The Pinterest Virus (and other related social media illnesses)


A couple weeks ago I fervently, comically, and quite sarcastically warned all the mothers with young kids at our church to “STAY OFF PINTEREST!!!” (Church attendance has since dropped 13%, but whatever!) And that’s because, on Pinterest, you will find these terrifying mothers who, I’m sure of it, manipulate some sort of evil dark magic to invent impossible creations for their children and families.

I mean just look at her! She has a full-time job with four kids and two on the way, yet she knitted her children new hats made out of unused coffee filters and paper clips. And then she pinned a recipe for the organic, calorie-free, tomato bisque she served last night for dinner. And then she even posted a sample page of her self-authored, hand-made, scratch-and-sniff, children’s novel she’s getting published. Her kids REALLY REALLY love her. And for that matter, so would your kids… way way more than they love you!

Now understand, I’m not hating on these super-moms. Really. They have a unique gift from God called “awesomeness” and I say “Use it!” But I am cautioning the rest of us. Because when we look at them, we’re reminded of how unsuper we are. It’s like we look up from the computer… and look at ourselves… sitting in the same place we were two hours ago… with the same empty carton of Rocky Road… and we don’t even know where our kid is! Is he at the neighbors? Is she upstairs? Do I have three sons or two?

How nerve-wracking! All the pressure! Who could measure up!

As funny as all this may sound, it is so so so very true. Seriously though, Rebecca Dube for NBC News writes that many moms use sites like Pinterest for connection and inspiration (which is great! – hear me, I support Pinterest for such uses), “but all too often, the beautiful images of domestic harmony [found on these sites] make us feel inadequate.” Read the article. It’s pretty insightful.

Humans simply have a natural tendency to compare. We look to our left, and look to our right, and measure ourselves based on others’ successes. Because we must have a niche’ or a role that we excel at. We must find an activity or accomplishment that gives us a sense of self-worth. We must find an environment where we are accepted. Or else we’ll just go crazy, and sink into depression, and drown in our self-pity. So we compare ourselves to others to see how we compete. Ravenously. And our successes (or failures) end up determining our self-worth.

Now here’s the bad news about ALL social media. When you play the compare game here, you will almost always be left wanting. You will almost always lose. Because on social media, you are getting a glimpse of everyone else’s best version of themselves. I mean think about, what Mom in her right mind pins the batch of pink elephant cookies she burnt to a crisp? What person in their right mind would make their profile picture a selfie taken thirty seconds after they woke up? They don’t want anyone to see that! Nor does anyone want to see that! No, almost everything you see is their best version of them.

So here’s the point of all this, you must derive your self-worth from something else other than your successes, other than how you measure up. Because if you are constantly playing the compare game, particularly in an era where everyone controls the way their public image is perceived, then you will never be satisfied. There will always be somebody (or somebodies) who has it better off.

There will always be someone richer or prettier or smarter or thinner or more talented or more popular or (you fill in the blank) _______________.

So where could a lasting sense of self-worth come from? I thought you’d never ask. How about Jesus? The same Jesus who was God, but thought being God wasn’t something worth clinging on to. So he gave up his divine privileges, and took on the form of a human being, and sacrificed himself for human beings. Because he loved them. Not because of anything they did, or how successful they were, or how worthy they were of his sacrifice. But just because.

I like that. Jesus sacrificed himself for you and me, not because, but just because. Wow. What an undeserved pardon. What a gift. To think that God would do that for you and me!

But careful, don’t get cocky in light of this! Because it is only those who recognize that they are weak, meek, and needy who ultimately discover the peace and self-worth that comes from this.

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2 thoughts on “The Pinterest Virus (and other related social media illnesses)

  1. LOVE IT!!! Very true! (And I pin burnt pink elephant cookies) Anyone getting overwhelmed by pinterest should check out pinstrosity. A lovely place where they try out the tricks they find and post the REAL results!

  2. One of my pastors told the church one, “No matter how good you are at what you do, there is always someone who can do it better.” It’s a nice slice of humble pie and a great way to just stop caring and enjoy what we do.

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