Awesome Facebook li(v)es

Have you ever pored over someone else’s photos, scrapbooking pages, or Facebook shots and had a pang of: ‘Man, they have a really awesome life!’? You see the smiling faces of them and their friends, their children or their partner… the status updates listing the amazing things they got up to on the weekend… and just think ‘Wow’.

And maybe if you’re having a really bad day it kind of clangs and crashes against your perception of your own reality. To the point where you might be left feeling: ‘Why me? When God was handing out perfect, happy, smooth-running lives, where was I?!’

Perhaps it might help to rationalise that it’s all a facade. That really, these one-dimensional images are just that. They don’t tell the full story of a person’s life.

I mean, take for example this glowing shot from an old favourite TV series, 90210


Hardly says everything, does it, huh Brenda? 🙂

Think about your own ‘happy snaps’ from the past. Perhaps you and your friends were laughing in one of the pictures taken on your last day of high school. But behind the smiles and the jokes, you were battling a debilitating depression that would stay with you as you navigated university life and beyond…

Or maybe there’s a shot of your husband bouncing on the trampoline with your two-year-old son as you look on. A perfect image of family fun and connection. But inside, your hearts are breaking as you come to terms with the loss of your other little one, who died at 28 weeks.

Photos are simply snapshots in time – moments which tell so little of our collective stories. Moments which betray what we’re really feeling, or dealing with. Facebook, for example, provides the perfect opportunity to publicise impressions of ourselves which really don’t explain a lot.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a wonderful and relevant platform for communicating and sharing our lives, as well as inspirational thoughts and meaningful dialogue with friends and acquantances. But when it becomes a substitute for real-life vulnerability and relationship, it’s just another way to cover up our true selves.

New life, marriage, memories of fun with friends, invigorating moments… yes, all beautiful stuff that’s worth shouting from the rooftops. But if that’s all we’re doing… if this simplistic image creation is where we invest most of our time… then where do we get the chance to share what’s really going on for us… or ask the deeper questions of what’s happening in someone else’s life, face to face…

Because without regular human connection, we can find ourselves adrift, alone – with the thought that no one truly knows the real us…

Who will you tell some of your story to this week? Who will I? Because we all shed tears sometimes. And we all just want to be loved. Not for how we look in a photo or what we cooked for dinner – but who we are deep inside. And yes, that might be  communicated somewhat in a status update, or a blog post, or a song shared via YouTube – but really reaching out, and allowing others in – has to be more than just that. Because nothing beats a hug, or a heated face-to-face debate – or a shared dessert, as the tears roll down your face about how shocking – or wonderful – your week has been… Lord, may I crave more of that kind of stuff.


  1. It’s so true. Everybody hides behind Facebook, Twitter – its hard to separate the virtual from the reality sometimes. I try not to onvey too much on Facebook , and Twitter? I have no idea how to use it (even though I have an account) 🙂

    1. I hear you. Yeah, I’m a bit of a ‘shy’ Facebook/Twitter user too – though I let it all out through blogging hehe! Thanks for dropping by Virginia.

  2. I’m with you… I’ve seen so many photos over the years of people who seem to have it all together with perfect jobs, beautiful home, new cars, go on vacations (I think that one bothers me the most). They look great, and yeah, it just makes you feel like there is so much lacking in your own life. But we do know that no one is impervious to tragedy and trials. I’m going through one right now, but I doubt if I will write about it. Sometimes things are just too private and you don’t want to put them out there for the world (or the people that read your blog) to see. However, something I’ve been thinking about recently is how blessed I am–and I’m trying to concentrate on that and be thankful for that.

    1. For sure… very true. And yes, we kind of want to celebrate the good don’t we, rather than putting our really personal stuff out there, especially when we’re going through it. Praying that you’re surrounded by His love during the tough time you’re experiencing. Glad you’re able to see the blessings that are there despite the hardship.

  3. You are so very right, Ali. I love the inspiration I receive from the blogs I read and the encouragement from some of the writers, but nothing beats the close relationship or hug of a friend or family member. Blessings to you.

    1. Hi Joy
      Well said – absolutely. It can be easy to lose sight of how wonderful those moments can feel… but they are so worth investing in and pursuing.
      Thanks for being a blessing,

  4. It’s so easy to envy what other people have, but you’re absolutely right: We rarely see the big picture. God has given us each a life we can make the most out of in our own way; only He knows how our stories will turn out.
    God bless!

    1. Yes absolutely! He is behind each of our stories and knows our ‘bigger pictures’ better than anybody.
      God bless and have an awesome day 🙂

  5. We don’t learn or grow much from a steady stream of happy photos or cheery Facebook posts, do we? They’re fine and can be fun, but the real satisfying relationships happen when we share smiles along with tears, joyful moments and heartbreaks. Nice post!

  6. Dear Al,
    once again your way with words and elegant expression have created a thought-provoking post. I really enjoyed it.
    An earlier reply talks about focusing on the blessings in your life when it gets rough. I think many would count YOU as one of them lady!
    wishing you a wonderful weekend with your family.

  7. I agree with you. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t say anything about the real happiness behind the sometimes fake smiles. To me, it seems sometimes those who smile the biggest and put on the biggest show of a ‘perfect’ life are those hiding the most discontent.

  8. Hi Ali, I found your site through Judy’s blog. Fantastic post! When I look back at some my photos from the past, I see myself smiling and looking very happy. However, many of those moments included temporary highs and I was very depressed on the inside. Now that I have an eternal perspective on life and my passion for Christ has grown, my smiles are more genuine for the camera and I have a joy that only comes from he Lord! 😉

    1. Glad you found me Danielle! (I’ve just subscribed to your blog – looks awesome!)
      Thanks so much – and that’s wonderful how your life has been transformed! When we compare ourselves to those who know the joy of God, the awesome thing is that we can have that same deep, inner joy too!
      Thanks for dropping by and being a blessing.

  9. Oh Ali, you shared about something that I sensed, but just couldn’t put my finger or mind on. I’m pretty new to facebook and twitter . . .and found myself quite outpaced there. So mostly tried to encourage others, because I just didn’t have that much going on! haha! I think it is wonderful too, and that He can use facebook for His purposes, but am so thankful for the loved ones that He lets me be more involved with. I need that! God bless you and all that He desires for you today!

    1. Hi Debbie
      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I agree – it’s a platform like any other, which can be used in a variety of ways. But as you say, that involvement with loved ones is so precious and needed. Thanks so much for dropping by, and for always being an encouragement. God bless your day as well!

  10. Face to face, personal contact. Time with loved ones, slow and easy. THAT’s what makes for real relationship and social connection. And it’s so easy in our crazy rush rush rush world to get lost and substitute hi tech connections instead. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and all it’s benefits, but too much of a good thing can be very damaging to the better thing…Thanks for sharing your heart, Ali.

    1. Hi Sheila
      SO true. I love how you’ve expressed that – indeed, may we all order our days with a good mix of these ‘good things, and better things’.
      God bless, and my pleasure.

  11. Well said! Unfortunately our teens just don’t understand this concept – if you’ve never known it you just don’t get it I guess. I pray the pendulum will swing back soon!

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