So this is me at an Instameet.
My Home town.
Now, for those of you who don’t know what that is…it is a bunch of wonderful people that meet up from all around the world sharing a common interest in photography shared on a little app called Instagram. (Okay well not that little).
It is a lot of fun and I have met some fantastic friends from all around the world, not to mention the fun of traveling and seeing more of the amazing cities around you.
Initially I downloaded the app when I bought my very first smart phone after moving the US. I must admit I did not want a “smart” phone and almost cried when I finally put my black berry down.
I used the app for our on line clothing store to share new trends, new arrivals, and ridiculous selfies of me wearing sunglasses. It was fun. Then I posted a sunset and someone told me “great pic you should hashtag it”. Hash what? Yes that’s right I had no idea what a hashtag was.
They kindly explained and wow instantly 15 likes (yes this was big for me) and it was exciting. People responded!.
I had a love for photography long before I was introduced to Instagram but having a camera on your phone was pretty awesome and being able to share it with others even better. This was a fun creative outlet.
Well as some of you know the story we had to close the store down. I started using the app for fun personal photographs and gained a small following and started making friends. I went to my first instameet and that was a blast. Finally I was a suggested user by Instagram and this is where my story starts.
What once was a fun app used for taking pics of what I liked and enjoyed turned into an app of taking photographs to please others. As much as you try and tell yourself not to care of what others think, it’s not that easy and this something I needed to learn.
What only 500 likes? Have to try something better on the next one. In the world of social media a day would sound something along the lines of this – 10 retweets, 5 replies to, lost followers, he followed me, she won’t follow me, 500 likes only 2 comments, 1000 likes and wow cannot believe so and so instafamous just started following me. Really? Or maybe this was only me and if it was something kept telling me that there is more to life than this.
I got swept away and I found that editing, posting and getting feedback on something I had “created” made me feel good. I could scroll through pictures for hours getting lost in all those lovely images. This also kept me very busy while I had to deal with losing our business as well as facing a few other challenges at that time.
Things needed to change…
I was listening to Pastor Jentzen Franklin one day and he said something that stood out to me. When we are looking for enjoyment or fulfillment in other places other than God first as He is the only one that can give us lasting fulfillment we will not have balance in our life. I kept telling myself that it is a platform to share inspiration with others. Yes it is, but if we are not serving others where we are at that point in our life, like our neighbors, church, family where we don’t get all the glory and recognition will we still be doing it? Or is it easy to inspire others on a platform where you get all the credit? It is sad, but so many of us searching for fame, fortune and somewhere to belong. An identity of who we would like to be. I felt that this was not my purpose in life.
I started to pray. Reading through the book of Jeremiah I started to see verses over and over put down your idols. Images you make for yourselves. Images. It has been like this from the beginning of time we place idols in our lives and anything taking more time and focus than what God should be in our lives even when we tell ourselves it’s for a good purpose. I started to see things differently. One pretty picture after another, and then another and then another and another. Now don’t get me wrong it is good to honor each other and there are some amazingly talented people out there with great work, but we took the pics guys we did not actually make the sunset or that mountain.
I am not saying this is everyone’s story as there are others who might have had a different experience and use it for work and inspiration and so much more, but this is my story. I have decided that I like my real life. I have decided that spending time with my family on weekends is more important to me than getting out there and getting that perfect shot. Being faithful where I am is more than attaining fame or fortune. Graciously the Lord has shown me that you don’t need a platform to change lives and love people. Start at home and everything else will follow. Reach out to the people around you, serve. Jesus did not look for fame and glory and neither should we, but to seek God’s will and to be faithful in our task and calling.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others above yourself.