She scrolls down her Instagram. Post after post of people trying to tell her to “be herself”, to “be real”, to “celebrate you”, and to “wear your insecurities on your sleeve.” Because once you do this, you will have broken free of the prison you’ve created for yourself! Once you post yourself with a list of insecurities, you will have overcome them. Just be YOU. Be YOU. Be YOU.
The echo is overwhelming, deafening. But the outcry seems pointless, fleeting.
How is it that insecurities have become the key to unlocking the acceptance of myself? How do you fabricate a ribbon of confidence from insecurities, despondent feelings, and the song called “Celebrating YOU.”
These are her thoughts as she looks through her own pictures, picking out every part of her that she dislikes, every piece of her that just isn’t enough. This is me. This is me. This is me. And I don’t like it. Why would I celebrate it? This is not enough and opening this up will not free me.
For her, it’s not about being the most beautiful or the most popular. For her, she just wants to be confident in this–-her story, her life. And it’s cliche but she does envy other posts and other pictures of her friends, her family. They all enjoy this beautiful life and she knows it’s edited. She knows it’s only part of it. She’s accepted that and she loves to see them happy. But yet, but yet….she struggles. She doesn’t know why. She doesn’t know why. It’s a battle this jealousy, this envy, this insecurity.
How is it that I feel this way way when I know my life is full of gifts and blessings? How come I feel despondent feelings when all I should feel is joy, happiness? Aren’t I blessed in so many ways? Don’t I have so much already?
She closes the Instagram app and throws it on the couch. Oh, she’s not foolish enough to blame social media for the issues she’s facing. She’s not even foolish enough to jump on the bandwagon of posting the imperfect life to “go bravely against society.” She simply wants to settle within herself the fight that is raging so hard. Why does she feel this way when she really shouldn’t?
Her back is hunched low as she washes the dishes, sweeps the floor, folds the laundry. Her world isn’t bleak, but the confidence in her story is wavering. She pulls away from media, from every other story crowding her view, and moves through a blistery week of contemplation.
With the distractions from her view, she considers for the first time in months, the wholeness of her story. Every bit. Not her story in part. Not her story compared to them. Not her story intertwined with their story. Just her story.
She used to find it selfish to fixate on her story, to ruminate on blessings, on gifts, to be discouraged about trials, then uplifted with some form of happiness that builds into joy. But with distractions far away, she can only think about her story and God’s hand in her story.
She can feel the completeness of what God has allowed her to do, who He has enabled her to become. And now she can even find the missing pieces of who she needs to be and the scattered places where she desperately needs to grow.
The realization of faults would usually push her to despondency, but with eyes on God—she is learning to live within her story.
Her heart is energized to change, to grow, to become. The week comes to a close and cautiously she goes back to social media, seeing other stories…but not trying to live in them. She is already so busy and content living in her own. It does not mean that her battles don’t rage and her mind feels weighty every now and again, but she has found the truth.
Several weeks later, she comes across a picture of herself. Less glamorous and fashionable than half her gorgeous friends. Less exciting and jaw-dropping than most posts shared these days, but it was her.
For the first time in months, she did not see the shortcomings first, but rather the reality that this is her. Less than gorgeous. Less than glamorous. Less than fashionable, but her.
She saw herself through the lens of who God made her to be, not through the perception of who people saw her to be. She did not feel sorry or sad. She did not compare or writhe in jealousy. She felt no envy or regret. This is her, and this is her story.
Confidence flowed through her, not in her story or life as she originally desired. But confidence flowed, because this is who God made her and the story given to her. What a gift!
The Instagram posts, ever so fluid, ran through her mind. And she thinks to herself, suddenly in realization—-
“Celebrating me is empty, futile. Celebrating me will fuel nothing but envy when I see others celebrating themselves. I should not be celebrated. But I should celebrate God, the One who made me. And just being me is not good enough. I must improve my person-hood, my talents, and my gifts as I live for God. My story is one of many, and it is a good story. But I must use this life, this story, this me for God first and then for others.”
Freedom and light come rushing through her. Social media was never the problem. Her response to it was the problem. The stories of her friends and family were not any less beautiful, but her realization in the worth of her story only made her joy for them more exuberant.
It is not about living real and authentic on social media. It is about living real and authentic for God—- not boasting of your life story, but sharing it with others as you share in their lives, as well. She has come to realize so fully that sharing life is beautiful.
Don’t fight the perfect Instagram squares. That’s not your battle. Don’t try to be confident in your story, in your life. That’s not your quest.
You can ask me over and over again, “What’s my battle?” or “What’s my quest?”. But I really don’t know and neither does she. Just step back, seek God, and you’ll find the real battle. And in between all that—you will know your worth again.