Our society today has developed such a fake world in the realms of what we call “social media”. Spending so much time in our day scrolling though Facebook or Instagram or watching SnapStories. When you binge stalk someone on Facebook or Instagram, how do you feel after- ashamed, creepy, guilty? What good does that do for you? Seeing a picture of someone else having a great time and smiling big and looking like her life is just perfect. Well, picture perfect that is. You didn’t actually have a conversation with her to know that her life is perfect, you merely saw a picture of her on Instagram that was edited 5 different times and the caption was approved in the group text with her 10 best friends. Little do you know on the inside, she is hurting. She wants people to think her life is perfect so she reflects that on her Instagram account because when she receives 300 likes, she must be popular and loved. Because thats what love is. Getting 300 likes on a fake Instagram photo.
I’m sorry, but how skewed is that! That our culture in this world today has bought into that lie that the devil has put in our minds through social media. I went through a deep, dark depression this last semester, and I didn’t post on Facebook as a status “#depression, #can’t get out of bed today, #poppin’ anxiety medication”. Of course I didn’t do that! That would be looked at as socially unacceptable. People don’t post about their break ups, heart ache, failure, broken family, or shame. People post the highlights of their life- even if they are simply smiling through the pain. Sucking in and using a teeth whitening app to enhance their beauty. Taking 10 billion pictures to get the perfect picture to post and the one that would receive the most likes and comments. Because that means that people like you, right?! No, wrong. 300 likes on a picture doesn’t determine your significance. That definitely doesn’t define your personality, your passions, your dreams. The number of likes you get on an Instagram picture or the amount of people commenting on your profile picture telling you that you are beautiful doesn’t equate to who you are as a person. As a dearly loved child of God.
This past semester, during my depression, I struggled with an addiction to social media. That isn’t a normal thing to confess as an addiction, but that is the only way to describe the epidemic that I encountered, and I know many others struggle with too. It is more normal to hear about an addiction to pornography, or drugs, or alcohol, but social media can have the same harmful, dangerous effects. It places a fantasy image in your mind that is NOT real life. In fact, it is the farthest thing from reality that there is. For months, I would live vicariously through the lives of my Facebook friends, comparing myself to them and wishing that the lot of my life was another’s. Question- how is looking at a picture of someone else’s life on a social media page living…at all? And what good in your life does that do? I completely understand wanting to catch up with a long time friend, or looking at fun pictures from the formal last weekend, or needing information for an organization that notifies you through social media. But when it gets in the way of you actually LIVING your life, then it truly becomes a problem. An addiction. I thought social media was real life. In fact, I have learned that it is the complete opposite, which is why I am so passionate about the topic.
Life isn’t about an edited picture with a clever caption.
Life isn’t seeing a picture of an acquaintance and her super cute boyfriend on Insta, making you want a relationship and desire a super cute boyfriend as well.
Life isn’t looking at that picture from the really fun party last weekend that you didn’t go to, and then questioning if your weekend was as fun as theirs.
Life isn’t comparing your life to the girl who has 500 likes or more on every picture, and looks absolutely beautiful in every single one. Because that girl with 500 likes on her picture is a human too, with a human heart and human struggles. And God made her. Oh, and He also made the 500 people who “liked” her picture.
Life most definitely isn’t living vicariously through a phone or computer screen.
Giving up all social media and deleting it for GOOD has been one of the most freeing things I have ever done in my life. I haven’t looked back or regretted the decision once. The Lord saw that as a struggle and a hindrance in my life, and He said to me, “Meredith, just get rid of it!” Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us.” Social media sure is easy to become entangled in. It can be accessed with the slightest touch of a finger or hit of a button, and lead to despair and comparison which is a thief of JOY. Let me ask another question, why would we set ourselves up for a situation or circumstance in which we know full well that our joy will be stolen? Here is the answer- we wouldn’t. I mean, duh, people love joy! We thrive on joy, and especially the joy of the Lord which is our strength to cling to at all times (Nehemiah 8:10). But comparison through social media doesn’t provide joy, in fact, it provides the exact opposite. Comparison is a steep slope that can drag you down from having an amazing day to a horrible one, in which you begin to second guess everything about your life.
Should I have cuter clothes like that girl in the picture? Do I need to get a boyfriend to be completely content and satisfied in life? Do I need more friends to assure me of who I am as a person? Do I need to go out and do more fun things so that I can post that I do? Do I need to be more hipster or artsy to get more likes and then increase my popularity?
LISTEN to yourself. Social media is the epitome of fake. I was guilty of it before too, don’t get me wrong. People don’t post their lowest moments, they post their highlights. The moments on which they are soaring on Cloud 9, or completely faking it through an edit and a forced smile. But how would a mere observer know that the said person was hurting inside? Wouldn’t you much rather sit down to have a cup of coffee with that person than think that their life is rainbows and butterflies because of their portrayed life of perfection on social media?
If your answer to the question above is yes, then here is my advice to you: Delete it. Get rid of the thing that is holding you back from living your life the absolute fullest that Jesus came to this earth so that we could have (John 10:10). Throw off anything that is hindering your walk with the Lord (Hebrews 12:1). It is so incredibly sad to me that our generation has such a messed up vision and perspective of what life truly is. People these days are more caught up in taking a really cute picture to post the memory, than actually living in the moment and enjoying the memory. And all for what purpose does that serve? To get likes and comments to “affirm” your worth? To prove to people that your life is great and make them jealous and then compare themselves to you? Can’t your life be absolutely magnificent and wholeheartedly wonderful without a single soul knowing? We have the joy of the Lord in us and a promised eternity to spend with our Savior in Heaven forever, who CARES what everyone else is doing!!!! Live your OWN life. Pursue your dreams. Follow your heart. Do what you love. Make memories that you will tell your grandchildren one day, instead of showing them the picture you posted to Instagram. Pictures are great and I absolutely adore them, however, it is the posting part that is unnecessary to me. Life without social media has allowed me to live my own life without knowing what anyone else in the moment is doing and be completely content. Waking up every single day with an excitement in my heart of what the day ahead of me will hold. Instead of instantly scrolling through my phone, and starting my brand new day observing what everyone did the night before, and how much fun they had and I didn’t. Because it doesn’t matter, dear ones, it just doesn’t. You spend your life living through the eyes of social media, you will miss out on the simple and precious jewels that are in the random and little moments of every beautiful day we are blessed with to live. Each day we have breath in our lungs and blood in our veins, we are given a new opportunity to live, laugh, and love harder and deeper than the day before.
Life is laughing until you cry and your stomach hurts and you are rolling on the floor.
Life is getting out of the car and playing in the rain and splashing in the puddles barefoot.
Life is crying in your room alone on a Friday night over a boy, brokenhearted with mascara running down your cheeks.
Life is the friends that come to your house at 2 a.m. with gallons of Bluebell and hugs at hand.
Life is cuddling and holding hands with someone you love.
Life is going on a run and dripping sweat and getting lost in your music without a care in the world.
Life is the best queso you’ve ever tasted in your life.
Life is the deep, late night talks about life with people you care about.
Life is dance parties. Enough said.
Life is the smell of a burning candle sitting in the bubble bath with freshly painted toes and an iced green tea.
Life is smiling at a stranger, and them smiling back at you.
Life is a hug that is 3 seconds but feels like it lasts a thousand years because it came from someone who means the world to you.
Life is receiving a hand written letter of love and encouragement that fills your heart to the brim with joy.
Life is speaking to someone in their own language, and having a communication that suddenly reaches a whole another level in a beautiful, unique way.
Life is sitting on the porch with a hot vanilla latte at hand in your favorite mug listening to and watching the rain pour down softly but powerfully.
Life is sitting under the stars with a snugly blanket and being in awe of our Creator and the fact that He knows your name.
Life is sinking your toes into the sand at the beach and hearing the sound of crashing waves feeling the warm sun on your skin and the salty wind in your hair.
Life is the orange, yellow, pink, and purple delicately painted sky on your drive home.
Life is driving in the car with your best friend and the windows rolled down and Taylor Swift playing on full blast.
Life is moments. The little moments in each day that go unnoticed, but are the moments that you treasure in your heart and replay in your mind when your head hits the pillow.
Life is relationships. Rather than scrolling through social media, call up a friend you haven’t seen in ages to talk. Meet someone for coffee. Go on a walk with a person you love. Write a hand written note and send it in the mail. Sit down and spend time with your Savior. Memorize a Bible verse to fill your soul with truth.
Y’all, there is so much more to life than the edited picture you see on Instagram. The Lord literally created life so that we could live it to the full. So that we could enjoy each other’s presence and have meaningful heart to heart conversations. So that we could sing praise and worship His name. So that we could tell others about the freedom we experience through the name of Jesus Christ.
Take heart, my friends, for He has overcome. (John 16:33)