“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Social media can dig us into dangerous trenches of self-doubt, envy, and dissatisfaction. We look at a picture, and instantly make comparisons, preying on our own physical and emotional insecurities. Whether it’s about someone’s perfect outfit, that next-level gym mirror pic, or even a DC brunch, I know that feeling of jealousy well. But the thing about an Instagram photo or a Facebook like is that it allows a predefined emotional reaction to replace the natural love and joy found in relationships and friendships with other people.
Relationships are the key to our human experience. We are made for relationship by the very circumstances of our creation. We interact with hundreds of people every day, and we need to be open and honest with each other. Listening to, and sharing life with one another is not fully accomplished through a screen. Above all, our relationship with Christ is never contingent on how many likes we get; God is already impressed by you. You are His masterpiece.
Having a relationship with someone entirely via technology is not fulfilling. I figured this out pretty early during my study abroad semester in Spain. I moved, by myself, to a foreign country, and social media has almost exclusively been my means of contact with family and friends back home. (The exception being homemade chocolate chip cookies my amazing mother sent to me by mail). My social media posts show some of the amazing adventures and sights I have experienced. However, what posts, messages and pictures don’t show is laughter brought on from a funny story about my roommate, confusion in my eyes while exploring an unfamiliar city, pain in my voice when I really just want a hug from my mom, or homesickness I’m soothing by exploring a world-class art museum in Madrid. I’m so blessed to be here, living this experience, but a photo credit doesn’t give glory and praise to the One who deserves all the credit for the incredibly deep and meaningful lessons I’m learning. I’m learning how to navigate living out my faith as a college student in a completely new context. And even when I fail to trust God with the chaos and doubts I experience, He is still present, and ready for a relationship with us. Jesus is my truest and most sincere connection; and he wants to share a deeper connection with you than any of your Snapchat best friends. We can’t lose sight of that receiving virtual praise and acceptance from friends in our online networks.
I’m not claiming we should delete ourselves from the Internet. I’m an avid instagrammer and more often than not use Facebook and Snapchat to update people on my adventures and hear about theirs. But my point is, when I simply post photos of my weekend travel adventures, you aren’t getting the whole story. And the whole story is important. Your whole story is important. Your whole story starts and ends in Christ. And the rocky, bumpy, joyful, crazy events that happen along the way deserve more than just an emoji thumbs up.