“How do you feel after you scroll through Instagram?”
I used to think that question was pretty dumb. What do you mean how do I feel? It’s just Instagram.
Well, this week I think I really understood it for the first time.
I’ve felt FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you’re wondering) after seeing friends’ and followers’ posts on their international adventures. Sure. And I’ve absolutely coveted an outfit or two that I’ve spotted in a pal’s photo.
But I’ve never felt quite as inadequate as I have on social media this week.
I don’t guess I’ve ever seen so many proposals, marriages, new cities, jobs and baby announcements as I have scrolling through Facebook and Instagram in recent months. As I approach college graduation (29 days!), my breath and heartbeat are picking up speed in anticipation of what’s around the corner, and I feel like all the best gifts might be used up by the time I get there.
A daydreamer by nature, I’m already so tempted to conjure up these splendid ideas of what my future will look like (picture butterflies and rainbows and endless joy and travel for just a glimpse). Add into that glittery mix the picture-perfect presentations of friends’ lives on social media and I am a mess.
“My ‘now’ sure doesn’t look like theirs,” I tell myself.
“Well, what are you doing wrong?” myself throws back. “If you would’ve done this and said this and followed them and posted this you’d look and live just like them…”
Blah, blah, blah.
I let my inner critic run wild with all the lies and fears and doubts that she’s so well-endowed with. I picked out every detail of every flaw I own and came to the conclusion that my future was hopeless. I’d never look like the people I know and follow on social. Even more heart-shattering, I decided I’d never live up to my own dreams for the future.
I call nonsense.
Not just for me, but for you, too.
We all have our dreams, our skills, our gifts. And, just like me, we all fall victim to comparison. And, just like me, we’ve got to stop! We’re not only limiting ourselves, but, as believers, we’re also limiting the power of God in us.
For those reasons plus a number more that we couldn’t ever fully comprehend, the Lord’s got some words about comparison and envy.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
I’m not assuming that just because you sometimes want the good things in others’ lives for yourself that you aren’t trusting God’s good blessings, but I am encouraging you (and myself, 100 percent) to take a step back from social media, look at the Father and remind yourself that He gives good gifts.
While you’re there, remind yourself that His riches are unending. God’s gifting others with some of life’s best gifts does not mean in the slightest that He’ll have less to give to you. He’s the Creator of everything: there’s plenty to go around.
Thank Him, even if you’re struggling to feel grateful. Acknowledging Him and His goodness in our pits of sinfulness rises us up faster than anything. His glory can’t be found among the darkness–God’s light-filled presence drives it all away!
As for me this week, my social media accounts have been taken off my home screen for some time to be grateful for who I am and what I have.