If your life was an Instagram album, what images would you have??
I was recently out and about enjoying the sunshine on holidays, when I noticed several ducks swimming on the river just ahead of me. The funny thing was, the river was moving quite rapidly and there were many rocks and branches scattered across the width of the river â yet the ducks seemed perfectly calm, and able to gently and gracefully swim along as if it was perfectly still.
I got me thinking about the images we portray to others about our lives, especially on social media. In my opening question I asked what your life's Instagram pictures would be, because I suddenly realised the images that we put out there, aren't really us.
Just like the duck swimming on the river, we can give the best impressions with our heads held high. The older we get the seemingly easier it is to hide things too. Are we really all like these ducks, frantically swimming underneath the surface, barely coping and not able to even truly deal with our own true selves, let alone try and help others. While all along, we give off this wonderfully graceful appearance above the surface, so everyone thinks we're doing ok?
The older I'm getting, the more people I find who aren't as ok as I once thought. Maybe for some of us there is a degree in which we are actually grappling with the challenges that need to be, in open and transparent ways. But I think there is truth in saying that in some ways, we are all trying to swim like ducks.
Funny thing is though â we were never meant to swim like ducks, in fact, if we manage not to drown, we wouldn't get anywhere if we tried. We're meant to swim flat on the water â hands, arms, body, legs and feet all exposed for all to see.
Why are we scared of being real?
I shared a meme on facebook the other day, which a friend had liked from another friends wall. But before I shared the meme, I went to the page it originally came from and gave it a once over. I was quite shocked to find there was fairly explicit material on the page and something I didn't want people to see my name with.
I decided to screen shot the meme and just post that up instead â all good I thought, I've got the message I want across, without my name being tarnished by the original source.
Until my mind all of a sudden remembered this passage from Mark chapter 2 verses 15-17
"While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Jesus here obviously wasn't scared of being associated with the 'sinners' and 'tax collectors' of the day. Remember, they were 'those' sort of people that you really shouldn't have much to do with. But not only was Jesus comfortable being around them, he went and ate with them. Eating a meal with someone back then, was the equivalent adding them to your friendship group and sharing their memes.
By eating with them, Jesus was saying he was ok with being associated with them. Whether he made a judgement call on the behaviour or not is not the point, he was ok with his name being next to theirs. This shows me how secure he was in the fact he was God's son, and bore his image.
Where does our image come from and who tells us who we are?
The real honest answer to these questions, really shows where our identity lies. For me, I'm more scared of sharing something that may be really helpful and true â but damage my image, than be able to be okay with sharing and know and be confident in who I am â a child of God.
Do you see yourself as a duckling, trying to swim along the rapids of life, or are you a child of the chief swimming coach â arms, legs, feet and hands all kicking and splashing about?
Michael Enderby is currently an Intern with SU Victoria in their schools program, while studying a Diploma of Youth Work with Praxis Victoria. He has a heart and a passion for walking alongside youth and helping them realise their potential. He resides in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Michael Enderby's personal blog is here http://www.scot262wh.wordpress.com
His previous articles are at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-enderby.html