This post was previously published for The Sacred Desk.
I'll be the first to admit--I LOVE INSTAGRAM.
And when I say, I LOVE IT, I mean it REALLY LOVE IT.
As a creative, I have tons of fun figuring out how to compact my complex days into a 6-7 video/photo diary that we now call "Instastories," or how to caption a simple moment in time with an in-depth litany that is hopefully captivating...or maybe it's simply me choosing between some of my favorite Beyonce, Jay-Z or Drake lyrics, if I'm being quite honest.
I also get to connect with some really awesome individuals and other creatives that inspire me. And I get to use my account to spread the Gospel and share the behind the scenes of my career.
It's great! And like I said, I LOVE it!
But what would happen if "the gram" shut down!?
Would I still be the same "Just Nic" that I portray?
Would my importance diminish? My impact? My value?
The answer: NO.
That is something I know for sure.
But how often do we, as users of social media, get so caught up in the cycle of who we are on social media, that we forget we have real lives out of that timeline--that there are real people in our lives outside of our Instagram timelines that matter and need reaching out to.
Earlier this week, I reached out to one of my friends from college who I hadn't talked to in quite some time. To be honest, life has just been picking up a lot for me lately and I'm horrible at reaching out to my family and friends; heck my mother still gets on me because sometimes I let a week go by without letting her know I haven't self destructed or cried my life away (I promise I am highly capable of doing so).
But anyways, back to reaching out to my friend. I realized I hadn't seen him on my Instagram timeline for like close to a month. I just so happened to go check on his page and he hadn't posted anything since the end of April. I found it quite strange because due to his job, he kind of has to post a lot for marketing purposes. So I decided to reach out and hit him with a text. In actuality, it took him not posting on the gram for almost a month for me to even notice I hadn't spoken to him outside of social media.
When I got a hold of him, he let me know he was fasting from social media, which I found pretty commendable. He went on to say...
You get to see who really sticks with you once you leave social media.And I felt guilty. He didn't know--he was just happy to hear from me and happy to hear I was doing well. But he had no idea that it was only because of his social media absence that I actually cared to reach out.
But that's a lot of what our generation has become--so obsessed with our social media presence and "doing it for the 'gram" that we forget the real lives outside of the portrayed lives we so intricately illustrate. We obsess over making sure we get the angle right, the lighting right, the filter right, that we often times look past the person we're so badly trying to portray...yet, there are so many of us who claim we're "real."
Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of an Instagram post when your real life is a hot mess.
Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you don't actually like yourself.
Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you can't name one thing to admire about yourself.
Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you can't get out the bed because you're depressed.
Being "real" isn't so fun and worthy of a post when you just don't seem to have life figured out.
We stress over making "perfect" seem "real" when that was never who we were created to be. We were created to be human. A part of the whole purpose of God coming as Christ to the Earth was so that He could be human--a human sacrifice was needed to pay the cost of sin; human blood needed to be shed to cover it completely.
We stress over denying ourselves our humanity when it's who were were created to be.
Everyday, young women are killing themselves or "fixing" themselves over something they saw on social media that 90% of the time isn't real. Everyday, young men portraying lives they were never called to live, but for the sake of the likes, they'll do it because it validates them.
We've been sacrificing our humanity--the thing that makes us more like Jesus, the thing that makes us beautiful, that makes us real--all for some likes of other broken "perfection" and we wonder why those likes are still never enough when we look in the mirror.
I always find it super interesting that we, as broken people, go to other broken people for validation and for fixing, when we never created ourselves. How can the creation fix the created? Only the Creator can do such.
And even with your brokenness, GOD still finds you worthy and beautiful (Psalm 139:14), for in fact He loves you just that way you are and nothing can nor ever will change that (Romans 8:38-39).
In a world full of portrayed perfection, I'm here to let you know that you don't have to be; you don't have to have it all figured out and it is ABSOLUTELY okay if you don't. Just lean on Him (Proverbs 3:5-6).
YOU LACK NOTHING (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)--and it's so easy to think that when you have vast information and a timeline full of people that seem to have it all together infiltrating your mind with the quick motion of your finger tips...but my love--my brother, my sister--YOU LACK NOTHING.
What God has for you, He will give you when the time is right. So therefore as Paul says, don't be anxious for anything (Philippians 4:6-7), instead use what God has given you to magnify Him and to live out your best life.
God is fully aware and fully equipped to give you what you deserve for your destiny (Jeremiah 29:11) and trust that He won't delay it.
So, I challenge you, fam, instead of "doing it for the 'gram," put the phone down, log out for a few days, and plug in to the Source for your affirmation.
That angle, that money phone to your ear, and that car you can't afford aren't worth your peace. Your worth can't be bought with some likes; your worth was bought with Christ's life--don't pawn it off for an IG picture.
It's okay to not have it all together, because eventually everything works out in His timing.
Have faith & trust Him.