“There will not come a day when you will have “arrived” and become perfect in your flesh. Only Jesus is perfect. There race for perfection is a never-ending pursuit, but the race toward Jesus is a never-ending joy.Gretchen Saffles, Redefined
I saw a little story about this Belgian couple named Camille and Jean who make their living traveling and posting romantic pictures on Instagram. They say they are on an “infinite honeymoon” and it appears to be so. One week Rome, the next week India… the travel blogger couple will go to seemingly great lengths for the perfect photo. I’m both fascinated and terrified by them at the same time.
They write cutesy little paragraphs under their cutesy little photos, and I couldn’t help but get sucked in to reading some of it. They believe that positive thoughts lead to a positive life. Having a positive mindset will make bad situations go away! Yay! (Insert lots of little fun emojis here).
Now, I don’t begrudge this lovely couple their never-ending honeymoon, good for them. But somewhere in between the Trevi fountain of Rome and French Polynesia, I can’t help but wonder about people making an actual living at this. I know, I know… it’s the wave of the future. We look to people like this to tell us what to buy, where to go, what to eat and everything else. We run toward the next beautiful and promising thing, hoping it will get us the attention we so desperately crave and quench the thirst that keeps coming back.
It’s all in good fun until it isn’t. I listened to an addiction specialist the other day on talk radio explaining the complex ways this stuff affects our brains. Instead of calming us down, it gives us anxiety. We bounce back and forth looking for instant gratification all the while dulling our senses to be able to handle actual stress in our real lives. Our poor kids’ brains are getting rewired, nobody knows how to interact with one another, and we all wish we were getting paid to post pics of ourselves on a beach in Bora Bora. What a sham this all is.
My boys say I tend to overreact and over-analyze stuff like this, and they’re correct. It’s because one of my biggest anxieties as a parent is that stuff like this will slowly slip through the cracks of their brains and take root. Lest we think we are too smart to fall for it, some of the smartest most grounded people I know have done just that. We long for perfection and we are chasing the wind.
I find great comfort in that quote up top there… while the world is a never-ending pursuit, Jesus is our never-ending joy. Chasing after Him isn’t an exhausting journey of comparison, but an authentic, steady walk in a direction that makes less of ourselves and much of Him. We do not need someone who calls themselves an “experience architect” to “create sacred spaces” for us to live our “most authentic life.” (I just saw that in someone’s bio and had to throw it in because it embodies every ridiculous thing I’m talking about here.) Jesus is my sacred space, the architect of my life and the most authentic thing I could ever hope to have.
I sincerely hope Camille and Jean and all the beautiful influencers out there find that life is more than aesthetically pleasing photos and positive thoughts. The world is indeed amazing and I hope we all get a chance to explore more of it. When and if we do, let’s remember that true influence comes when we point others to Jesus, not to ourselves.
I truly believe there’s a strong connection between humility and true joy. Pride and self-promotion is a rat race I am in no hurry to join. So today, I embrace the beauty of an ordinary day. I’ll find joy in little things because life is made up of small moments. I will run after Jesus instead of perfection, knowing that He gives me something far greater than the temporary buzz of the world’s applause.
What makes us content? Being like Him.
“I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.”Psalm 17:15