Social Media and the Quest for Everything

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Like a nightmarish flight of stairs, this glittery escalator entraps me. And it’s going the opposite direction. The more I climb the higher the goal, and what is the goal? I’m asking you. I really don’t know; it’s super blurry at best.

I dream of being a writer, one well-paid and recognized by many. I want to be an influencer, but I entered the Instagram game late, and we just got Wifi. It’s like a complicated version of that hungry hippos game; I grab at those marbles in front of me, but I can’t reach. Just keep biting, and maybe, just maybe I’ll get myself a little ball of success.

So many choices that might mean something. For example, what font to choose on Insta stories? How do I get that cool background? Which camera and editing tool to use (also how to sequester the time to learn how)? The details in my posts need to show that I am whimsical, edgy, artsy, a lover of old-fashioned things, and a good Christian girl. Not too good, though, because that is boring, right? See, these little boxes and photos show who I am. They create who I am. Wait, is that right?

Do I really believe my soul’s worth is found in how many followers I have, how successful I become, or how charming I seem to others? My pragmatist voice says no, but my worries say otherwise. Funny, I thought these were high school fears. Turns out they’re adult fears, too, only illuminated by the ever-pressing social media land.

Glamorous people all around–maybe you’re one of them! I’d like to learn from your success while remembering this verse God has used in my life:

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. James 1:9-11 (ESV)

Flower fades, falls–beautiful, but fleeting. We know this, but do we know it? Do we feel it as we stare into our phones and look at others soaring while being both gorgeous and self-deprecating? Our belief says yes, but our practice sometimes says no.

Perfect love casts out fear.

Seems like so many of us are trying to be mini celebrities. It’s the child’s game of playing in front of a mirror, except now we’re more self-conscious, and it’s not only our parents and babysitters who are watching. In essence, we are branding ourselves. On a business level, that’s a smart move, but we must be watchful of our hearts and minds. This image we create and carefully curate is never the complete story. And now I’m fretting about how pithy I sound, how cute my daughter’s outfit is, and how to hide the fact that I certainly do not have a thigh gap.

But Christ: A few weeks ago, His Holy Spirit came to me on a porch in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with a light breeze on a dead end street, and a touch of the most reassuring love. Because in the end, that’s what I crave–to be loved. My flesh seeks accolades, affirmation, likes, money, success, but my soul wants love.

Social media is an amazing tool–whether you’re keeping in touch with your friends, growing a business, or something else. But do not for one second forget that every person online matters just as much as another, no matter their finesse or following. God gave us the dignity of being made in His image, and the most glorious and rewarding thing in the world is to be a follower of Him. As His follower, I’m free to pursue these dreams while daily placing them in His hands and asking for the Holy Spirit to lead. And that, my friends, is where I want to be for the rest of my days, well known or not.

Keep the Faith,

Audrey Ann

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