Recently, a friend of mine tweeted a quote that stopped me in my tracks: social media is to envy what gasoline is to fire. It isn’t as though I haven’t thought about this before and the downside to social media in general, but this concise and precise description spoke to me. Because sometimes, our intake of social media swoops up our minds and in a split second body slams us to the ground. Can anybody relate??
This happened to me not long ago. While taking a break from working on an article, I mindlessly surfed around the Internet, bouncing around various social media outlets until I landed on Lauren Daigle’s website. I’ve been listening to her album non-stop lately (it’s fantastic, you should too!), and I read with fascination her story and how she came to “make it” in the music industry.
Then I came across a blurb that mentioned how she leads worship for North Point Community Church and other ministries like The Living Room (North Point’s college ministry). She’s living in my hometown, attending my home church. As I read and flipped through pictures, I felt that old, familiar feeling creeping in: that pit-in-the-stomach, heart-tightening sensation of homesickness. Homesickness, tinged ever so slightly green by that googly-eyed, scaly-skinned monster we all know as jealousy.
My sometimes toddler-like heart led me to stomp my feet and whine she has it all! Through the alluring smokescreen of social media, I began to imagine that her life must be perfect. I understand how crazy this sounds, but it’s the truth: sometimes our enemy can have a field day in our minds, and he never passes up an opportunity to gut-punch us where it hurts the most—no matter how silly or small the medium being used.
If we’re honest, it often seems this way, doesn’t it? This “someone else has my life” sensation takes over and powerfully distorts our vision. Someone else has the job, the home, the kids, the husband, or the geographical location we think we should have. As I’ve written about before, I never imagined I’d be living 2,500 miles away from home and family, building a brand new life with two babies two and under. No, I envisioned weekly lunches with my mom, play dates with my childhood friends and their babies, and the security that comes from living in a place you’ve lived your whole life. Is it any wonder God took me out of that growth-inhibiting comfort zone?
I have friends who are facing the dissolution of a marriage they never thought possible when they once said “I do.” I have friends facing debilitating physical ailments that no one in their age brackets should have to face. And I have friends suffering mightily as they watch their children face heart-wrenching health problems and conditions. These represent the tip of the iceberg in my life and the lives of those in my sphere. And, even though God has done tremendously great things in all our lives, the enemy can still bamboozle us when we wrongly turn our focus to what we think life should look like. Opportunities to fall into the comparison trap abound and lurk around every corner, ready to pounce on our hearts and take us down.
The Bible “greats” may not have had to deal with social media and all its trappings, but they were certainly not immune from the same heart condition. For example, when we first meet Gideon in Judges 6:11, we see a cowardly man threshing wheat in a winepress of all places, attempting to spare a sliver of his harvest from the oppressive hand of the Midianites (the people group terrorizing Israel at that time). Traditionally, the threshing of wheat took place in a large, open space, with plenty of room and plenty of wind to sweep away the chaff. Undertaking this task in the dark, enclosed space of a winepress was far less than ideal.
If anyone could say this doesn’t make sense! This is too hard! it was Gideon. While we don’t know the ins and outs of what went through Gideon’s head and heart, we do know that he chose to embrace and tackle his reality of threshing in a winepress; and it was into this seemingly nonsensical situation that God sent His Angel to meet with and call Gideon to the task of delivering the Israelites.
Gideon lived out the “bloom where you’re planted” idea—or in his case, the “thresh wherever you possibly can” concept. It may have been easy for him to look around and find someone whose life was “easier” than his, and maybe we could say the same. But the truth is, it simply doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. If you’ve been called to a hard place, a sad place, a disappointing place, a lonely place, or a confusing place—the only thing that matters is you have been called to that place, and called by a God who knows and loves you and is preparing you for “good works, which God prepared in advance” for you (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).
What is your threshing floor today? Perhaps you, like Gideon, find yourself hunched over in a dark, dank winepress and wondering how did I get here? I believe this is all of us, to some degree or another, but I know and believe today that God can and will meet you and me there, right there—comfort in hand, plan in hand, incomprehensible love and patience in hand. It makes no difference what others are doing, because God has called and positioned you, my friend, to thresh right where you are. And we will all do well to enter our respective winepresses and live out our callings with joy, humbly relying on Him to provide the daily, sometimes hourly, strength we need.
May we, like Gideon, embrace our circumstances, knowing there is no winepress so dark, so distant, that He is not able to illuminate with His glorious presence.