For several months, I have been in this endless and frustrating cycle of deleting and reinstalling Instagram. I can easily defer from Twitter and Facebook, but there is a weird grip that Instagram has on me.
It has taken some time to identify the root of my personal Instagram bondage; the root is my selfish desire to be known.
LONGING TO BE KNOWN
People literally decide to like your posted photo while scrolling through Instagram. They make the choice to tell you whether they like your picture, and in my mind I warped this notion into thinking people were making the choice on whether or not they like me. This is a treacherous mindset.
After I would post a story on Instagram, I would find myself looking at the views and wondering what people thought of me. Most of these people, “followers”, I am not close with, yet their opinion of me held much weight.
Isn’t this ludicrous?
When did I let the construction of my confidence (that God had been building up) be torn down by people scrolling behind a screen? Social media did not always have this closed fist feeling around me.
One day at lunch I asked a friend why the amount of views on my instagram stories fluxuates. My friend simply stated, “who cares?”
I obviously care.
Wait, why do I care?
Later that afternoon, I spent much time with a journal and pen in one hand, and my Bible on my kitchen table, wrestling with what God was trying to reveal to me about my unhealthy ‘relationship’ with Instagram.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM GOD
In Galatians, Paul is writing to the church because they have listened to false teachers and have fallen off their path. Paul asks, in Galatians 4:8-9, how they can turn back to their old ways even though they have been freed from their past idols?
Here is what I have learned from God through Galatians 4:8-9:
1. I want to be known, but I am not known through social media.
Somewhere along the way, I twisted people viewing and liking my pictures on Instagram into thinking that was people getting to know me. Here’s the reality though – most of my followers on Instagram do not know me. I get to doctor up a photo and depict myself in a certain way. My friend, that is not reality. Reality is grading papers, talking with my roomie, listening to music, going to small group, and putting too much creamer in my coffee. I cannot be known by people through the lense of social media because it’s a limited picture of me.
2. I am known by God.
Truly known by the God that created me and the universe. He knows my quirks, my good and bad qualities, my desires, and everything else that makes me Hailee, yet He still loves me. How truly incredible! Friend, if you believe in God, then you too are known by God and loved. To be intimately known and loved by God is enough for me.
3. I am known by my community.
I am a part of an amazing young adult small group that meets every Thursday. We eat together, study God’s word, talk about God’s word, laugh a lot, cry a little, and truly get to know each other Thursday after Thursday. Isn’t this beautiful? If you are not in a small group, you should connect with Micah White or Bear Mcafee, and they would love to help connect you to a small group! I love the people in my small group, they are my friends and I truly cherish time spent with them.
4. Social Media, in the lense of controlling my ability to be known, is utterly worthless.
I do not deeply know all the people that I follow, and so how can my followers truly know me?I must stop putting weight into social media because there is nothing there that can validate me as a person. Only God’s validation holds much weight and that is what should matter to me, and you too.
So friend, my hope is that whatever bad habit you are trying to set at the feet of God, these words have offered encouragement. I still find myself from time to time seeking to be known on Instagram, but I remind myself that it is God that truly knows me and is who I’m to run to in order to satisfy my needs. So here’s to the new year of uprooting bad habits and taking steps toward loving God with all we’ve got!
WHAT HAS HELPED YOU KICK A BAD HABIT?
Meet the Author!
Hailee Alcaida is the 9th grade English teacher at Bethel Acres High School. Being an English teachers combines two of Hailee’s passions: literature and building relationships. Hailee and her students love to laugh at the current memes, dab, and learn about the world through reading and writing. Living with an enneagram 7 helps her to put a book down, get out of their house, and explore OKC with friends and all its fun that it has to offer. By the way, Hailee is an enneagram 4w3. Continue the conversation with Hailee – email firstname.lastname@example.org.