Have you ever wondered why people are fascinated with other people? Take social media, for example. Enough followers on Instagram, for instance, can make you a minor league celebrity. The royal wedding made major headlines because, well, it was a royal wedding! Who doesn’t dream about palaces and horse-drawn carriages and cathedrals at one’s wedding, especially if you are female? I am right there with you. I get excited every time I get a new follower on Instagram, am always hoping people won’t just like my posts but will also comment on them, and will unabashedly say that Princess Kate is my favorite celebrity. But why?
I think it is because we assume that these people, these popular or wealthy (or both) people, have figured out how to avoid the human struggle and are now living the good life. Based on the pictures we see, the descriptions we read and the details we hear, we think that they achieved self-actualization, that place where they are perfectly content with life as it is. We are intrigued by their smiles, their apparel, their accessories, and how they spend their free time. Perhaps if we study them enough, follow them long enough and model our lives after theirs our lives will be a bit more satisfying; perhaps our struggle to be content, joyful, peaceful and more secure in our own identities will subside just a little. These assumptions are probably subconsciously thought, but they are thought just the same and in the process we forget that rich and famous people are people too. Their humanity just happens to be missing from their posts and pictures.
But the good life isn’t found in a life free of hardship but within it. It’s found in accepting the human struggle as a necessity in shaping our identity. It’s found in embracing the roller coaster of human emotion and experience as an opportunity to encounter the grace and mercy of God and testify of His reality to those with us on the ride. I believe that the more difficulties we face, the more hardships we endure, the more struggles we encounter, the more well-rounded and mature we become as individuals. We can better empathize, support, listen, and rejoice. As the Apostle James reminds us, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
This past year has not been without hardship, sorrow, or difficulty for me and mine. My first instinct is to complain and despair; but over and over and over again, Jesus guides and provides. Looking back, I am thankful for each trial and how it shaped me as an individual. I am not planning on removing myself entirely from social media any time soon or catching up with the Royal family when I have the chance, but ultimately I want more of Jesus in my life. I need to love His voice more than ever so that He can help me lead a balanced life; one that is filled with hard work, sincere service, a readiness to rejoice, and adequate time of resting at His feet, basking in His love. That is the best part of a good life.