I’m so thankful for all of you who reached out with kind and encouraging words after my post on Tuesday. In the last paragraph I wrote:
I’m writing this to let you know that I’m hurting, but I’m hopeful. I’m writing this because it’s cathartic for me and hitting publish feels brave. I’m writing this because maybe you’ve wondered when the Tilmeses will have a baby and you didn’t realize we’re wondering that, too. I’m writing this because I want to invite you into the messy middle and then you’ll share in our deep joy when we finally get to share that our family is growing.
There’s one more line I want to add: I’m writing this in case you know the feeling because I hate thinking you might feel alone.
Instagram is great, but we need to understand it as a platform that’s most-often used to share the highlights. Let’s say you’re bored at a red light, so you open Instagram to see what’s new. In twelve seconds of scrolling you see:
- A photo of a proposal
- The highly-anticipated college acceptance
- An immaculate living room littered only with plants (posted by a mom with 4 kids!)
- A kiss captured at the altar above an affectionate anniversary note (because the internet needs to know how we feel about our husbands!)
- A birthday shoutout from a party you weren’t invited to (otherwise you would have posted the same photo for someone else to scroll by twice, duh!)
- An elated couple holding up a sonogram
- That stylish girl gang paired with a thoughtful caption about how life is too good alongside friends like this.
And then the light turns green and you’re left to wonder when it will all start happening for you, the girl driving a 2012 4-door sedan.
But while you’re considering when your life will become worthy enough to slap a VSCO filter on a photo you took two weeks ago and wait for the likes to roll in, you don’t realize how long @LuvMyBoyfriend99 wondered when a man would finally show interest in her. You miss the fact that for years, @MyFriendsRForeverFriends felt like she put more into friendships than she got back (and probably still feels insecure about it).
Instagram posts can mask our pain or celebrate what we’ve long-been hoping would happen to us. When we hit “share,” we understand the emotions that we’re either suppressing (bored, insecure, unfulfilled, jealous) or showcasing (happy! thankful! content! accomplished!) in our post. But, we ignore the fact that everyone else’s posts are also masking pain or celebrating something long-awaited. Instead, we assume we’re the only one feeling lonely in our waiting.
If you’re in a season of waiting — I see you and I get you. And I want to tell you what I know for sure:
In the age of Instagram, God is all about the long game.
I’m talking about a God who wasn’t surprised by the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. A God who named Abraham the father of nations and wasn’t nervous that his wife wouldn’t have a son until she was 90. A God who had a plan to redeem the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus in his thirties, but chose for him to be born a baby.
Instagram makes us believe it’s all instant. I believe in a God who understands long-suffering, calls faithfulness a fruit, and shows up in the waiting.
So the next time you’re bored at a red light, consider thinking about how God has used your season of waiting to draw you closer to him; to make you fruitful in faithfulness. Listen and let him say “I understand how you’re feeling.”
And then, when the light turns green, trust that God is all about the long game; that he sees you and gets you, the girl driving the 2012 4-door sedan.
You might not relate to my story exactly, but I’m committed to sharing this messy middle so that even one person might feel less alone in hers.