Social media has changed our world for the good in that we now can connect with people from near and far. However, social media also tends to only show us carefully selected highlights from the lives of others, which may lead some to feel their lives aren't up to par, as they covet online images of luxurious vacations, picturesque families, unblemished girlfriends and their "real-life" town of Mayberry, complete with Opie, Barney and Aunt Bee.
Personally, I wondered for the longest time about how people on social media could take pictures of themselves sleeping soundly, cuddled in bed alongside their children. Since I travel so often in my career, I found myself sitting in my lonely hotel room and missing my own children, while feeling rather jealous of those photos on social media. I found myself biting my lip and feeling angry. But a friend and co-worker burst my bubble in short order! She laughed at me outright and informed me that most pictures like that are staged.
Not too long ago, our parents and grandparents could see their next-door neighbor's new car in the driveway, perhaps sparking some envy. Today, we not only see our neighbor's "new red Corvette"; we can also see the "red Corvettes" and enviable possessions of our so-called Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat friends and their friends throughout the world! Our own goals and dreams may be influenced as a result. And a spirit of discontentment creeps in.
King Solomon was known as the wisest man in the world. He was also the wealthiest man who lived during his time. Solomon looked at all he possessed and called it meaningless (Ecclesiastes). "A chasing after the wind," he said.
That is exactly what the daily grind can be like for us, if we aren't content. The grass is always going to look greener on the other side, and if we choose to desire the life of another, we will always come up short.
True contentment brings unspeakable joy in the midst of challenging seasons. Loving who you are and what you have accomplished each step of the way is rewarding to the soul. But most of all, contentment gives people the confidence to see the "red Corvettes" their friends own, but still be thankful for the "Toyota" in their own driveway. True contentment also gives us a genuine appreciation to celebrate when our friends do well and rejoice with them over their accomplishments, family celebrations and adventures.
This past week, I had the awesome pleasure of meeting Edna, a lively 99-year-old resident at The Bridge at Greeley, Colorado. Edna chose to get vaccinated and chose to get the booster shot. A week after receiving the booster, Edna contracted COVID-19.
As we talked, I asked Edna how she felt about contracting the virus after getting the vaccine. She giggled, "Honey, the only effects I had of the virus was having to stay in my apartment! You can choose to look at life and be sad and frustrated that you got the virus, or you can celebrate that you were vaccinated. I had the good fortune of receiving the booster and living through COVID-19."
This season is a beautiful season of gift buying and giving. My prayer is that you will realize that your life is a priceless gift. Wrap it carefully, share it freely and rest in the value it brings to all who are blessed to know and love you.
Remember: Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, has NOTHING on you!