Behind the Photograph
Aw. Isn’t that a cute picture? Our daughter snapped this shot during an annual family Christmas excursion. It even made the cut for a Facebook post about our day.
But there’s a little detail that does not show up in the picture.
My husband and I spent much of that day (and a couple days before it honestly) quietly at each other’s throats. We were in a bit of a funk. Agitated. Annoyed. Antagonistic. Why? Because the thing about marriage—and well, about life—is that it isn’t always perfect or pretty.
We all have our moments. Yet those particular moments typically are not the ones we present to others.
My intention, when I included that picture in my Facebook post, was certainly not deception. It was just a good picture mixed in with sweet photos of the kids. But my inside scoop—my knowledge of what was behind the photograph—brought me face to face with the ultimate pitfall of comparison.
We often compare the full detail, sometimes frightening, unedited version of our life to the sunshiny highlights reel of someone else’s life.
Few of us take out the camera to document and share the ugly parts of our week. It simply isn’t the norm. So, as a result, social media runneth over with ear to ear smiles and #bestdayever. But what is often missing is the rest of the story. The real life balance that keeps us all growing and moving forward.
The greatest solution for dealing with this comparison trap is found in Galatians 6:4 (TLB): “Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.”
Satisfaction is always within our grasp! It comes from doing our best. Being our best. Fulfilling our purpose with the gifts God has given to us. Satisfaction has nothing to do with what everyone else is up to. In fact, if we stare too long we just might miss out on our very own joyful moments.
Whenever we feel our contentment being swallowed up by comparison, we need only to remind ourselves that there is real life behind every perfect photo. Then look away. Look up. And give thanks.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt