This has been a long time in the making. I’ve alluded to it in past posts and I’m so excited that it’s finally making its way to ya’ll.
Over the past years I’ve learned how exhausting social media can be. I saw how deceiving, fake, inaccurate, and deteriorating it could get. I was genuinely torn: how could one part of me love social media so much, yet another part of me fully recognize that I wasn’t cut out for it (or so I thought).
I felt like there wasn’t a place for me on social media because I didn’t want to do things the way everyone else was. I looked at many of the top Instagram bloggers and what I saw was unattainable. I realized that seeing their pictures in my feed was a slow, dangerous, and toxic poison that was tainting my standard of beauty, reality, and what should be attained in this life.
Finding Real Community
God graciously showed me a community of influencers on social media that changed everything for me. I started to see people being vulnerable, real, brave, authentic, and inspiring on social media. And with every raw, real, and memorable post, this little spark inside me had grown into a fire of conviction.
I really started to reflect on what I personally valued in their approach to social media. What were the posts that made me feel encouraged, inspired, and not so alone? What caught my attention and told me something I needed to hear?
It always came back to posts with vulnerable captions OR posts without any retouching/editing/filters. Seeing either of those posts was like catching a breath of fresh air in midst of the life-sucking time that the average Instagram scroll can be.
I started thinking about what it would look like if I did that. Though I came up with a million reasons why it would be “pointless” to do it, all I knew was that it felt utterly wrong in my heart and soul when I posted a picture that looked drastically different than the original. It felt like I was cheating the world when I had a breakout but could quickly make the zits disappear with the swipe of a screen or touch of a button.
“…all I knew was that it felt utterly wrong in my heart and soul when I posted a picture that looked drastically different than the original.”
When it came to captions… sure, there’s the odd post where I’ll use a song lyric or keep it short and sweet, but most of the time I pour out my heart. That’s what feels natural to me. I’ve come to learn that we really underestimate the value of just being real with each other. There is power and freedom that comes with sharing the struggles, triumphs, hardships, blessings, joyous moments, deepest valleys, all of it.
So for me, it felt right to choose not to use filters on social media anymore. I cut it out completely and haven’t regretted it since. While I thought I was making this decision to try and encourage others and impact lives, it’s actually been changing me more than anything else.
I can genuinely say that not using filters has made me feel better about myself than the years of using filters ever did. Applying filters taught me that I had to edit myself to be okay with how I looked, whereas not using them has taught me contentment and what true beauty is all about. For me, that has been a true gift…a priceless lesson and blessing.
All this to say, I think it’s important to mention that there’s still a place for strategy and branding on social media while keepin’ it real. I still like to curate a feed that looks nice and I’ll made adjustments to my pictures’ brightness, contrast, and warmth. But for me, it just didn’t feel right literally adding layers to my posts. Just like how I try and be very personable in my captions, I want my pictures to do the same. When people see me in person, I want them to be able to say, “she looks exactly like how she does in her posts”.
Being Image-Bearers of God
I want to emphasize that my decision not to use filters is not intended to shame you when you use them. By no means am I saying that everyone needs to stop editing their pictures – heck, I think editing pictures is an art and talent. However, when it comes to editing yourself I would advise you to do so with caution.
Challenge yourself by asking, “would I be okay posting this picture without making any changes to how I look or appear in it?”. If the answer is no, stop and think about why that is. More than anything, I want for you to see that you were made in God’s image. We are actually image-bearers of God. How amazing is that? Often, when I find myself comparing how I look to other people or when I enter the dangerous trap of believing a whole lot of lies, I remember this and everything else fades into the background.
The God who created the universe created you and I, with intentionality, brilliant design, and so much creativity. As a result, we should never feel like we have to edit ourselves in order to be seen a certain way. God made us physically exactly how He wants us to be seen, filter-free, just the way we are, natural, raw, and real.
The choices you make on social media are up to you. At the end of the day, it’s not so much about what you do to your pictures, but about what you’re doing to yourself – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
For Such a Time as This
The likes don’t mean much, the algorithms aren’t really fair, and the views don’t matter. Instagram, or any social media platform for that matter, could be deleted and gone forever at any minute. I’m reminded of Esther 4:14 – which talks about being born for such a time as this. The context is a bit different in this scenario, but it always encourages me.
What I’m doing isn’t life-changing by any means, but I feel so passionately about this topic that I can’t help but believe God has instilled this desire in me for a greater purpose and reason.
At the end of the day, it’s not about who I am or what I’m doing. It’s all about whose I am and who I’m doing it for. Eliminating filters was not so much about encouraging ‘realness’, rather it was symbolic of stripping away everything that clouded how I viewed myself in light of my relationship with Christ. It’s truly about taking a step that I felt called to and it’s been so cool to see God work through that.
Keepin’ it Real
I plan on keepin’ it real. I love being transparent with ya’ll and it has brought me so much joy to hear from many of you with stories, testimonies, and encouraging words. Thank you for responding with so much love and grace. It all has been such a blessing and I can’t wait to see how He uses this generation to bring Him glory. I see it and feel it, and it’s going to be amazing.
I am STOKED.