So here’s a thing about me.
I take mental time to mildly scrutinize the things I do, and I say mildly because I don’t do it as often as I should**. But yes, I ask myself, “why do I do the things I do?” Avoid, assume, attention-seek, attach and run away?
Let’s take Social Media for example. Why do I avoid looking at the people that have viewed my stories, or liked my posts? I’m telling y’all, it’s a serious mental struggle. After floating through my thoughts and mapping things out, I figured that I do it to try and guard my heart from disappointment.
I fear the fact that certain people have seen and do not interact. I feel anxiety on behalf of someone I know having to behold what I posted, although I definitely posted it to be seen. And that’s just the matter of it all. Why do I so badly want to be seen? Why do I want people’s virtual or spoken validations? Yet, at the same time, why do I run from it? Why do I also choose to deceive myself, making up positive excuses for people as to why they did not like, comment or simply react? I think to myself, perhaps it’s such a struggle to comment or like, because I too make positive mental feedbacks but don’t get around the time to react in any form visible to them. Or it could be that they just don’t do online interactions but are pleased with what they see in their heart and are grateful. And their likes. On the other hand, I ponder– did I miscaption something, post what I wasn’t supposed to, or went over some unspoken boundaries? Or could it be that bored them with the length of my caption? or perhaps I was too transparent with my struggles? Or do they just have a personal problem with me? Am I too stuck up or loud or fake perhaps?
I’ve found myself automatically thinking these the moment my eyes land upon my views, likes, or comments.
Nevertheless, I still want to be seen, but more comfortable when viewed by people I don’t know personally. But I also want to hide away. I want to post my face, reposts stuff I like, share the edits I’ve been working on, use various hashtags, yet I’m wondering what people would think. I can’t even be free to be myself anymore, where freedom ain’t out of boundaries in Christ. Or at times I wonder if the things I post would be or are helpful. I mean, I am taking people’s time by looking upon my post and reading whatever comments or captions I have, and if I’m doing that, it’s got to be edifying–right? I don’t want to be a burden, a stumbling block, unaffecting, or a non positively impacting person at any moment.
It’s like I’m confused on how to serve God and serve people too, in light of Him, whilst showing people the things I can do–in a somewhat prideful way, as if all the good that I am did not emanate from God. It seems I’m claiming to be attached to God while people and their opinions still have a hold on me.
And sadly, there’s still more aspects to this attachment-like side of me, I’ve observed.
While wanting to share my edits, I stick to themes on Instagram, and it’s structured in such a way that if one but the latest one goes into archive or is deleted, it kind of ruins everything. Yes, I have thought long and hard about what I’ve put myself into because I realize that I’m not willing to let it go. I have questioned if I can drop everything for Christ; ruin the theme because it really is nothing; delete my Instagram because it’s worthless compared to Christ; post freely, enjoying the gift, rather than taking painstaking hours to edit and dig through my Google Photos looking for photos that can fill spots; and scheduling posts for the future, up to months ahead, when I know it’s pretty much all vanity.
I know God has gifted me with artistic desires and urges, hence my love for edits, but I can’t start worshiping the gift rather than the Giver, can I? Of course not. There is a limit to everything to which we can put boundaries on. Of course, in discovering God, His Word and His creation gives us a vast amount that we can never fully understand, perhaps even after Christ comes, I know not. But in the case of knowing God, we cannot put a limit, but I believe we are limited by our humanity to fully explore Him, which could be why we struggle to understand God’s sovereignty working simultaneously with human responsibility. Okay Serena, back to topic.
So even if it means having no one see the structured theme I’ve scheduled, the ‘nice’ snapshots of myself, the edited nature picture grabs, the videos of me dancing, the clips of me singing, some stuff from my gallery about me studying, my music choices, my academia life, or simply the online presence of Serena, can I still serve Christ wholeheartedly? What is itching me to engage in these unnecessary extras?
God has put me where I am physically and He knows why I have the urge to be seen but it seems to me that He’s probably trying to tell me that where I’m at is where I need to be. I doubt I will be able to handle a larger crowd if I’m having these numerous worries and scary dependency on a measly 800 followers on IG or thereabout. Plus, I’m not ready for a larger influence. Greater influence comes a greater burden, could be a good burden, depending on how you utilize it though. But I know this sis ain’t ready. That’s why although I wish to put in hashtags for more engagements, I refrain from doing so.
…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.Luke 12:48 ESV
It is a struggle.
I try to run from the app to heal at times, in which I took about a two months break off Instagram (I did cheat a few times. lol.) only to come back again to be found in the same patterns after a short while. As if I never went off it. And so now I’m left with two questions/thoughts.
Should I flee Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, YouTube (definitely not WhatsApp, because the need to interact with people would not let me) for an extended period of time? To take a break, focusing on growing in the Lord and serving people locally, rather than seeking to share to the whole world all the time.
Or should I fight the temptation of attention-seeking and attaching myself to Instagram, by facing it regularly in ‘wisdomified’ proportion? All the while renewing my mind in the Word daily, by reminding myself that I am loved by God and that’s literally all the love and validation I need? To truly understand that I find my full and priceless identity in Christ, worth more than anything this world could have to offer. Because that way, I mature in self-control and grow in my usage of God’s gift in knowing how to properly appreciate my beauty and utilize His gifts.
Both options are valid, but I think I know which one I’ll go for.
*Featured image is from Pexels.
**This sentence was changed from “I like to scrutinize the things I do.” after publication.