Pursuing Joy or Constructing a Mask?

I was recently told my life looks too pretty, too happy, too perfect and therefore fake. That I only display the good parts of my life both on Instagram and here. The accusation kinda stung. If there is anything I don’t want to be it’s inauthentic. I place much value on people who are open about their hard times and allow others to pray for, support and learn from them. Which is why I strive to be genuine in my own friendships and relationships.

Needless to say, I’ve been thinking through my presence online and whether I’ve been constructing some sort of “my life is so perfect and I’ve got it all together” mask. Perhaps I have, I don’t know. If I have it has never been my intention.

I have an exceptionally hard life when compared to some people. And I have an exceptionally easy life when compared to other people. I have plenty in my life that is hard, ugly and disappointing. And just as much that is beautiful, good and true. It’s the dichotomy of living in a fallen world.

Part of living as someone who has been redeemed and transformed by Christ is learning to be grateful for the joyful and heartbreaking. It’s one of the hardest things to look at our suffering and declare “I trust you Lord. This is good.” Those are the times our faith grows as we throw our arms around our Savior’s neck and allow him to lead us. During those times this verse runs on repeat through my head giving me strength:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

All this affects what I put on social media and here because I’ve chosen to use this space as a place to celebrate and relish the good, true and beautiful. At times that may mean that I write about less cheery topics. But in general I want to rejoice about this awesome, amazing and messy life and capture little bits of it in pictures and writing. I’m here to be the first to say: I am not perfect, nor is my life. The only way I can see beauty and not wallow in self-pity about the harder parts is through the grace of God. For that reason I will choose joy with every pretty sunset, DIY project, and all the fuzzy kitten pictures. I will strive to live life to its fullest and rejoice that I have a Redeemer who has filled my life with so many joys — large and small — and it's only up to me to see them.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)