There I was, using about ten minutes already of my thirty minute break (with a trajectory of entirely wasting it), scrolling through their Instagram pages. I had been following three travel-bloggers for some time. They lead absolutely inspiring, and very anomalous, lives. They are attractive, black, boss ladies all living wild and spontaneous- possibly affluent- lives, (or at least that is what their pages display). They’re running after their desires to fill themselves up with as much beauty as the world can offer. And in turn, they offer it to us, the onlookers, glimpses of differing cultures and amazing scenery. And there I was drinking it up for ten minutes, going on 15, by the next five posts dating back to 2016, utterly jealous and low-key despising what, in that moment, became my miserable part-time job. The words that kept swimming through my thoughts were, “THESE ARE LIFE GOALS!!!!”
This was not too long after taking a break from social media because I seem to always find myself in this space. And there I was yet again needing to separate myself from the very tool that the Lord had used in the past to inspire me in the gift of creativity that He has so graciously bestowed to me. But here’s the thing, we can call this a matter of stewarding and walk away and still nothing will change. No matter how many breaks I take, I will keep going back to other creatives’ and travelers’ accounts yearning after their lives crying, “These are life goals.” I sincerely believe that stewarding, in a sense of managing my time online or intake of content, is only an action to Band-Aid the issue, not truly tackle it. At the root is an idol, a dangerous misunderstanding of what man’s true goal is, and a deep dissatisfaction with God and how He has so graciously and mercifully ordained my life thus far.
Before I continue though, here is my disclaimer: I am not saying inspiration is wicked! I have, however, come to realize that sin is a weaver. It is never content with sitting in one area of life. I have been taking a tool and making it ultimate. I have been looking at pictures (not the whole) of someone’s life and have coveted it. I have made it the standard of living and I have despised the work of God in bringing me to where I am. Within those few minutes of lurking and creeping on Instagram pages, I had utterly defamed God in my own life and raised the gift of another person's’ life above the Giver. Whole time I been committin’ idolatry!!!! (read with a Chicago accent)
On man’s true and final goal: We are often confused. We have created a notion around the word ‘goal’ and it has gone viral. Don’t get me wrong, time and place is key. I use it too, but it is so important to check our hearts on this issue. Are we truly making this life and it’s offerings the end goal? Will I truly reach my goal if I shed a couple pounds, enough to wear the bikinis I plan to wear on my travels to every sunny location after I quit my often tiring but steady job, thus fulfilling my life’s “calling”? Is my goal to reach the peak of fame? Is my goal in life to become the coveted? Or is my goal in life nearness to God, no matter what that looks like- suffering or bliss, an Instagram-life, or the very, very human mundane? (And who’s to say these Insta-famous individuals aren’t suffering?) Is my goal to seek first the Kingdom of God and all HIS righteousness as per Matthew 6:33? Is my end goal unto myself and this world, or is it unto the Creator of it? Because depending on the answers to these questions, no amount of stewarding or management will sort the issue out. I’ll just be organizing my way out of relationship with God.
Along with this, all of the hashtags have lead me to a life of discontentment. Not only is living for God, no matter the course it takes, my desire or aim, but I am breeding hate and distaste for the life He has laid before me so far. I have spit in the face of His goodness; I ignore that He has blessed me with an amazingly diverse family, a wondrously God-centered community, a faithful fiancé, a job through which I can serve the community, freedom to live, freedom to love, freedom to practice my faith, freedom to laugh- I forget all of this within ten to fifteen minutes, and just like the children of Israel, deep within my being, I begin to grumble in discontentment.
This may be you today. Maybe, like me, you haven’t been able to find a God-glorifying balance between scrolling and coveting. Maybe you are struggling with social media. I’d like to say a few things:
I write this admitting that I am still working this out with the Lord. By no means do I claim to have arrived, but you and I can see that it's real out here in these streets. But all glory to God ,who according to Ephesians 3:21, “...is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”
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