Perception, part 1

A while back, I wrote down the idea for a blog post.  It was a two part piece on perception.  Being that I’ve been MIA from here for a month, I figured now is as good a time as any to bring that idea to fruition.

In today’s society, we are inundated with social media as a way of life.  If you are not on Facebook, you’re weird or your parents are “way over protective” for not allowing you to have an account.  Then there are all of the other outlets: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, and on and on.  The idea behind these media outlets is a good one.  Being that I just moved 20 hours from my hometown, it’s nice to have the ability to “stay in touch” with what is going on in the lives of people I care about but will no longer get to see very often (unless I’m on Skype or Facetime, then I at least get to see them, though it’s just not the same).

I remember growing up when pen pals were “so cool.”  Do kids even know what a pen pal is anymore? I loved writing letters to people (whether my grandmother or to a friend at summer camp).  When we talked on the phone, we hung it up in the kitchen because that’s where the cord was attached (or charger if you were lucky enough to have a cordless phone…oh we were so cool…).  I know I’m dating myself a little older than I actually am, but I want to make a point.  Communication is not the same that it was 20 years ago (on a completely unrelated note, if you are wanting to date 20 years ago, that’s when Lion King came out. NOW I feel old).  When I was growing up, we would just run over to our friend’s house, knock on the door and ask if they could come ride bikes with us (or whatever the activity was that afternoon).  We didn’t text, we talked and usually in person.

I’m miserable on the phone.  My husband may want to say that’s a lie since I made him stay on the phone for hours when we were dating and living in different cities (no matter).  As someone who can talk for hours in the right circumstances, I have a hard time maintaining my attention on the phone (especially now that I manage toddlers for a living).  But when I’m on the phone, I can change my tone to allow someone to perceive my mood as different than it actually is.

Even if I can’t manage it on the phone, when online, it’s a cinch to present the persona that I want to present and hide all of the parts that I would rather people not know about.  If someone I went to high school with (and haven’t seen since) were to go to my page on Facebook or my Instagram account, what would they see?  A happy mom and wife, busy with teenagers at the church student ministry, good communication with (immediate)family, trips and opportunities, gorgeous scenery…you get the point?  Nothing (or close to nothing) “bad.” They wouldn’t see the struggles and insecurities.  They wouldn’t see who I really am, simply who I want them to think I am.

I’m not promoting using your boards as a place to air your grievances and all of your frustrations.  I’m encouraging you to not utilize that as your main mode of communication.  Allow people to see who you really are.  I was asked recently if I was getting to know people (being that we only moved to Texas a couple months ago).  I began to say no, but I realized that wasn’t true.  I am getting to know people, I just don’t know them yet.  What I mean is that I am still in the “small talk phase.”  Most conversations are built around day to day activities, surface level information that you would be okay with anyone knowing.  I was about to say no because I don’t know their hopes and dreams.  I don’t know their heart and can’t gauge how they are doing emotionally simply by saying, “hi, how are you doing?”  It’s a process; a very long process that naturally takes time.  There are, of course, exceptions to this (I have a couple friends like this, you know who you are and I love you BTW), but the norm is something that takes time and an extreme amount of vulnerability.  But it makes you a better person in the end, a better friend.

How do people perceive you?  Is there anyone in your life that really, I mean truly, deeply, honestly knows you?  Do they know your heart and what makes it tick?  If not, I encourage you to find someone.

It’s said that “perception is reality.”  That’s far from true.  Perception is the assumed reality, and that can be dangerous and delusional.  Satan can use our current desire to be perceived as put together as a lie that we box ourselves into.  All of a sudden, everything thinks that your life is perfect and hunky dory.  What they don’t see is the hurt and loneliness that you have found yourself in because of that forced perception.  When we don’t let anyone one in, we begin to lie not only to others, but to ourselves that everything is fine.  Then, we begin to lie to God…

Again, is there anyone in your life that knows your heart?

My next post will be about how God perceives us/how we perceive God.  Looking forward to sharing some more of my heart with all of you then.

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