling because we're not sharing the 6-course dinner at the Capital City Club in Janey's picture, someone else is probably posting pictures of orphaned children in Haiti eating from a garbage heap.


Do I think we should stop posting wonderful, beautiful, once-in-a-lifetime vacation or splurge pictures? Absolutely not. Should we post only pictures of the cakes that fall instead of the ones that turn out right for the first time ever? No way! What about the photos of our family, together oh-too-infrequently, and not always smiling, but smiling today? Post 'em!

The same good God who puts gifts into my life opens his bountiful hand and blesses you with every good and perfect gift, too. Sometimes his gifts come in the form of a week's vacation at the beach, and other times they come disguised as another day to breathe God's air or another opportunity to trust him when we don't see the answer.

The key, I believe, is thankfulness. If I rejoice with those who rejoice on Facebook, then I, too, am blessed, because I get to share in their joy. And that will increase my life satisfaction.

Wonder if they'll ever do a study on that?

What about you? How do you think Facebook affects you? How do you process what you see and read? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. I love to hear from  you.









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20 comments:

  1. I concur with the Facebook research - and decided to just be careful not to spend too much time on either SM platform. Great post, great accompanying thoughts.

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    1. I, too, choose to limit my time, Dawn. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I am guilty for the fact that i get bothered when a sister comments or likes EVERY photo of children of another sister, but when I post pics of my kids they get nothing from her. I constantly wonder why I even bother worrying about it...but it does bug me. I need to learn just to ignore it and just be thankful my children are happy, healthy and loved by God!

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    1. Amen, and well said -- focusing on how much we have to be thankful helps me, too, keep all the aspects in their proper perspective. It is hurtful, though, to deal with the inconsistencies we sometimes experience. Maybe look for opportunities to love on your sister? Unconditional love is awfully hard to resist :)

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  3. Wow...God sure knows what you need when you need it....May I share some of this with a group of friends? One of them is having a very hard time right now as she is trying to get pregnant and the Drs. are telling them that it may not be possible...and she just posted that those of her friends that have babies she is going to hide their posts...and I not saying that I can use this myself at times lol..thanks so much for sharing this...

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    1. Absolutely! May the Lord use it to comfort and encourage your friend. Praying for you now.

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    2. I too am having trouble having a take home baby. I left FB completely since April 2013...it's been real hard at times, but now I use my time more wisely.

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  4. I'd never thought about facebook in that light, but that's a very good point! Thanks for sharing the insight.

    I saw your post on the "Make Your Home Sing" Monday Link-Up!

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  5. Maybe I'm behind the times (or live outside the box or something), but I enjoy Facebook! I love seeing what my FB friends are doing, how they are celebrating and what wonderful food they (sometimes) eat! I read the posts when people are asking for prayer...and then I pray! I share what's going on in my life as well. I try to encourage, not elicit envy. I have also found, that during an extremely difficult time in my life a few years ago, that seeing what others were doing helped me make it through and keep me going. I do think it is a heart matter as you suggested above. We should rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. That way, we are connecting, sharing and living out our faith as the Body of Christ.

    Blessings to you! Joan

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    1. Good thoughts, Joan. I think, like everything else, we can use it for good or for evil. Having a biblical perspective on it certainly helps. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  6. Love this post! I must write a different type of status than most people because mine are about my toddler eating deodorant and chewing on my lipstick. Not vacations or flowers from my husband.

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    1. HA! Thanks for making me smile today, Nikki. I love those posts!

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  7. Stopping in from Titus Tuesday. Love your post - it is sad that people lie on social media. I don't really understand it. I asked my adult daughter about this once a few years about this because of something she had on her page...she said, "Mom, everyone does it, you have to." Let's just say it was not a good situation in our family for a bit after that statement.

    I'm guessing I shocked a few people when I posted about the big roach problem we were having in our home and needing some grace, ha ha. How's that for keeping it real?

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    1. Yup, Kim, I think you are the delightful exception to the "posers" on Facebook. I bet half the people on your friend list were cheering for you in the Cockroach Wars :)

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  8. Excellent post! I found you through the Wedded Wednesday link up! I deleted my personal facebook account two years ago simply because it fueled discontent and my nature to please people. Not to mention I was way more "friends" than I do in real life... neither my husband or i have it and we were just talking last night about how much we enjoy being "Facebook Free" -- great words! Thanks!

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  9. Such a great post, Lori! I have to admit that I am guilty on occasion of posting the donut dinner that I had, lol! But sometimes I do mention the fajitas too, hahaha. I love how you remind us to post God's blessings.

    I don't seem to find myself getting jealous of people's fb posts but I can see how people easily could be. Maybe I just have the "wrong" facebook friends and need friends that are buying and doing more stuff, lol!

    My friend's posts are more posts of the trees in the yard from the last storm or their daughter's arm cast or their own visits to the ER. But lots of good reasons to pray and I do! ;) Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

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  10. I'm so glad I found your post. I've been working like crazy to try and get my new craft business off the ground using social media. Hours a day! I've been feeling really out of sorts and now I can put a finger on why! THANK YOU! What a relief! Just because my business isn't as great as everyone else's yet doesn't mean it's bad!

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  11. This is a hilarious post and a hilarious picture. What kind of dog is that at the top, do you know?

    All of my meals are perfect, btw. Just look at my Facebook page. hahahahaha (actually I don't post any because they're not really so good). ;)

    I saw you linked to the No Rules Weekend Party and came to wave hello.

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    1. Hi Rosey, I'm with you on the meal thing! The dog in the picture looks, to me, like a Doberman without the ear crop.

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  12. This is a great post! FB is a sea of pride in which we all love to swim! From puffing ourselves up to getting hurt. All of us have our Achilles heal too. Mine are the posts of the endless doting husband. I have a good man but he's painfully lacking in the "you are my world" area. People post what is important to them and it is a kind thing to acknowledge that once in a while, unless of course, you totally disagree with something. That's just plain lying. FB is a great barometer for self examination. If we claim to be Christian, are we putting someone else above our own needs or is it all about US. Much food for thought!

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