Have you ever looked at someone and thought, "gah, they have it all together..."? I sure have. It's very easy to do when we scroll Facebook or only see someone casually at church. I watched a television show tonight about a woman who had lost 156 pounds. She exercised, changed her diet and maintained a high level of accountability with her trainers. After she lost the weight the show rewarded her with skin removal surgery. The whole one hour show was very inspiring, which spanned 365 days of this woman's weight loss journey, however, at the end of the interview the woman shared some interesting thoughts. She said, "lots of people are saying how great I look and they feel inspired, but it was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm in therapy to help me change the way I think about food and my family has been rocked to the core with all the changes." It felt like there was more that the woman chose not to disclose in the interview because she seemed so burden, heavy laden and not joyful as I would have expected. She seemed to have experienced a deep, memorable pain as a result of her goals and dreams. It's easy to see someone walk across a stage at graduation or get a new job or lose weight and think they are lucky or have it all together, but what you haven't seen are the late nights studying, the endless job applications or the day to day sacrifices to lose the weight. It takes time, effort and dedication to achieve these things. One of my favorite quotes is by Theodore Roosevelt and says, "comparison is the thief of joy."
One of my favorite preachers, Steven Furtick, says, "the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "God doesn't look at things like humans do. People judge by what's on the outside, but God looks at the heart." In the Christan Barnett translation it says don't look at someone else's Facebook feed for what their life is like, call them up, have a conversation- that's what God does! Only through relationship can we understand one another's journey and glean from it and that's not done through social media, but through quality time with one another.
I'm challenged by my own thoughts to engage in real relationship. Skip the chit chat next time and I dare you to ask some real questions of your friend, roommate or spouse. Engage them, get to know them. Ask someone what they thought of a recent book they read or what God is teaching them in this season. For it's through relationship with others that we are changed and, in turn, can point others to Christ.