I ran into a family friend recently. We hugged and caught up on the latest. Then she looked at me and said this: "I see your stuff online and it looks great. But are things really going well behind the scenes?"
Wow! What a question. I had never been asked that before.
Then she explained what she meant. People can post happy, positive things online all day long. But some times what people put on the internet looks a lot happier and better than their everyday life really is. Plenty of folks can do this without even realizing it. Others can do this intentionally, with the desire to look good in the eyes of the public.
I'm glad she asked that question. It said a lot about how deep she thinks. And it got me thinking about online posting vs. real living.
Know that every person you see online has peaks and valleys along the way. Nobody's life is perfect. Mine sure isn't. And neither is yours. Every life has some sunshine, and every life has some rain. That's just reality.
Think about it...
A married couple can post online a picture of themselves hugging and smiling. And that's great! But it's possible that same couple had a big disagreement after the picture was snapped.
A child holds up a trophy he won and a picture of him is posted online by his parents. And that's great! But it's possible this same child was disrespectful to his parents and sent to his room that same afternoon.
I could go on and on. But I think you get my point. We're just talking about reality here. I'm not trying to be a downer at all; however, I am wanting us all to remember that even the best of lives has its sour moments.
So what difference should this knowledge make in our lives? Well...
 Remember that people who post things online are normal human beings just like you. They have strengths and weaknesses. They have ups and downs. They have awesome days and rotten days. And just like your life is imperfect, so is theirs. Never assume they have it all together just because they post happy thoughts and cool pictures.
 Refuse to compare your life to that of someone who posts things online. That'll drive you nuts. It's hard to enjoy your own life when you're competing with other people. Besides, they are just showing you a picture that took one second to snap. You're not seeing pictures of the other 23 hours and 59 seconds of that day. Most people are smart enough NOT to air out online everything in their lives. And they shouldn't! That wouldn't be a healthy thing to do at all.
 The way to get to know people as they truly are is through real, face-to-face relationships. We can look at stuff people put on the internet all day and all night, but that alone does not enable us to really know the totality of who they are inside and out. Interpersonal relationships are always way better than online peaks into each other's lives.
I'm all for technology. Obviously I use it for posting my thoughts on this blog. And I like doing it.
But may you and I remember this: What people post online is just a tiny snippet of their lives. And there is much more to them than what we see through the tiny technological window they have opened. They are real people, just like you. Pray for them. Have realistic expectations of them. And don't compare yourself to them.
At the end of the day, we're all just ordinary people who have flaws and need God's grace. And we all are works in progress. Let's keep this in mind when we see each other online.