Have you stopped to notice the amount of time you stare at a picture of someone online that you think it particularly beautiful or seems to have the lifestyle you think you want to live? I have. In a world where everyone is pretty much only sharing the highlight reel of their lives online, it’s hard not to get caught up in the falsehood that social media begs you to give into. That’s the exact opposite of what God wants for your life. He doesn’t want you sitting around being consumed by what your neighbor has or is doing, He wants you to be so captivated by the purpose He has for your life that you never think twice about what someone else looks like or has.
The ultimate example of this is the relationship between John the Baptist and Jesus. When you read the story of Jesus and John you learn that they are actually cousins. John began his ministry before Jesus and was baptizing people with water. When Jesus stepped on the scene people around Him were instantly beginning to instigate and try to cause a rivalry between these two men. Long story way short, neither of them were caught in the comparison of their ministries and neither were thrown off track for what God needed them to do. They honored one another in ministry and kept it moving.
That’s a gross oversimplification of what took place, but all-in-all it’s exactly what I believe God expects of us. As a young woman who has grown up smack dab in the middle of the technology era it’s incredibly easy for me to spend hours of my day scrolling online wishing I had the body, the brains, the money, the following, the talent of a million other people and most closely my own friends but it takes disciple and faith and a focus on God to look the other way. I can appreciate the gifts, beauty and talent of everyone around me without calling into question my own worth or the plan God has for me.
Here are just a few simple ways that I regain my focus and don’t get overcome by the tendency to compare myself and my life to others.
Let’s start with the hardest one and get straight to the point. If there is someone you follow that is causing you to feel insecure about who you are in Christ, unfollow them. Instagram and Facebook even made it easy for you and you can simply mute people so you don’t have to unfollow them, but you don’t have to see their face every morning while you scroll online before even getting out of bed.
Which brings me to my next point. How can we put social media before God and expect to live a fulfilled and joyful life. The Bible instructs us over and over to BEGIN our day with thanksgiving, which simply means the moment you wake up you should be thanking God and giving Him the first part of your day. I’m not saying that I don’t also fall into the trap of checking how many DM’s I got overnight, but I try to wake up and make it out of bed before I start scrolling. This instantly sets my mind right and helps me to start my day off in a stronger and more powerful mindset, which then allows me to be less likely to want to overspend time looking at what everyone else is doing. Try with something small and simple like making a verse the note in your alarm and reading it. Or putting your favorite verse on a note card next to your bed so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. This doesn’t mean you have to wake up and spend 20 minutes praying or reading the Bible, it just means that you should try and start your day being focused on God rather than the World.
My favorite pastor in all the world, Judy Jacobs, says to me (and everyone) “Write the Vision out, make it plain”. What she means is that we have a tendency to make every excuse in the world, to get side tracked and to never move ahead when we don’t even know what we’re supposed to be doing. I’m way more likely to sit for hours online on a lazy day at home “resting” than I am on the days I have tasks, goals, vision, dreams to tackle. When I’m aligned with God’s vision and plan and we have co-created a plan of attack….BOOM….Instagram who? I don’t even have time to check my phone and especially not to worry about who’s doing what better than me. Start by writing down what your BIG dream is. Want to be an author and have a book published? Cool, now work backwards and start making annual, monthly, weekly and daily plans to help you achieve that goal. Soon you’ll find that as the saying goes you’re “Captivated by Purpose” and no longer focused on what someone else is doing.
I use an auto posting software that I preload content into and never have to think about it again. Which means again, I’m online way less than people actually think I am. It looks like I post almost daily but in reality that picture was taken weeks ago and the caption worked on over days and auto-posted at the moment that an algorithm told me to ( see how wild the truth can be online??). This is another chance for me to not even start down the long road of comparison. Oh my post didn’t get as many likes as so and so….oh well. I didn’t even see it until two days later. See what I’m saying is that social media isn’t all bad and it’s certainly not the devil as some believe, but when I use it in a healthy way it can be amazing and like this very blog post, can help encourage others in a way I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
As always in every message you ever see me share the theme will be prayer. I believe with everything in me that nothing is more powerful than our relationship and time we spend with God. God literally moves mountains when we ask Him to and until we prioritize this time with God, we’ll be caught in the exact cycle that the secular world wants us to be. We’ll be captivated with Hollywood and keeping up with the most popular trends and less focused on what God needs us to do and where we should be spending our time. This is when we’re at our most vulnerable place and when we’re the most likely to compare our lives and where we are in life to someone else because we haven’t even stopped to ask God why we’re in this season of life. Spend time letting God speak to you and show you where you’re supposed to be and when. Spend LESS time focusing on what everyone around you is doing.
As I said, social media is not the worst. People who are sinful in nature can be though and if we’re not careful we’ll find ourselves focused on what the WORLD is doing and less and less on what GOD is doing. My friend, please do not lose sight of who you are. You are a child of God who was created with a deeply important purpose on this earth. You were not created to look beautiful, wear trendy clothes, make the most money of your friends and family and certainly not to be so overwhelmed with everyone around you that you can’t even take a step forward in the direction of your calling and purpose.
You are deeply loved and God has a dream life planned out just for you. He knows what your heart truly needs and what is going to satisfy you beyond what anyone or anything else ever will be able to do. Trust in that. Trust in the Lord your God who cannot and will not ever fail you.
Beloved one, don’t compare your life to someone else’s highlight reel. I promise they have their own issues that they don’t put out online for other’s to see. You might find that you certainly would not want to trade places with them.
Praying that all who read this will find peace and continent, that you’ll know who you are in Christ and that you will take whatever steps you need to in the direction of the calling placed on your life.