I’ve seen the theme a lot.
I’ve come across the hashtag.
I’ve heard the cry.
This call to keep it real. To stop taking flawless pictures of our lives and posting them on social media. To stop acting like we’ve got it all together when we don’t. To stop pretending that we’re perfect.
And I get it. I really do.
But I just don’t buy this idea that posting pictures of our sinks full of unwashed dishes & our closets that need to be excavated or airing our dirty laundry for all to see helps encourage or uplift others.
I believe there is a huge difference between inspiration and perfection.
I like to fill my Instagram feed with beautiful pictures. Not because I have it all together. Not because all my dishes are washed (oh, gosh, I can’t keep my sink empty for more than five minutes), all my closets are perfectly organized or all my laundry (figuratively or literally) is clean. And certainly not because I’m perfect.
I am none of those things. I have none of those things. And I value authenticity, honesty, and being real.
But I believe being real should happen naturally. There shouldn’t be a need to prove it. We’re all adults and we all know that a few squares or statuses aren’t the sum total of someone’s life. If you’re not using social media with a right heart, that’s your business. Not mine. Not anyone’s. And if I’m not being authentic, honest or real, well, I answer to God alone for that.
I long to inspire others. To uplift. My heart’s desire for my blog, my Instagram account and any other social media outlet I’m on, is to encourage + connect + give back. That’s me. The real me. If I were to write or post anything different, it wouldn’t be true to who I am. It wouldn’t be me “being real.” It would be me being posed. Forced.
And while you might not see pictures of my toilet that needs scrubbing, my windows covered in toddler fingerprints or my hair that hasn’t been washed in three days, please know those things exist and form the foundation of what I do post. And if I feel moved that those things are inspiring on any given day, I will post them in a heartbeat.
Because I believe the world is starved for inspiration. We are starved for beauty. We are starved for light & hope. I know your life is hard and it isn’t made any easier by me belaboring how hard mine is.
“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
This verse isn’t denying that the world is broken or that life can be hard & ugly. It’s not denying reality. It’s not telling us to pretend everything’s great or act like we’re perfect. No. It’s encouraging us to fix our eyes where they belong. To focus on the beautiful, the good, the uplifting.
I’m not saying never post a picture of your mess, your real life, your honest motherhood. If that’s what stirs your heart. If that’s the message you feel called to bring. Then bring it. And bring it with freedom.
I am saying, don’t do it to prove something. To apologize for the rest of your feed or online presence. Or because you feel you have to do it to please others.
You see, #keepingitreal works both ways. There is a distinction between the desire to bring a little inspiration, beauty & encouragement to other’s lives and a need to prove, somehow, that we’re perfect.
And that distinction makes all the difference in the world.
About the Author
I’m Hannah McKay. Wife to my wonderful husband, Matthew, whom I met four years ago on eHarmony (it works! it works!). Mama to our sweet, little boy, Isaac and another sweet babe due in September. Writer over at http://www.hannahjmckay.com. I have a Masters in Journalism from Regent University. And I’m co-author of Tahosa Treasure and Winter Chase, the first two books in a series for young boys. My heart is to encourage + connect + give back through my writing and online presence.