I haven’t been writing like I want to, and I’ve been battling sickness that has lingered around me and mine for what feels like too long. These days the weight of colds and bugs and viruses and the flu just sits heavy. I do not like it.
The other kind of sickness that sits heavy on me these days: comparison. Awful, terrible weight to carry around. Makes me chest ache and my stomach twist and my head swarm.
A truth that I’d like to make real to myself this year: the internet is by and large, a liar.
I know this for many reasons. One of these reasons is that I spent many years addicted to the Internet (gaming and pornography and the illusion of relationships through social media) and what it had to offer. Distraction. Escape. “Fun.” Then it turned on me. Brought hopelessness, disgust, fear, longing, rejection.
The one tool I thought I controlled, OWNED me.
Jesus rescued me out of that suffocating, lonely, lying place and snapped me back into the real. Firmly opened up my eyes to what I could see and hear and feel and taste and touch. Gave me hope that I could become real again too. Not just a body whose soul occupied a pixelated wasteland. Dying slowly under the crushing weight of trying to make fantasy my reality. But instead, a human being, connecting to other human beings that could look at me in the eye. That could hug me. These voices I can not only hear but feel.
Today, I realized a new internet death that I could start dying of if I’m not careful. If I’m not very, very careful, I might start to believe you on the Internet is all there is to you.
That your pictures and #hashtags and blow-by-blow status updates somehow equate to your heartaches and your fears and your daily worries. That your talent showcased in beautiful, picturesque ways somehow sums up every minute of your day.
I might lie to myself and start to believe that your kid didn’t scream at you over yogurt this morning because surely that would have made your starter “look at my life” post for the day.
And that ugly beast in me…that sarcastic, miserable, downright hateful/hateself creature that Jesus crushed in me…she starts to whisper. To #suggest. To #compare. To #teardown. To #defend. To #lie. She wants to be in control. She wants me to believe that the little pieces of you…of me…that we hand out…on the Internet, at church, at the grocery store. That those pieces are all we amount to. For good or bad.
Right now, I’m stomping all over that beast screaming. I will not be slave to her anymore. The Internet does not define me. Facebook does not define me. My ability to take awesome (or blurred/murky/grainy) pictures does not define me.
He defines me. These days, He is who I look to for my hope. For my security. To know that I am who He made me. To know I am His servant. To know that I don’t have to be her anymore. That broken, shallow mess of a monster.
I’m not her. I am a child of God loved and graced and held captive by the most beautiful Father of all. Romanced by a Love that is not confined to megapixels but is exploded in sunsets and starts and galaxies beyond measure. Taught by an Author who never shies away from the good….or the bad…..or the downright awful. Redeemed because of faith in the life and blood and brutalized flesh of the One who walked a perfect path to die my death and rob hell of my eternity.
Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have been able to turn my heart from your life’s small showings believing them to somehow be a standard to hold myself against.
Today, I can see it. And know it for what it is.
A small picture. A tiny window. A bit of momentary, discretionary perspective.
It does not define you. It cannot.
Only Jesus can define us. As #His. Or #notHis.
Doesn’t get better than His #thesedays.