I hate the Internet

I know today is about love. I get that. I also (obviously) don’t really hate the Internet…I’m being dramatic. I’m a girl on Valentine’s Day, totally to be expected.

But, at the very least, I’m not very happy with parts of the Internet at them moment. And, like most of the times when I’m angry or hateful, it’s myself that I’m actually mad at and not the person/thing/website.

And here’s the deep dark secret: My name is Jen and I’m a Comparison Addict. (“Hi, Jen,” say the disembodied voices in my head) It’s horrible. I can go to the darkest hole of pity and self loathing with the snap of your fingers. And the biggest obstacle is the fact that I spend a (much too) big portion of my life looking at other people’s lives on a screen.

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I think I would have done better in a life before the Internet. Granted, I wouldn’t have traveled beyond my street because my sense of direction without a GPS can be equated to that of toddler who was just spinning in circles for 18 minutes straight. But, I yearn for a time when I didn’t have filtered, perfect smiles mocking me and my unwashed hair. I need to be able to get through a day without someone having a thought that makes me question my own existence. And the cheesy couple posts…ugh don’t get me started. If it’s possible, I couldn’t loathe/love anything more.

Case in point: My husband sent me roses today. Now, I believe that my husband is the most perfect person in the world and, if I didn’t have Jesus in my life, my love for my husband borderline idolatry. But did I thank him as soon as I said good-bye to the delivery man? No, the first thing I did after receiving this beautiful gift: I took and posted a picture of it. I needed people to see what had happened. I needed to be noticed. I needed to prove to myself that I was important enough to be included in the blizzard of heartfelt pictures and declarations of love happening on Facebook today. (I did eventually thank my husband.)

And this happens more than on holidays. There are times I can find myself hours deep into looking at someone’s vacation pictures from 4 years ago because I need to convince myself that, in some way, it wasn’t perfect. Or that my thighs look smaller than that woman’s profile picture from 2011.

It’s bad for me. I know it’s bad for me.Sometimes I state out loud in my empty office how bad it is for me while I click the next link. But it is so easy to get caught up in. And its so hard to stop.

It feels a lot like being a child and screaming for your mom to look at you. Over and over and over and over until you get her attention. And why? So that she can praise you or smile and nod. So that she can love you and accept you and so that you can be known.

Listen to Me Sign Person Tries to Get Attention in Crowd

See where I’m going with this yet?

Someone is watching. He’s always watching. Even when I’m not selfie worthy and even when I’m down the rabbit hole of hating myself while studying the most minute detail of someone else’s profile, God is watching. And He’s loving me. And I am known to Him.

And He is sad that I don’t realize that. That I am beating up what I consider to be unworthy in myself. That I am tearing down His child.

And with His help, I’m working on it. I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I don’t have any of the answers. But my tactic of praying my way through the darkness, is getting me closer.

So, I’m praying for you, couple who just announced their pregnancy. And you, person who ate a really pretty looking salad last Tuesday. And, most of all, I’m praying for you, unsure little girl inside of me who is longing for attention. We’ll get through this.

PS How pretty are those roses?!

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Jesus is taunting me…again

In one of my two offices for my (paid) jobs, there is a bookshelf that I pace in front of. I’m a telephone pacer, a bored pacer and an “I need to get my steps in without leaving this office” pacer. And while I pace sometimes I look over and every time I am guaranteed to see the cover of this book.img_2724

I don’t know why it surprises me every time…I never move it. I never even pick it up. I just look at it and feel the Lord taunting me.

Ok…I guess taunting is a bad word. Testing? Checking in? Reminding? Throwing pebbles at my head à la Romeo and Juliet?

He’s trying to get me attention.

And I give it to Him. But,usually just long enough to think: “Ha, right! I’ll think of loving you and, Jesus, you can go ahead and catch up on my laundry, plan these five events, get the baby to sleep through the night and get me to lose an undisclosed number of pounds that are hanging out around my waist. Nice try, buddy. I’m not falling for that.”

Today, though, I stopped and tried not to be sassy with our Lord and Savior. I thought about what the cover is really asking of me, what it really means to love Jesus, why He wants me to do it more than anything else.

A quote attributed to St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta (Is that what we call her now? In our house, she’s still Momma T.) comes to mind:

“I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”

With Valentine’s Day being right around the corner, its easy to equate “love” with the cheesy cards, gifts and movies that are attacking all of our senses right now. The good feelings and pretty hearts and happily ever afters aren’t what book-cover-Jesus and actual Jesus want from me.

He wants me to serve: my family, the people of my ministries, the people I forget to pray for, the people the world forgets. He wants me to think of myself less and of them more. He wants me to open my eyes and my heart to the suffering around me and offer to help in my own small way. He wants me to stop complaining about things that don’t matter and work to change things that do. (OK…that half of that might be more what I want. I’m getting really annoyed by my own complaining lately. And you know its bad when you are annoyed by yourself.) He wants me to trust that He will take care of me, and everything else for that matter, even when I spend half my life worrying about the outcome.

Ok, book-cover-Jesus, you win. Today, I will let you think of everything and I will think of loving you. And I will continue to learn what that love means for me.