As a writer and marketer, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love its power, its influence, and its potential. But I hate how insecure I feel after seeing how perfect others’ lives are; how much better their feeds are; how many more followers they have. And so on.
On good days I don’t let it get to me. The dominant narrative in my head is, “you’re working part-time at your strategy, don’t be so hard on yourself,” and “you have different goals, don’t focus on vanity metrics.” On bad days I can’t let it go. On those days phrases like, “everyone else understands social media in a way you never will,” and “you’re not as nice as them and no one likes you” flow through my mind.
Social media is a double-edged sword. We all know it. It’s why we’re focused on authenticity and honesty—we understand the picture-perfect story we see on our social media feeds isn’t reality, but it’s difficult to stop comparing.
A perfect biblical reference in this situation is when the prophet Samuel anoints David as king of Israel. No one saw it coming. What people expected of a king was someone who was tall, handsome, accomplished, and popular. Who was David? He was a short, young shepherd kid who lived in the middle of nowhere. No one had ever heard of him.
Even when Samuel saw David, he didn’t think he was a good fit. Instead, he looked at David’s brothers thinking, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” (1 Samuel 16:6.)
God’s response: “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,” (16:7).
In our outward-focused society, how can we keep focused on what really matters? How can we proiritize our heart condition over our social perception? Here are my thoughts.
1. Don’t worry about what others think, worry about what God thinks
Worrying about what others think is normal, but when you allow it to control how you feel about yourself you lose focus on what matters. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you,” (1 Peter 5:7).
2. Focus on what you’re responsible for rather than things you can’t control
A lot of how we feel comes down to choice. When we’re intentional about putting our energy into things we can control there isn’t as much room to focus on things you can’t. It takes discipline but it’s possible. “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing,” (1 Corinthians 9:25-26).
3. The next time you’re feeling insecure, ask yourself who’s influencing you—is it God or is it man?
Easier said than done, I know. But when we set our minds on the things of God, comparison and competition slide into the background. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord is kept safe,” (Proverbs 29:25).Remember, God looks at the heart. It is so much more important than outward appearances
4. Remember, God looks at the heart. It is so much more important than outward appearances
This is something I tell myself every day. I ask myself why I’m worrying about others so much and how can I use my influence for God. It’s not something I can pull back on either, it’s so easy to focus on things that don’t matter. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Philippians 4:8).
Social media keeps us connected and gives us a peek into others’ lives, but it’s not the whole story. We need to remember our perception is not reality and keep focused on things that matter.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” ~ Steve Furtick