Sometimes when I’m very passionate about something, I go on rants and could talk and talk about it forever. So hopefully, this does not turn into just a rant…Instead, I hope it speaks some truth about a trap that our culture has fallen into.
Social media is awesome. But it also sucks.
It has created a culture where people are constantly morphing this 'perfect' image. We only post certain pictures, stories, quotes, adventures, videos, etc. We only share the things that fit the descriptions of ourselves that we want everyone else to see and believe. We use filters. We use subtweets. We use photo shop. We count 'likes' and compare followers. We pretend to take candid photos that aren't really candid at all. We share what we want to share. Oftentimes we post with our only goal in mind being to get the most likes. I say we, because I know that I do it right alongside a huge percent of people using these social media websites.
In general, social media is either fake, or is only part of the picture. Even if we're posting true things, our profiles never fully capture everything about who we are. Usually, our profiles portray everything that we wish we could be, everything that we think we're supposed to be, or everything that we want others to think about us.
Click on the explore tab on Instagram and I can guarantee you will immediately see a girl in a bikini somewhere on a beach living the dream, with way more followers and likes than you will ever have. Scroll through your feed and all you see is everyone's summer vacations, pictures with their boyfriends/girlfriends, fun adventures, perfectly captioned photos, etc. Then, you go on twitter and everyone is talking about relationship goals, the ideal love, and then subtweeting when their mad, upset, or too afraid to say something to someone for reals. Head on over to Snapchat and see some people's stories where they make sure they documented every single party they went to that week just to make sure everyone knows how much ‘fun’ their lives are.
Hopefully, you see the point.
Now I'll be the first to tell you that I stress out over what I should caption my photo because I want people to like it. I compare my profile to other people's profiles. I get jealous and wish I could be at a beach somewhere instead of sitting on by bedroom floor with tears in my eyes because of an online summer class that drives me insane. I know for a fact that I'm on social media wayyy too much.
But I also know I'm not the only one because this is the culture and mindset that social media has created.
Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great things about social media. The issue is that over time, society has grown so attached to scrolling through every newsfeed that our entire way of thinking has shifted. Social media is powerful. It can be powerful in good ways. But without us even realizing most of the time, it can also be powerfully dangerous.
Sometimes I catch myself trapped in this social media mindset. I want only my 'good sides' on my profile because I can't let people know that I actually don't have it all together. So then I scroll through and see all these other people whose lives are actually together. Or, so it seems.
It gets even worse. We've put up a front for so long that when we step back and attempt to spend time with Christ, that front never goes away. We try to hide the bad stuff. We make sure to highlight the parts of our lives that seem worthy of being seen by Christ. We don't open up and surrender, because that is just way too vulnerable and way too real. Do we really even know what's real nowadays?
We can't find God because we're trying to dig our way through the mess of ourselves that we've learned to hide away instead of deal with and be real about.
This can transfer over to all our other relationships as well. Maybe it's been this way for a long time and social media has just revealed it. But the truth is most of the time when someone asks how you're doing, a simple "I'm good" is far from it. Even when friends or family reach out to help, it becomes normal to highlight all the highs and avoid talking about the lows. We don't want to be real and reveal that there's so much more to us than our profiles show.
Hiding from people halts relationships and erodes them slowly until there's nothing left. Hiding from God can have the same devastating effect.
Maybe we think that by avoiding God when we're trapped in our doubts, sin, or shame, He sees us as "good."
But really our hiding is completely pointless and tragic. God sees through every façade. No matter how hard we try to conceal everything we’re ashamed of, God sees right through us.
The only thing your façade does is traps your heart in a cage along with all those other burdens you now have to carry alone.
It’s time to let it go.
Because God doesn't just see everything that we posted on all our social media accounts, He sees everything that we didn't post. He sees our deepest hurts. He knows ours fears. He sees our sin. He knows all our thoughts. He sees our shame. He knows every doubt. He sees it all so there's no purpose in hiding it away. Hiding brings separation between you and Christ. It builds a confusing path and begins to blur the way when you're trying to grow closer to Him. It doesn't create a fulfilling relationship. Instead, it leaves you lonely, empty, and even more lost than you were before.
God sees you in a different way that sometimes is hard to wrap your head around. You're not "good" when you hide everything behind you. You're not even "good" when everything is out in the open. God sees you as LOVED. Your past, your present, your future... in every moment God sees you as His child whom He loves in an unconditional way that you can't even begin to fathom. In fact, part of the reason He wants you and me to be real with Him about all our struggles and hardships is because He wants to help. He wants to take away our hurt. He wants to heal our broken hearts. He wants to diminish our fears. He wants to rid us of our guilt and shame from our sins that keep adding up. He wants to unlock the cage and free us from the mess that we created for ourselves.
So just be real. Be real with your friends. Be real with your family. Be real with God. Be real even when you’re afraid what everyone else might think. Be real even when it allows people to see that you actually don’t have it all together. Be real even when you’re afraid that the mess in your life is too much for Christ to carry…because it never is. The power of unconditional love is more powerful than any mess we try to hide.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting!” –Psalm 139:23-24