My go-to saying is "fake it till you make it."
The thing about faking it, is that we are SO good at doing it, we don't even realize that we do it anymore.
I hate to beat a dead horse with a stick, BUT this is something that's really been weighing on my mind lately. I log on to instagram every day to see some blogger or influencer talking about how "real" and "vulnerable they want to appear to their followers.
As they explain that "realness," their hair is just the right amount of messy, their makeup is just the right amount of smudged, the background of whatever photo they are taking is spotless, pristine, and white. Then they drone on and on about how they want to be real and how quirky they are behind the scenes.
And that's great if you like that kind of stuff! I love and fully support whatever face you want to show the world. That's totally your call.
But can we all just stop pretending that it's real.
If we were honest with ourselves, we all know that whatever that post was took at least 20 different shots and 15 different angles. After that, it probably went through a round of edits, and then a caption was written and re-written just to make sure the words sound okay, and are deep enough to make a statement, but shallow enough not to rock the boat.
Because being real, doesn't attract thousands of followers. Heck, being real barely attracts my own husband sometimes.
Jesus could only attract 12.
Real isnt pretty 90% of the time. The real you is the face that stares back at you the moment you roll out of bed. Morning breath, messy hair and all its glory. It's the time you have a to do list a mile long, but all that gets done is a tearful cry to your mom because you feel so overwhelmed. It's the screaming match you just had with your significant other because you're human and your feelings got hurt for the 100th time.
But what do us outsiders get to see?
A post with your perfect morning messy bun and coffee cup in hand, or a super organized photo of your laptop to do list and table all aesthetically laid out, or, my favorite, a photo of you and your S.O. from just 2 months before when everything was okay.
Truth is, I pretty much burnt the whole pan because I didn't have the correct size, but I was so moody that night for no other reason than wanting to be moody, and all I wanted was a pan of brownies. So did I share this ugly photo of the pan on my social media? Absolutely not? It's ugly, and unimpressive, but did I make sure to take an aesthetically pleasing one so I could "fake it" for this blog. Absolutely.
I'm not saying social media will ever change, and I don't think we will either. That's not what I'm asking. Sometimes life is beautiful and I think it's important we share beautiful things.
But I think it's even more important that we realize that we only ever see 10% of the real story.
Ask your friends how they are really doing, and don't forget to ask yourself that same question, because a 4x4 square will never tell the whole story.
A picture is worth 1000 words, but a person could tell you a million.
So the next time you think a person has "arrived," or "peaked," remember that each of us can only ever be human, and thank goodness because that's all we were ever created for.
But the Lord said, "Do not look on appearance... for the Lord sees not as we see. We look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
Your bad breath? He wants it.
Your weakest moments? He wants them.
Your biggest regret? He will take that too.
And we should look for that too. Look for each other when life isn't always beautiful or even shareworthy. It's easy to "fake it till ya make it," but finding true beauty in the real is much more worthwhile.
On a day to day average, I would say I spend probably 6 hours of the day staring at a screen. Whether it be my laptop, because duh web design is all online, or on my phone because social media is highly involved in what I do. Then of course, at the end of the day I’m checking my own social media, catching up on news, or watching Netflix. My eyes usually need a break.
And of course, while I’m consuming all this media, a girl has to have some background noise. Currently I’m loving my podcasts, If I’m not feeling podcasts, it’s whatever music I’m feeling that week. If I’m not listening to music, I’m usually taking a call from a client about their site or hopping on a video conference with my team.
Over-stimulated yet? Because I know I am.
Which leads me to my point, that sometimes, you’ve got to shut it all down.
Because of what I do all day, I try to make it a point to get some quiet time in. I try to read for an hour in the morning, but usually I take my dog out for a walk around the neighborhood with one rule.
No headphones, and cell phone must be on silent.
At the beginning, it killed me not to listen to anything while I walked. I didn’t like the quiet, but the longer I continue to work with media, the more I realize how much I need it.
We weren’t designed to be the multitaskers that we are. Yes, we can multitask, but that doesn’t mean we were supposed to.
I was listening to a Podcast from “The Real Life: with Jeff and Alyssa Bethke” and it talks about this obsession we have as a current culture with being efficient and productive. Jeff goes on to talk about how humans were not made to be this productive. Machines are productive. If you want get something done faster and more productive, you buy a product. Humans are messy, we make mistakes, and we are never going to be as efficient as the machines that we’ve created to help us become these mega multitaskers.
But still we try.
There’s a line in a Taylor Swift song that goes “I’ve never heard silence quite this loud,” meaning that we never know how much silence as to say, until we sit in it.
Silence seems to scare us because when it’s quiet we have to actually hear our own thoughts and emotions, and we might not like what we hear. We chose noise so that we can check ourselves out. That’s why we use our phones at the end of the day to see how everyone else is, rather than checking in on what's going on in the inside. It’s why we put music on in the background. No silence equals no self-realization.
So the point of these walks, is not to get caught up on another podcast or album. It’s not to see what all my friends are up to on social media. It’s not even for the purpose of getting a daily work out in.
It’s time for some silence.
I’ve started to realize that while media consumption does provide inspiration, it also just leads to system overload (see my last blog “The Grass is Never Greener” for more on that.)
We spend so much time absorbing all this extra noise that we never actually have any time to process it or do anything with it. It just clogs up space.
So by taking 20 or 30 minutes of my day to not consume any extra media than I already do, I give myself permission and the space to download.
This space gives me room to figure out what my next blog should be about. It give me time to reflect on how my prayers have been answered. It shows me areas in my life that need progress. The quiet, creates space that actually matters.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Exodus 14:14”
Being silent doesn’t mean being passive. It means reflection and self care. It means taking time for your brain to reset and refocus. The Lord will still be at work, if only you have the space for him to do so.
So the next time you find yourself in awkward silence, don’t let it be awkward.
Open a book, take a walk, and create some space.
What ways can you create some silence?
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.