Life Online: When My Motivations Are Ugly

In Uncategorized by Madison Mayberry27 Comments

photoLast weekend I did something a little bit crazy: I started working on crafting our Christmas cards. In October. We took our photos incredibly early this year because, after years of taking our photos in the freezing cold of mid-November, I promised myself last year that we would take the photos when it was still warm and pretty outside for a more pleasant experience. And because Joe got braces last week, he preferred to have the photos taken before his 3-month stint with the extra hardware on his teeth.

Like last year, I just couldn’t fathom spending so much money on overpriced cards from Minted, no matter how pretty the gold foil might be, so I designed a little message in Photoshop and had the cards printed for less than $15 from Target Photo. Then, I decided to back them on craft paper and tie a ribbon on top, which was a lot more work than Minted but saved a bunch of money. Worth it? I think so, especially when I got a 3 month jump start on the whole process.

While I was crafting the cards on Saturday night while watching football with Joe, I snapped the photo above and posted it to Instagram. And immediately after doing so, I got a pit in the bottom of my stomach. I realized that what I really wanted in that moment was to hear people say nice things about my family, about how cute we looked and how crafty and on top of my game I was for making my cards so far in advance. My motivations were not pure. In fact, the heart behind my post was a little bit ugly.

You see, since I got back from Influence, I’ve been thinking a lot about my online life. About what type of message I put out on social media and about the intentions behind what I post. Most of the time when I post something to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter it’s because it’s a joyful moment or because I want to share our life with others or because I want to start a conversation and keep things real. But other times, like last weekend, I use social media as a tool to build myself up, and that’s just wrong. It wasn’t that the image itself was bad, since personally I like to look at pretty pictures on Instagram more than I like seeing photos of a messy kitchen counter. It was a heart issue.

That photo in our Christmas card above? Well the day it was taken, my birthday, I was behaving like a spoiled child. I snapped at my mom, who graciously agreed to take our photo, and got frustrated with our dogs, who weren’t in the mood to cooperate for a photo when there were birds to bark at. I complained about the way my legs looked and my relentless pregnancy headache. The entire day I acted like the worst type of birthday princess imaginable.

Although we send out a shiny, polished Christmas card each year (with both dogs looking at the camera, none the less!) what I really want to write in my Christmas card letter this year is this:

“Merry Christmas from the Hofmeyers! In our photo we may look like we’ve got it all together, but we don’t. We’re perfectly imperfect and incredibly thankful for a Savior who came to this earth to  die for our sins.”

In fact, if you get a card from us this year, don’t be surprised if I include a little something like that in our letter. I’m totally serious!

I would love to hear from you. How do you decide what to post online? (Or is it even something you think about?)