I hear it all the time being said of social media the countless ways the enemy sneaks himself into the thumb scrolling: "don't compare your life to someone else's highlight reel." I couldn't agree more. Then the frequented follow-up in the expanded version of how "social media is the enemy's territory, and how we all care too much about likes, and how it is terrible and awful and going to destroy your character, self-image, etc., etc., etc." And yet, we all still have our Instagram handles and can give you at least a rough estimate of how many Twitter followers we have. What gives?
Social media very literally gives me a job and paycheck. My title as social media coordinator for my local church is one that I don't take lightly. Onlookers perspective: "Oh that's cool, she makes their instagram pretty and puts nice scripture on their Twitter feed." Why is it that we (myself included) can easily call out and highlight the schemes and ways the enemy lurks like a punk in things like social media, but then downsize the way that the power of God (the same power that has DEFEATED the enemy, mind you) can shift the entire atmosphere and purpose of people, places - even things like social media platforms?
Enter this past Wednesday morning in the Kelly household and you would have witnessed one of two events taking place dependent upon what time you turned the knob. One of those events being the sweetest photoshoot with my little tribe. A morning of cuddles, candy corn bribes, and my make-uped and hairstyled self. A special lifestyle shoot shot by one of my best Colorado girlfriends on a perfect, breezy, yellow leafed fall morning. The other event potentially witnessed would have been me losing my mind in the form of a sleep deprived whirling, trying to clean up our house, breastfeed my newborn while leaking everywhere and on everything, attempting to get my two year old dressed in manners and his perfect picture outfit, and all the while snapping at my mom and husband as they tried to help me in my crazy, irrational, unwarranted, eye-rolling loveliness. Welcome to my not so pretty pre-highlight reel.
What you see on Instagram as a result of that morning is my family very much put together and posing in our tidy little bungalow, kids dressed to the nines, and a goo-goo eyed hubby and wife. You see the highlights, and honestly you see moments that started out as a forced happiness and a faked good attitude. One that only came about after threatening to cancel the shoot five times in the 30 minutes before my friend was supposed to arrive mind you. You see the tail end of my crazy post-labor hormone take over, and the beginning of my cooling down after a morning of frustration and doors closed just a little bit too hard. What you see is the thing people say "stop comparing yourself to."
But there are two ways to interpret what you see on social media in this way. One, call it the enemy's schemes of trying to lie and tell you that my family is perfect when the reality is that our morning was one of the worst we've had in awhile. Or two, call it a platform that is somehow able to take messy mornings and turn them into early afternoons ending in cuddles and kisses with my man on the couch, laughing at how terrible attitudes had been only an hour before, and speaking out the ways God can redeem the joy Satan tries to steal on the good days and the bad. I'll choose the second.
A morning of chaos turned into a day scattered by humble reminders that my marriage makes me better, and that it is a betterment completely outside of my own strength, control, and doing. Reminders to not take for granted (guilty!) a husband who kept things light for our kiddos while mom was having "a moment," one who tells me that I am "the prettiest woman he has ever seen" literally almost every day, one who fills our home with worship music on the messy mornings because he knows that the Spirit of God is alive and active and able to permeate both people and things when simply called upon. Wednesday's muck somehow redeemed by marriage's footprint and tether to God's love and grace. And please don't hear a simple Christianese statement on marriage here, but one that rests in the literal spaces of awe and wonder of the gold woven into the representation marriage is defined by, and the power of God Almighty written into every detail. A writing that makes itself known when He is humbly and desperately invited into the clumsy feebleness of our own efforts.
Don't get me wrong though, the highlight reel can breed discontent and resentment for our own seasons and paths God has written out ahead for us when we see the ways we wish we were "more of this" or "less of that" played out very literally in others, but it can also breed an attitude of joy for others while simultaneously recognizing the ways God redeems so much of the basic day to day breaths if we let Him. What if we stopped claiming social media as bad in these ways, and started claiming it as territory to drip Heaven's light and advancement into. Territory that shows marriages transparent, but strong, parenting that is tired, but determined, relationships that stop competing and start celebrating. What if we believed that God's power to invade social media is larger than satan's power to strike up insecurities inside of us? Redemption rich and love lingering itself through feeds and hashtags could just maybe flip a culture of mindless scrolling into one that is inspired and led on by the author and perfecter of faith Himself, but only if we so believe it to.
I pray that this mindset grows to truth in a culture and generation specific to countless minutes of scrolling and screen time. I break satan's fingerprints off social media and speak God's truth into their place in the name of Jesus. If partnering with God in the renewal of all things is our assignment, may it be so in all the details of our life, social media being just a piece of greater puzzle, but a piece of strategy none the less. And may it all be done in the name of the King who is worthy of it all.