I think I’m going dark on all platforms except Instagram. Photography is something I am genuinely passionate about. I love capturing candid interactions; I love documenting moments. I also deeply enjoy reading, learning, sharing, expressing myself, and encouraging other people. I like meeting other women who love Jesus and life. And Instagram has the potential to be a means for all of these things!
There are many opinions about social media floating around today.
“You idolize it. Only using it for your own self-validation.”
“It discourages you because you are constantly comparing yourself to others.”
“Do you only stare at your phone? You document every single moment. Get off, go outside.”
“You are finding far too much worth in how many followers you have or likes you get. It’s dangerous to your relationship with Jesus and others.”
There are plenty more stances on social media but these are ones I hear about most often. And the ones I have probably related to at one point or another.
I used to wrestle with my activity on social media platforms. I am at my core a creative, passionate, expressive, people-loving person. Social media is a fun means for this type of person! Right? Doesn’t that make sense? But I wrestled because I never wanted it to become an idol. I never wanted to give someone the impression that I needed the world’s validation to feel good or confident.
I was paralyzed in a sense. Paralyzed by all the rants against social media in the Christian world. It’s like I wrestled with posting because I didn’t want people assuming that I had fallen into the pit of: “I’m posting this photo because I want people to like it, I want people to compliment me, I want people to know that I love Jesus, or that I work out, or eat healthy, etc etc.” Even though I knew deep down inside that wasn’t my true heart.
After fleshing out my thoughts with John, he says, “You know, if people assume something false about you because of something you share, that person probably doesn’t you well enough, so you shouldn’t give them any thought.” Simple…. and brilliant. (Thank you, God, for my husband.)
After that, I let go. If I wanted to post a picture of my morning coffee and share a quote from the book I was reading, I did. If I wanted to post 5 times a day because I was in a cool new city exploring, I would. If I wanted to share something cool I was learning, I’d snap a photo of my current situation and share it. I felt free.
Instagram is not an enemy of mine. The way I desire to use this tool is okay. In fact, it can be great! (I’m now coming to realize.) That day I also started praying —
God, I genuinely want my IG account to encourage and uplift people. I want what I share to make someone smile, or to help them feel like they aren’t alone. I want to glorify you with this platform. I want my IG account to be a place that refreshes people. I want to meet other women who love the Lord, who are actively seeking life and joy, who love other people well. I want this account to be a means of grace, a Light for a dark day. I want it to be a creative outlet for me, and a way for I myself to be inspired.
After that I felt true freedom. Instagram — the world’s view of it, and what other people think of me — is no longer a chain, but a simple, fun, interactive, enjoyable, creative tool for me to use to be salt and light, and to express the curly-haired woman God desires for me to be.
And He has transformed it into just that I think. I have had a handful of people say that my account encourages them. Praise God! Super cool.
All of that to say, my desire is simplicity, and to withdraw my energies on the other platforms to decrease my screen time, while satisfying my expressive, creative, communicating side without getting over-stimulated. I don’t want to live my life staring at a screen. I never want to sacrifice people for technology. Life is full, and I want to experience every minute of it, the depth and richness of moments…..
…with my camera ready. :)
I’ll love to meet you/invite you into the fun: @eubankchels