My struggle with Instagram

"I could ask myself a few questions before sharing, like: what is the purpose of this picture/video/boomerang? Am I seeking validation from strangers? Am I simply adding to the noise? Is this content going to encourage anyone? Help anyone? Brighten someone's day?"

I read this essay by Ashlee Gadd and just sighed out relief. Yes. This is exactly what I am feeling and trying to put into words but couldn't and Ashlee did it so brilliantly. I love instagram and social media and believe there is so much good that comes with it. I am often encouraged, inspired, learnt something and overall am able to keep up with people's lives whom I love. Yet, all at the same time I feel defeated and consumed by all the noise. I feel like I have to produce to be validated and the comparing game and feeling inadequate is strong. I often don't need to fill my few spare moments looking at others lives and what they are eating or drinking or wearing or who they are hanging out with it that day and ten minutes scrolling instagram normally doesn't feel life giving when I'm done.

I want to use social media for good - or again - how Ashlee beautifully writes (seriously read her writing!) "I want to walk beside you, on this very weird internet thing, and be an uplifting voice in your day. I want to take huge pauses in between each click. I want to be intentional. I want to be slow. I want to be a good steward of this space. I want to make it count."

I want this too. I don't want you dreading seeing my insta story or post knowing that it will be another picture elevating my life and making you compare it to yours. I don't want that but I have struggled with knowing how to create an uplifting space on my social media. I ask myself these questions Ashlee posed all the time when I am thinking about posting and then never end up submitting it because somewhere along the lines it doesn't seem all that important. And as these days of not posting have turned into weeks and now as I have been intentionally living this out for two months - the urge and desire I once felt to post has faded. There is huge freedom that has come with living my life unseen and I am loving it. 

If you don't know my word for 2018 is unseen. You can check out that post here. God has been working on me to produce for Him and no one else - and understanding that the things I want to produce and do for Him is not cute coffee shops pictures or perfectly styled photos or selfies or showing off my great life to anyone else. I don't want to spend time on those things - I want to spend time having strangers in my home and singing praises to God on the top of my lungs even though I sound horrible.  I want to live my days serving my husband and family and that doesn't look glamorous. I want to be up early, bible open needing God's word as my daily bread and not caring if anyone else knows I am reading my bible or not because I know it's not for them.

I am finding the addiction and coolness of instagram and social media in general really fades away when my focus is on real people having face to face interactions. Everyone knows the statistics. We are the most connected generation and the most lonely.  We crave real community - we were created for it - for face to face conversations and living life alongside each other - not watching our instagram feeds.

I am so thankful for my word this year and the insane amount of hard work Jesus has been doing on me, these past two months. I know we still have ten months to go and a lifetime of work on me in this area but I want to say that living unseen is so freeing. Friends, it is so good to live your life for an audience of one. Life is more enjoyable when you aren't trying to produce an image and you leave your phone off every once in a while. I am not hating on the internet or social media - Instagram is my favourite app and I still go on it a lot. I think sometimes the church always paints social media in a negative light and I want to be quick to say how much good can come from it but be honest that too much consumption can be suffocating.

So here I am. Feeling freedom to not share everything anymore and live more unseen and yet knowing instagram is a great platform to encourage, build up and share what the Lord is teaching me..and also keep friends and family up to date with my babies:) I am experiencing such a tension and really wanting to be more intentional if and when I post. I will continue to ask these questions Ashlee posed and really encourage you if you are feeling this tension to consider them too. I hope to figure out in these next couple months a good balance, a rhythm of sorts of being online and being hidden. I know I am definitely in a season of hiding - where it's just me and Jesus hanging out as I get to know His word better. I can sense Him preparing me in the secret because I know there will be a season coming where I will live more publicly so I am cherishing this season and trying to glean everything He has for me in it.  But I love Instagram and am learning so much from such incredible Jesus-following-women that I want to still connect and glean the good stuff from it too.

So here's to the tension. To wanting to make my presence online count for something more than a selfie or coffee shop picture. To wanting to be more intentional about what I post and when I post. To wanting my small space on the internet to breathe life into you and encourage you right where you are at. To cheer one another one in this journey and uplift each other as we run our own race in our own lanes.

Here's to learning to live more unseen.

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