instagram vs. reality

the other day, i uploaded a picture of myself on instagram. it got plenty of likes. several people commented “you are so pretty!”. yeah. all the things. honestly, i felt pretty good about myself. it feels good to be told that you’re pretty. i’m ashamed to say that sometimes my validation comes from my instagram and snapchat way more often than it does my Maker. i completely eat it up when i get lots of likes or comments on my posts.

social media can be insanely hurtful to our self-esteem. how many times have you opened instagram on your phone and immediately been hurt because of a super pretty girl that you see? the negative thoughts often come in before we can stop them. she is way prettier than me. how does she get her hair to look like that? geez, i need to lose weight, look how skinny that girl is! i wish i looked like her.

um…guilty as charged. the comparison game is no fun, yet it’s one of the easiest to get caught up in. social media is really good at making us jealous of each other’s “perfect” lives. it’s also really good at allowing us to hide behind a screen and make our lives into something they’re not. because who knows, maybe if we act like we have it all together online, people will think that of us in real life.

comparison is a never-ending web of hurt that no one escapes from unscathed. it will eat you up and tear you apart time and time again. it will leave you feeling bitter, worthless, and alone. and where do most of these feelings come from? oh, yeah. from seeing that super pretty girl’s selfie. from seeing that cute relationship post.

instead of getting lost in a game that i cannot win, i have been repeating 1 peter 3:3-4 over and over in my head. i memorized it for those times when i’m feeling not-so-pretty because of a picture that i see online.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. (hcsb)

my focus should be on what is inside the heart. my focus should be on loving others – on having a gentle and quiet spirit. because that – not how i look, or how that other girl looks – is very valuable in God’s eyes. let me say that again: your heart, not your looks, is very valuable in God’s eyes.

so in honor of this, i want to show you guys something. here is that picture i posted on instagram…and also a picture of me with all of my makeup off. the real me. how I normally look. the me who hasn’t done her hair or put on her makeup or filtered her picture. the cool thing is that God doesn’t care which one of these I look like. He cares about my heart. He cares about the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. He values that.

i pray that this encourages you to not play the comparison game. forget that post. forget that “perfect” picture.  i promise that you are beautiful – not because of what’s on the outside, but because of what’s on the inside. you are beautiful because you are kind, gentle, and caring. you are beautiful because of your heart.

oh, and the outside is pretty awesome, too.

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