Tell me I’m not the only one who does this . . .
Scroll, scroll, scroll.
Oh, that’s cute. Whoa—really cute.
Tap on the user profile.
Every single one of these photos is flawless.
Continue browsing her perfect profile.
She’s crazy pretty.
Browse her photos some more.
Oh, this girl’s cute, too!
Go to her user profile.
All of her photos are also just as adorable and stunning.
Before I know it, I’ve spent a big chunk of my day staring at someone’s beautiful, unique Instagram photos, and I’m left with an intense empty feeling. It feels like discontent mixed with insecurity with a touch of disappointment.
Then the questions start:
How is her life so stunning and perfect?
Why does my life feel so ordinary?
How is every single one of her posts so picture perfect?
Seriously, how does she take such perfect photos?
Why is my life so . . . lame?
I’ve scrolled my way through my fair share of Instagram Envy. You too? But the answer isn’t found in learning to take better photos or write better captions. The real answer and solution to that empty, insecure, and disappointed feeling is found when we take God’s truth and shine it on our hearts.
When social media has you feeling less than, your heart needs God’s truth.
A perfect profile is just an illusion.
On social media, we post highlights. The good stuff. The celebrations, the happy times, the pretty things. But let’s be real: No one’s life is perfect. There’s a real person behind that phone—a person who struggles and needs Jesus just as much as you do.
There’s a real person behind that phone—a person who struggles and needs Jesus just as much as you do.
Before you get discouraged by someone’s “perfect” life, remember that they’re posting what they want you to see—not their heartaches, mess-ups, and mistakes. You’re only seeing a small piece, not the whole thing.
Comparison is a bummer.
When it comes to comparison, I feel like a pro. So I can tell you from experience, it’s just not worth it. Comparison steals our joy and makes us feel like losers. At its root, you’ll find discontentment, a lie that causes us to question God’s sovereignty and His goodness. In Philippians 4:11–13, we’re challenged to be content in all things, not to compare our circumstances, possessions, and personalities with everyone else. Take a look:
For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(For more on this, check out “Lay Aside the Weight of Discontentment.”)
Social media doesn’t define your worth.
Likes don’t make or break you. Followers don’t mean you’re truly loved. Social media doesn’t—and can’t—define your worth.
But I do understand the struggle to think it does. Yeah, likes can be affirming. They make us feel good. And more followers make us feel like somebody. But behind the desire to be liked and followed is a raw longing to be loved and cared about. Jesus loves and cares about you unconditionally. God’s Word reminds us that we don’t need to run to the empty cisterns of social media when we have access to the well of Living Water (Jer. 2:13). Your Creator defines your worth.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
When God created you, He formed you with a much greater purpose than sharing enviable photos with your followers. He created you to glorify Him and to be on mission for Christ. Social media is just a tool to be used to serve that purpose. It’s a means to an end—not the end.
“Today is not about likes.”
My job description says “social media manager,” and I need to be reminded of God’s perspective on social media just about every ten minutes. It’s crazy how quickly I get buried in numbers and likes, comparison and discontenment. This truth digs me out: Today is not about likes. It’s about serving and loving Jesus Christ. I say it over and over to myself every day.
Today is not about likes. It’s about serving and loving Jesus Christ.
Maybe you need the reminder, too. Today? It’s not about likes at all. It’s about learning to serve and love Jesus Christ more faithfully and more deeply.
Go ahead, close Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, and spend time in the Word, go for coffee with a good friend, or go for a run. And pray that God would empower you to live in the reality that there’s so much more to live for than likes.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:11–14).
Do you get buried in discontentment and comparison via social media? Is there something that helps dig you out? Let me know! I love hearing from you. And if you’d like to dig a little deeper, check out this great post: A Social Media Heart Check.