This blog post is not about food or about family, but it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I love writing blogs. I like to read blogs as well, though I’ll be honest that there are only a very few I read consistently as I just don’t have the time in the day to sit and read about a complete stranger’s life, no matter how interesting they are. But every once in awhile, I steal an evening away from other activities and read a few posts on top rated online blogs. This activity has made me realize though, some of the inherent dangers in blogging, whether you are writing or reading them.
First, let’s looking at reading. What happens when you read another person’s blog? You hopefully feel encouraged or enlightened and come away with some great ideas to try in your life. But often, you might also feel a bit overwhelmed or discouraged as you compare your life with someone else’s. This I think is even more of a danger when you are reading the blog of a complete stranger. Good writers can make the mundane normal day sound spectacular. You will see pictures of beautifully decorated, clean houses and smiling, well-dressed children. Even people’s lunches are artfully arranged on perfect dinnerware. After reading too many of these picture perfect blog posts, you will probably start to feel some discontentment in regards to your own life. These people seem to have it made while your life often feels like it is falling apart. Can I let you in on a little blogger secret? While you are most likely seeing a true moment of someone’s day in a blog post, it is just a moment. It’s a tiny sliver that they’ve allowed you to see. Those pictures were most likely posed, the angle of the camera adjusted to leave out the toys on the floor, and the food spectacularly arranged on just one plate out of many. Their kids have meltdowns too, their house gets messy, and they also sometimes feel like they are barely hanging on. I know, because I am a blogger, and all those things are true of me. Even if I do share some of my down moments in a day, I use enough humor that you probably think that I reacted calmly and correctly in the situation. I can just about guarantee you that I didn’t.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t read blogs. Since I write blogs, I do expect someone to read them. But I do encourage you to do it without comparing. Don’t be fooled by someone’s perfect moment. Let yourself be encouraged, glean great ideas, and laugh at someone’s humorous retelling of a day. But if you find yourself starting to get discouraged, it’s time to turn off the computer and return to your own day, which if you pay attention is also filled with lots of those little slivers of perfection.
And that is why I also encourage you to write your own blog. One of the reasons I enjoy writing in my blog is that it encourages me to look for the good in each day. When you start wondering how you can make a situation sound humorous in the retelling, you start to be less stressed and more relaxed. As you brag on your kids, you start to notice the good things they accomplished in a day, and not just the bad things. Blogging has the potential of improving your whole attitude.
But writing blogs is not without its own risks. You may find that as you become addicted to living out your life on the computer screen, that you are less likely to be 100% involved in your “real” life. Be careful that you are living in the present. Don’t let blogging take the place of prayer and quiet time with the Lord. Telling your day’s struggles and triumphs should be done to God and your husband and not only to the online world. Don’t be so obsessed with getting that perfect blog-worthy photo that you don’t enjoy just spending time and making memories. Recording special events is great, but if you weren’t actually involved in the memory making, what good is it?
I know I sound like an expert here, but please know that writing this blog has reminded me of things I need to work on in this area as well. If you are reading this, I’m thankful that you are taking the time to read a part of our life, and I hope that you find encouragement here. I hope that I write with enough transparency so that you can see that my life is just as real as yours. But even when it isn’t obvious, please know that there is much more you are not seeing. And that much more looks an awful lot like a normal day.
In the spirit of being transparent, here is a photo that proves my point. At first glance, this looks like a peaceful blueberry picking outing. Look carefully. In the background, you will see just a glimpse of a bit of chaos that for some reason exploded at exactly the time that my sister was trying to record the morning on camera.