Years ago, if you didn't know someone personally, then you didn't really know what went on in his or her private life. Once a social event is over, heading home meant shutting out the world. It was the one place where a guard could be let down and a person could be free.
Then, along came social media. No longer did we need to work our way into an episode of Unsolved Mysteries to connect with long lost friends. Old classmates, neighborhood friends of our earliest days, and even those distant, brief connections - they are all at our fingertips.
Type in a name. Boom. We now know that the kid we used to have a crush on in Kindergarten married someone else, has three kids, and he works as a real estate agent in Biloxi, Mississippi. He has a beautiful wife. His kids are active in school and make good grades. He is selling one house after the next, heavily sought after and in demand in the real estate space in and around Biloxi. Even his dog, Chap, is absolutely adorable. A nice home and lots of social, family functions. That stranger from all those years ago has a perfect life. He did well.
Or did he?
Regardless of what one has or doesn't have, very few people will honestly open themselves up to the world of social media without a filter. In fact, you may as well consider social media platforms to be the place for posting the best pics showing the best angles of life. Staged or real.
So, what happens when we see all this goodness going on in the lives of the people we used to know? Or that we used to be acquainted with?
Jealousy. We want what they have. We get disappointed with the things that we have and the hand that we were given. We automatically put others a step above us - based solely on what their social media pages tell us.
We don't even know if it is real or not! Yet, we are basing how we feel, how we view our life and our own self-image on these social media posts.
Sounds a bit absurd, doesn't it?
Jealousy is ugly. And wasting time wanting what others have can stunt your growth.
This type of behavior, in one way or another, has been getting us in trouble for years.
Have you heard of Samson?
His story, found in Judges 13-16, begins with him coming as a blessing before he was even born. An angel appeared to Samson's mother to tell her that she was pregnant and she was going to give birth to a baby boy she will name Samson. The angel went on to say that Samson should never cut his hair, "No razor will touch his head - the boy will be God's Nazirite from the moment of his birth. He will launch the deliverance from Philistine oppression." (Judges 13:5 MSG).
As Samson was born and raised, his hair grew and no razor ever touched it. Unfortunately, though, Samson had a hard time fitting into the role God had created for him.
Now, let's think about that for a moment. We all know that we were born because God created us. And, we know that we all have a special purpose. I don't know about you, but my mother has never told the story of my birth to include special instructions over my life and God's plan for it as delivered by an angel. Yours?
That is big. In fact, it is downright HUGE. An angel. A messenger of The Most High comes to tell your mama that you have big shoes to fill. Wow.
The funny thing is that Samson's strength was in his hair -- which is why God didn't want him to cut it. And everyone around him was envious of this strength that he had. They wanted to know what it was, where it came from and were willing to find out at all costs.
So, while Samson was busy wanting to be like everyone else - they just wanted the special gift that he had. And, he was too blind to even notice.
I am not going to get into details about the story of Samson. That is for you to read. If you don't know it and have not spent any time reading it, you should. Turn your bible to Judges 13.
What you can do for yourself.
Before you find yourself wrapped up in what everyone else has going on, take a step back and remind yourself of a few things:
💚 Like Samson, you were born for a reason. Sure, maybe no angel came to talk to your parents before dropping you off, but God doesn't make accidents so you best believe there is a reason you are here.
💜 Your reason for being here is going to vary from that of every person around you. You are unique and wonderfully made - with a purpose in mind. Specifically in mind for you.
❤️ Telling you to shut down social media may be a bit extreme. Instead, make sure you aren't allowing yourself to get caught up in everything that comes with scrolling through those pages and stories. Just like you've always been taught not to believe everything you read or hear, don't believe everything you see on social media.
💙 Everyone wants to be flawless. Everyone has flaws. Remember this.
💛 Take time for inward focus. When you spend so much time focused on what others are doing, you are bound to be affected by it, whether you realize it or not. Take time to learn who you are, what you stand for, your goals, hopes, and dreams.
💗 Perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself is to develop a relationship with God. Spend time with Him. Allow God to hold your attention. By doing so, you will have less time to get lost in what you think you don't have and will be able to learn about all the riches have been blessed with.
Are you wondering how it ends? Are you wondering whether Samson ever regains control of his focus? Let's just say that GOD is good, GRACE is powerful, and PRAYER is a direct line to our Creator.
Then Samson prayed to the Lord, "Sovereign Lord, remember me again, 'O God, please strengthen me just one more time."
- Judges 16:28