That's it, I thought quietly to myself. I can't look at one more Instagram profile like this.
Tapping the screen, I logged off and busied my hands by wiping down and organizing the bathroom counter. Yet while my account was logged off, my mind was still logged on to Instagram world, - and I was playing the comparison game.
She really has it all together. How does she find the time to homeschool, homemake, homestead, and run a social media business? Look at that excellent videography. How is her house so clean and polished? I wonder how she does it all...
It was the aesthetically pleasing kitchens and bedrooms, the perfect camera quality and angles, the effortless housekeeping skills, and the ease with which the Instagram reels captured the gentle parenting, that had me comparing, analyzing, judging, and finally, coveting.
Have you been there?
Why was I comparing and finally, coveting?
I don't live on a homestead. We have herbs and some tomatoes growing in the backyard, but we don't have acres of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and pastures. We live in a quiet, suburban neighborhood roughly 2 minutes from Starbucks and Chick Fil-A. I don't make our bread, or granola bars, or gummy vitamins. I have homemade bone broth in the fridge, and jams I made last summer stacked in the pantry, but I also have chicken nuggets in our freezer and cheese flavored crackers in the kid's snack cabinet.
I don't homeschool my children. I have shelves of books for my kiddos to read and a regularly rotating stack of library checkouts, but I also have class schedules, a list of upcoming tests and projects, and various prayer needs and heart-seeking questions to ask the kids written down in my planner.
I don't make posts on Instagram 3-4 times a week or record reels often. I share what I have processed and the things I learn from the seasons I am in. My social media page is not trendy, nor is it wildly funny, aesthetic, or popular, but it is wildly personal.
All of these things - these average, home-and-life things - convinced me that I did not meet the desired criteria, and before I was aware of the sin churning in my heart, I heaped pressure upon myself to complete with the running flux of social media influencers. And yet, while I read about marketing and trends that can capture the attention of the world within the screen, I was forgetting about the world inside the walls of my home. My sights were on gaining followers - strangers - when I had three young people who mean the world to me and were looking to me to show them how to live. The truth is, I am already an influencer - just not the kind the world esteems.
Social media is fun and can be inspiring, but social media and all its trends can also be dangerous. Algorithms seem to detect our weaknesses just as much as our interests. On a hard day when I feel insecure or dissatisfied with my life, Instagram will inevitably flood my feed with ads on crash diets, homesteading posts, or the classic 3-steps to entrepreneurial success. What was once a place to post pictures of your life to share with those you love, is now a competitive platform that can ensnare and discourage just as easily as it can build up and inspire. It takes great discernment and wisdom to keep steady amidst the ever-changing social media trends that can pull you into sinful envy and idolatry. If the world on your screen embitters you against God for the life you do not have, then it is time to take a step back and look into the mirror of God's Word.
It was the apostle Paul who said, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). That statement does not mean that Paul was concerned with the amount of people who followed him, rather he was only interested in the quality of those who followed Christ. He knew that as a believer in Jesus, his responsibility was to use his gifts to imitate Christ to the world and compel them to do the same. He wasn't in competition with other disciples, nor was he obsessed with following trends in order to make the gospel message more appealing. His only aim was simply to spread the gospel, and he did so while being himself - making tents, sharing meals, preaching to rulers and dignitaries, and encouraging fellow believers through his letters from prison. This is a good reminder for us as we navigate the world of bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, and content creators.
I love watching my fellow sisters in the Lord milk their cows, bake their bread, grow their gardens, and create beautiful truths for me to like and share on my own feed. They are using the life God has given them to share the gospel in a particular and beautiful way. Likewise, I also love my fellow sisters who disciple from their work office, who encourage over frozen pizza and ice cream, who endeavor to imitate Christ to their children in the school line, and who faithfully live for Jesus without ever sharing an Instagram story. They, too, are using the life God has give them to share the gospel in a particular and beautiful way. Both groups of women are influential whether or not they have 600k online followers and the latest iPhone technology at their disposal.
My three most important followers are my children - who have my nose and my proclivity to sin. They are influenced by me whether I make money by creating reels documenting my homesteading journey, or whether the bills get paid because I faithfully show up to work at the office. They are influenced by my response when I sin, by my reactions to their disobedience, by my love for my husband, by the questions I ask them, by the wisdom and attention that I give them, and by my involvement with the local church. They are influenced by my dependance on God's Word and by the things I talk about in our home. My influence with my children will last long after Instagram and TikTok fade from memory. My work as a wife and mother is an eternal work, a work that does not issue a weekly paycheck deposited into the bank down the street, but one that will impact souls who will step into eternity.
Faithfulness to Christ is far more fruitful than any aesthetically-pleasing thing that graces the online world. My friend, keep the main thing the main thing and endeavor to imitate Christ, regardless of your position or social media presence.