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Instagram Is Not Real Life

I left the United States 60 days ago, and already my Instagram is filled with beautiful pictures of amazing things that I have done.

My squad has gone bamboo rafting, rode elephants, pet tigers, climbed waterfalls, gone cliff jumping, relaxed at resorts, and cuddled with some of the cutest kids I have ever seen. To look at my Instagram or at my albums on Facebook you might think this was all some grand adventure full of fun and exciting times.

I don’t know how to express how much of a lie that is.

Have I gotten to do some really cool things that I would have probably never gotten to do in the states? Yes, but those really cool things that I have done have filled up about 10 days out of the time I have been here so far. Have I gotten to hold some really cute children? Yes, but you didn’t see them about 3 minutes before that punching each other in the dirt.

The World Race is really hard. Don’t let the pictures fool you.

What you don’t see is what is behind the pictures. You don’t see that half the team has stomach issues. You don’t see that there is no running water. You don’t see that the team lives in a shipping container. You don’t see the rats, mosquitos, beetles, and cockroaches that live with us. You don’t see that community is really really hard.


This picture is a great example. Here is my team, we are posing like statues for a scavenger hunt in Thailand. We look like we are having silly fun times. What you don’t see is that about 10 minutes later and for the next month we fought all the time. We had to work really hard to communicate well. We had to apologize to each other multiple times for attitudes and communication problems. We had to choose each other.

I have wanted to hop on the next plane back to America and have a hot shower and a comfortable bed. I have wanted to be with my friends who know me so well that I don’t have to explain every single thing I do. I have wanted to be with people I choose, eat the food I choose, attend the church I choose, and work the job I choose.

Instead I am letting God do the choosing. I am pursuing the relationships HE has placed me in. I am investing in the ministry that HE has put me in. I am embracing the living conditions that HE has given me.

In doing so I am learning how to rely on God. I am learning how to be thankful for his provision. I am learning to choose to love those around me. But most of all I am learning to see beyond things as they are.

I am learning to look deeper past the surface level of peoples actions and words. I am learning to not just see the highlight reel that social media portrays, but to search for the stories behind the pictures. I am learning to listen to God as he speaks truth to me about the people around me, even when it seems to conflict with what I see.

I am learning to see beyond the Instagram version of life.