Snapshots of our Social Media Lives
By Elisabeth Horning
We all want our lives to look perfect to the outside world. In the age of rampant social media, the pressure to look perfect and have a perfect home and weigh a certain amount is multiplied. In fact, it is multiplied so much so, we lose sight of who we are if we aren’t careful. It is all too easy to begin thinking we’re not good enough.
One of my favorite social media platforms is Instagram. I’ve been an active member of the app since its inception, and I’ve watched it grow. The best part of Instagram? The filters. Anyone who has an account knows what I mean. The cool thing these days is to make your photos look retro, which I think is so popular because detail can be washed out; your skin can easily look flawless with just the touch of a button.
Snapshots of our daily lives have become commonplace, and so has sharing them. But what about when you scroll through Instagram or your Facebook news feed? No matter where you look, someone’s life looks better or more exciting or happier than yours. But guess what? Filters and angles and selective posting do that.
Your validation need not come from social media, even though it feels good to get compliments and “likes” and shares (for those of us who blog). Honestly, it is a comfort to know perfection isn’t possible. I know I am a sinner, and that I will mess up; my husband will mess up, my family will mess up, my friends will mess up, and so will complete strangers that I may never see again.
Life is messy. Social media may attempt to assuage that fact, but in reality it only makes us feel worse when things go wrong or aren’t as “perfect” as we envision them to be. It’s a stumbling block of extreme proportions, for some more than others. That said, we are most certainly free to enjoy social media and filter away all these messes and wrinkles and tantrums. We can choose to filter our lives so as to appear more normal or more complete, to the outside world — even to our own family and friends.
Divine service on Sunday mornings is the best thing for us for many reasons, but I bring it to attention here for a seemingly small reason — for that hour or so we are away from our phones, computers, tablets, and iPods, and we are in the presence of Jesus. He comes to us there, in His Word and Sacrament, perfect and more beautiful than any Instagram filter could make Him. There in the divine service each week we are reminded that our God sees us, not washed-out by our favorite photography filters, but washed in the blood of His Son, and our Lord, Jesus Christ. He sees us whole and washed clean. Forgiven in Christ.
We can choose to filter away on social media, picking just the right setting for each snapshot. But in the end, let’s abide in that perfect forgiveness He brings to us each week, rather than in our own image… filtered or not.
I like this post very much! I was just talking about this very topic with our women’s group. And just so you know… I’ll be sharing this with them! :)
Finding the balance of what to share on social media is difficult. If you share only the good moments, you’re accused of filtering and making everything “Pinterest Perfect.” Share too much of the hard times, you’re accused of making yourself into a whiny martyr.
Thanks for the ever needed reminder that only Christ’s sacrifice makes us perfect. :)
Your validation need not come from social media,
even though it feels good to get compliments and “likes” and shares (for those of us who blog).
So glad you said that! I was beginning to feel sorry for anyone who depended on such a fragile support!