A Sad Generation with Happy Pictures

My neighbors are really cool.  They moved to Lakeland about a year ago from Colorado with two big dogs.  They do adventurous things all the time that young married couples without kids enjoy doing.  Every Saturday they have a bunch of friends meet at their house and go ride their dirt bikes.  Sometimes they bring surf boards and go to the beach for the day, or they pack the car with inner-tubes and go float down a river.  Whatever the activity, they always bring coolers full of amazing drinks and food and spend the entire day enjoying the activity they have planned.  They love to entertain and grill out with friends.  They also travel a lot, and they put stickers on their car to show all the exciting adventures they are experiencing.  Oh, and their jobs are so fun…they get to wear athletic clothes to work and do something they truly love.  A job that keeps them fit and their skin a golden tan year-round.  They are young and in love and they have an amazing and care free life!

Just to clarify, I’ve never actually spoken to my neighbors.  I don’t even know their names.  I’ve just observed them.  Don’t get the wrong idea…I’m not a crazy stalker, although this may make you wonder.  I run almost every day on a treadmill in my garage, so I have observed their lifestyle from a distance since they moved in.  What else would I do while running except watch the excitement going on across the street at my neighbor’s house?  Fingers crossed they NEVER read this blog!!  That would probably be a deal breaker for us to ever become friends. 

I realize that my ideas about who my neighbors are could be completely off base.  They may have a horrible marriage.  The wife might hate all the adventurous activities, and maybe the husband wishes he had a different job.  It’s so interesting, that just from observing my neighbors, I draw all kinds of conclusions about their happiness and level of contentment.  Then I do the next logical thing and I compare what seems to be their dream life to mine.  This reminds me of what so many of us do with social media, and I am so guilty of doing this.  I see carefully selected glimpses into the lives of other people, and I decide that they have no troubles and they are beautiful, and they have children that must be perfect. 

I read a quote recently that struck me, “We are a sad generation with happy pictures.”  This is so true of many people.  The pressure to portray that “perfect” image is something that has unfortunately become the norm today.  We try to be more and have more and do more because we think everyone else has it more together than us, and we are left feeling empty. 

This year, I am really trying to focus on being content…I think that was my goal for last year too??? Oops.  I know that contentment comes when I realize that from my own striving, I will not experience true peace and rest.  It is when I seek Jesus that I am finally able to experience true contentment and purpose in my life.  I feel like I end every blog the same…we need time with Jesus.  I need time with Jesus.  There is no substitute.  I need to be in God’s Word, I need time in prayer, and I need my church community.  Let’s be serious about time with Jesus in 2020.  Oh, and maybe I’ll make it a goal to meet my neighbors this year…they seem like pretty cool people!