Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Social Media, Selfies & Jesus

The other day I was sitting down at my electric piano attempting to write worship music. I had started to play maybe only a few notes when all of a sudden I had this epic idea: I was going to take a photo of how 'beautiful' I've made my creative space. I mean, check it out... all the different coloured lights (sorry, colOr if you spell it the American way ;) Look at my cute little dandelions that I picked up from Ikea... and a painting I painted a few months ago... and my bright pink journal. Hashtag #HappyPlace. And you know what? My mind shifted from a place of creative focus to a less productive and more narcissistic way of thinking. What could have been a personal, intimate song-writing session with the Lord turned into a scheme of how I could get others to look into my life and one by one give me their stamp of approval. I mean, I didn't actually THINK all these things intentionally, I wasn't consciously looking for validation from anyone but if we are honest, a lot of the times, that's exactly what's going on. The reason I stopped in my tracks and decided not to post the photo was this thought: "Amy, why does anyone need to see a photo of your creative space? How will it enrich their lives? Is this about adding beauty to the world? Or is this a meaningless, 'I'm bored or need some attention from others' kind of post." I mean, there could be a million unsaid reasons why we post. The point of this blog post however is not to bash social media, but rather to start asking myself the more important questions that have to do with heart posture. Do I live my life in such a way where everything I do needs to be seen through the lens of Instagram? Am I living in a way where I'm addicted to capturing all the perfect moments (or at least on the surface they appear perfect) and broadcasting them to the world as if to say, "Hey world!! I'm alive!! I am awesome! My life is awesome!!" 

How many times have we been in mid-conversation and someone says to us, "Hahaha!! That was so funny! You should make that your status" Or, "I'm gonna tweet that". I've done this too. Now please understand me, there is NOTHING WRONG with tweeting or status updates. I get that we are all looking for human connection. However, we can abuse the system and actually be falling into the trap of self-absorption when we filter every momentevery conversation through a "is this tweet worthy?" filter. The subconscious way we live, always keeping an eye open for our next instagram-worthy photo or that clever facebook status, says many things, but one thing strongly in particular: we are always thinking about ourselves. Now maybe you're reading this and you're thinking, "I don't care what people think of me. I don't compare myself to others or seek their approval". Well then try this experiment: post a photo, or a status and then don't check it for at least a day. We say we don't care but we're constantly checking to see who gave us the thumbs up. It's a disease we have. The average person checks their phone about 50 times a day. For some, I'm sure the number is twice that.

The word Selfie became an official word in 2013. We've become so addicted to taking photos of ourselves that this very action got it's own name/definition in the dictionary! 

  1. a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.
    "occasional selfies are acceptable, but posting a new picture of yourself everyday isn't necessary"

How Interesting, that within the definition itself it  says, "typically shared via social media". So not only do we take a photo of ourselves, but we need to share it with the 878 friends we have on Facebook. The question is why? What does showing our face to the world whether all dulled up or #natural say about us? Whether or not we agree, or even realize, the truth is we are communicating. Unfortunately we're probably not communicating the things we really hope to. Perhaps we've been lead to believe that posting a photo of ourselves every day says, "I'm confident in who I am". But actually, and I love this quote, "Confidence is silent, insecurity is loud... And true beauty isn't a try-hard, it just is". Insecurity is always screaming out for attention. Insecurity is always needing to prove itself. Let me take a moment and speak to the ladies: how hard is it for us girls when we go out somewhere, whether on a date, or go out with friends (and we look good!!!) ... how hard is it to resist taking a photo of ourselves? We think, "Dang... I look good. It would almost be a crime NOT to take a photo!". Haha!! And I'm laughing because I'm a woman! I know how it goes!! It is so hard for us to just be. It is so hard for us to embrace the moment, let it come, and let it go. We constantly need the proof. We're not beautiful until we have the proof.

Okay, so please know, selfies are not the devil. In fact, when you have friends and family living on the other side of the country or globe, seeing their faces can be a treat. What is more, you can still be completely self-absorbed and not take any selfies. You can be that person who posts scripture verses all the time for the purpose of trying to get people to believe you are the most spiritual person around. You can post pictures of your food 24/7, or your workout sessions so people know how well you cook or how fit you are. Even those stay-at-home moms who post a dozen photos of their adorable children and every happy moment with their husbands and family to show how picture perfect their life is. Really, we can turn ANY POST into a selfish endeavor. It all comes back to our heart posture and the WHY.

I may get into trouble for writing this blog and perhaps it will rub some people the wrong way, but let me stress, this post is not to cast judgement. Remember, I'm talking to myself. I'm navigating through the world of social media alongside all of you. God stopped me in my tracks a few days ago and I've been impacted ever since. I need to stop allowing social media to be a source of validation. If I never post another photo ever again, will I still believe I am having fun? What if we just stopped thinking about ourselves all together, would we have more space in our brain to see the people around us as people we could serve and heal, instead of people we are in competition with? Depression and anxiety are running rampant in this day and age. I believe a lot of it has to do with the sin of comparison. Constantly evaluating our lives, our worth, by comparing ourselves to those we see every single day through the screens of our smart phones. 

Life is beautiful. I understand we want to capture some of these beautiful moments. In fact, I love Instagram for that reason. It's a collection of memories that are special to me. But everything must be done in moderation and with intentionality. Just because it was a good time doesn't mean I need to share it publicly. Lets discern with the Holy Spirit how to function with this new modern technology. Lets let our lives and our Instagram feeds scream, "Jesus first, others second, me last..." And how about this, how about instead of posting every time we have the urge, why not posting every other time we have the urge? Why don't we be really picky about what we post so that we're not just throwing up all over social media absolutely everything we think/feel/do. 

God's heart for you, for me, is not that we remain insecure. Girl, you ARE beautiful already. When Satan told Eve "You will be able to be like God if you eat of the tree" it was the greatest deception in the history of our world, and she fell for it. Because guess what? She was ALREADY like God. She was made in His image! What a sad, sad story. Eve failed to see who she ALREADY WAS. The enemy gives us empty promises, tries to get us to sell ourselves only to obtain something we already have and already are. We are beautiful. We are loved. Our lives are beautiful. This same principle can of course be applied to men. You are ALREADY enough. Lets stop all of our striving. 

True beauty isn't a try-hard... it just is. And YOU ARE.

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