We live in an inauthentic society. Social media has paved the way for people to show only their best selves online while saving their imperfections for themselves. What once was a platform for sharing and connecting with others has quickly become a place that fuels comparison and the need to be perfect.
What I’ve noticed, as a Gen Zen, is that my generation is good at faking perfection. Life is not a Pinterest board or a perfectly curated Instagram feed. Things are not always going to be “aesthetically pleasing.” I might not get all the things that I want or that would make me look the way I want, but isn’t that the point?
When we start to put hope in what this life can offer us or even hope in ourselves, we end up broken, unsatisfied, and hopeless.
You might be wondering if I think our society encourages self-destructive behavior through the promotion of social media, blogs, and other self-promoting content. Absolutely! As a young adult, I am constantly being bombarded with self-help practices (that never work by the way). Things like a social media fast, a new fad diet, “10 ways to reconnect with yourself,” and so many other things that may seem helpful but will only lead to dissatisfaction.
We live in a broken world that only knows how to bandage a wound. We get tips and tricks that keep us striving or are given unhealthy coping and numbing solutions in hopes to make the situation less painful. When the “solution” wears off or doesn’t work, we’re left with a sense of hopelessness and wanting more.
How many times have you gotten to the place you were working toward, looked around, and asked yourself, “Is this it?” I have on multiple occasions. What a heart-sinking feeling it is. Being promised satisfaction and fulfillment if I keep striving, keep working, but being left with nothing substantial. This is what our culture promises us and what social media lies to us about.
As a Gen Zen, I fear that this cycle is where our generation is headed if we lack hope.
What Is Hope?
Merriam-Webster describes hope as an expectation of fulfillment or success. This could look like a job promotion, finding a spouse, completing a degree, finding oneself, losing weight, or anything else.
The flaw in this definition is that fulfillment or success is all subjective, meaning that someone’s definition of success or fulfillment is pretty fluid. On top of that, all of these examples of hope are fleeting and temporary. A job promotion can lead to dissatisfaction if your boss is difficult, your spouse can and will fail you at times, losing weight isn’t a goal that provides long-term hope.
If all of these goals will eventually disappoint us in one way or another, then what are we to have hope in?
How Can We Find Hope?
As a generation, we need to find hope that is not based on temporary circumstances but based on something eternal, something bigger than our lives, bigger than ourselves.
As a Christ-follower, I put my hope in God because I trust Him. When looking at the Bible, it describes hope as not an expectation of success and materialism in this world; it’s defined as the expectation of God’s promises being fulfilled, which we can only experience through faith. As a Christ-follower, hope is not just a desire for something to happen, it’s the expectation that God will do the things He said He would. His hope gives us true fulfillment that leaves us restored and hopeful.
This life is hard enough as it is I personally can’t imagine going through life without the established hope and faith in God. He is who I turn to when times get hard because I know He has a plan for my life.
When we trust and put our hope in God, we give up the keys to our lives and let Him drive. This realization that I’m not in control has allowed me so much more freedom and has given me hope for the future because I know it’s already taken care of.
When we start to put hope in God and His promises, we end up feeling complete, satisfied, and hopeful.