Monthly Archives: January 2014

Facebook is like an Eating Disorder

Scrolling over statuses, uploaded photos, and all sorts of postings I process and think about the world of Facebook. I’ve recently been acutely aware of my motivations of what I post on Facebook. And deep in my soul I’ve been wrestling with the idea that Facebook portrays the life people wish they had. And even more than that, the life they hope others will think they have.

For years I made sure my family members got my “permission” before posting any pictures of me online. I was terrified of having a less than attractive picture plastered all over the internet. Just the opposite was true when I did something exciting or interesting my immediate reaction was to post it on Facebook. I was very conscious of what I was posting. Why? Why did those things matter so much?

Last night it hit me. Facebook is like an eating disorder. For several years I have struggled with a form of disordered eating and it’s taken me years to be able to understand it. I’ve learned there are thousands of women who struggle with some form of an eating disorder and each is unique. There are many more forms than just the “stereotypical” anorexia and bulimia. Mine presents itself whenever I’m placed in a situation where I have to make some sort of choice about eating around people who’s opinion I highly value. I have this idea in my head that there is this “better” version of myself who would always make the healthiest choices. So I panic when I am faced with the choice of eating what I want to, or what I think others would view as acceptable. There’s more to it, but in it’s simplest form and how I beat know how to explain the cause, that’s my eating issue.

And I’ve realized that is how many of us are with Facebook. We want the world to see our lives and think….”Wow! She lives an amazing life.” Or “She has it all together.” Or “Does she ever have a bad hair day??”

But I would suggest that deep down we all have a different longing. I believe we desire to be known, completely for who we are, all the ugly, and in that knowing, be fully loved. Isn’t that what we would desire of all our relationships? However, I’ve come to experience that humans disappoint. None of us are perfect at loving, no matter how hard we try. (Thank goodness for grace!) But Jesus….He’s different. He has known me all my life…everything I’ve thought, said, and done. He has known the me before I’ve come this far. The selfish ten year old, the mean and sarcastic middle schooler, the desperately self conscious and self righteous high schooler. All of me; He has known it. And yet….He loves me and He believes I am worth the price of His Son’s life. And so to experience the perfect love of Christ is deeply satisfying. And praise God He changes us and loves others through us. But I will depend and put my trust in the One who loves me perfectly.

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

Sitting in the Dark

The other day I went to a meeting at work. I’ve learned over the years in teaching, you never come away from a meeting without personally feeling like you’ve killed at least one tree. I always come away with a stack. When I started teaching I used to always feel the need to come to a meeting with something….so I usually came with a pen and pad of paper. After years of leaving with my paper completely blank and an additional stack of papers received at the meeting, I made a change and began to come to meetings with a pencil….and myself.

Just recently I showed up at a meeting with my usual….self and a pencil. When I sat down, my supervisor said “Linds you’re gonna need a piece of paper to take notes on.” I was about to walk back to my classroom to grab some when a coworker graciously tore out a sheet of paper from her notebook. I accepted it with a thank you and got ready to take vigorous notes. At the end of the meeting I left with three things: my pencil, a blank sheet of paper from my coworker, and a stack of new papers from the meeting. 🙂

The whole situation is humorous to me, but it also connects to something I’ve learned experientially over the past few months. When you are going through something extremely painful everyone you know wants to offer advice or tell you what you need. Their intentions are so pure and most of the time they truly desire you to “feel better.” Just like my supervisor had every good intention for me in that meeting. She wanted me to be prepared. But for her, coming prepared to a meeting meant bringing a pencil and paper. However, often times what people want to tell you is not what you want to hear, need to hear, or are ready to hear right in that moment. Here are some things I’ve learned in a painful season about giving advice….

1. Listen first.
2. Listen well. Seek to hear and really understand, not just listen so that you can give advice later.
3. People in pain need to feel freedom. They do not need expectations projected on them.
4. People in pain will take advice more easily from someone who has gone through something similar.
5. Hurting people need a friend more than they need advice.
6. You can tell when someone else has gone through a deep pain because the way they treat you and what they say is different. They don’t even have to tell you they’ve been there. They just know.

In college I heard this saying and have experienced it’s truth. “Sit in the dark with a friend long enough so your eyes will adjust.” When we go through painful experiences it is often a very dark season for quite some time. Friends can have the best intentions but sometimes they say things that just aren’t helpful. Hurting people need a friend to sit with them in the dark and listen long enough so their eyes can adjust and they can see what they’re friend is seeing. Of course there’s grace and those of us in the painful season also need to realize they have our best in mind.

Sometimes it can be so difficult to watch someone you love struggle through a painful experience, but I can say in my experience no one wanted me to feel better than me! But healing takes time.

In this season I’ve learned to hear what everyone has to say, listening patiently and reminding myself of their intentions. Then I remember one thing a friend told me that is so true. “The Holy Spirit is your great counselor Lindsey. He will speak to you.”

There is no one like Jesus. And true healing is only found in Him.

Thank you God for your Spirit alive in me.