Lately, this has been bothering me.
Is this overly-saturated world of style… wrong? Or even just social media in general. Constant selfies, look-what-I-just-bought, self-absorbed posts filling our Instagrams and polluting our minds with what we need to live to a happy life. Unnecessary ingredients to spit out the perfect person recipe. We scroll through the highlight reels from others and desire the same as them. If only we had that designer bag, that quality overpriced blazer, that modern naturally-lit home, that sporadic dream vacation… We become jealous, envious, and it brutally destroys our right state of mind.
How do we stay Christ-conscious in today’s world of style? How do we not let these worldly deprecations seep into our well-being and spiritual-being? Where do we draw the line of self | God.. and whom are we attempting to please, Him or us?
Can we walk the fine line of what God wants and what we want? Should we flirt with that line AT ALL? It’s weighing heavy on my heart. I can’t stop thinking about the “influencers” of fashion and, when combined with the gravity of social media, what it can do to us. Sometimes, we get lost in it and lose our Christ-consciousness.
How do we draw the line between being self-absorbed and God-absorbed?
Sure, we can appreciate some of the things our society has to offer. It’s great to #treatyourself every once in awhile!
But how far is too far? How many steps until we are on the edge of the pit of destruction and we are no longer pleasing ourselves, we are pleasing the world around us? The pit is deep, the fall is numbing.
Before I go further, let me share my logic and intentions of starting this blog and my Instagram in the first place, and what led me to this post.
I would love to have an online brand/store one day, it’s always been “the dream”. I thought of this blog + Insta combo as a great stepping stone to get there. Not only would I put my style into consistent practice and have a somewhat-paid creative outlet, I would accumulate a source of potential customers that appreciate and become comfortable with my style. People ready to see this brand unleash once I open the online doors of my business. People like YOU would help support that business one day, and you would be right there instead of starting from absolute scratch.
Entrepreneurial? I think it is… lots of bloggers who gained enough traction turned around and did the same thing. They’re already showcasing products for other companies in order to influence their market of viewers who like their taste in style… why not make that brand theirs?
So anyway, I came up with this idea in hopes that one day, it will pay off when I am ready to start my own business. It makes sense in my mind. In the process, I can accumulate the amount of followers that businesses prefer a blogger to have in order to pay me to style and market their products.
Sounds superficial, doesn’t it? I know. I kind of hate even typing it out.
But, now that I’ve struggled to reach these pre-determined levels of Insta-success in the past few years, poured a stupid amount of money into new pieces to style outfits with, built up the frustration of forcing outfit pictures when I rarely have time, paying people to help me successfully beat algorithms… is it worth it? Is it a waste? Is this too superficial?
What about the perception of the outside looking in?
What do people see when they look at my Instagram? Do people think, “Wow, this chick’s got a lot of pictures of herself.” “I wish I could afford to have this/that…” “Self-absorbed.” “What a millennial.”
I wonder if they do, because when I look at other people and their style, I find myself desiring more things I don’t have. I start to feel more insecure and less content. I would never doubt that everyone does this from time to time.
I understand that what others think about us may not always matter, but does this even please God? What about Him? Are we falling into a path of self-loving destruction? Are we causing others to stumble by making them think greedy and egotistical thoughts?
Could you see Jesus having an Instagram and posting and posing for the world wide web to see? I mean, duh we’d all love to see His wise thoughts and everyday journeys, what He recommends, how He lives. His selfies would probably break the Internet… and I’m sure He would have more than just 12 followers on there. But honestly, I’m guessing He would be too humble for it and would be completely enveloped in the Father.
As a Christian – a follower of Christ – I want to be all-in for God. I want to strap on Jesus sandals and walk the walk. I purposefully try to watch my every step out of respect for the Almighty, and if I step astray, oh how I desire to correct it back to the path of righteousness. I’m afraid and worried that I could be on the wrong path… or at least, the path of thorns is close by.
Here’s what I think: God wants us to use our talents and gifts if they don’t get in the way of glorifying + obeying Him.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.”James 1:14-18
All good gifts are sent from Him alone, but once these take over God’s precedence in our lives, it becomes a problem. Am I cancelling out daily devotional time with God to take stylish pictures instead? Am I dishonoring my marriage by overspending on items we can’t afford in hopes that I make a successful blog? Am I scrolling and filling myself with envy and discontentment for the things I don’t have? Am I posting to make others like me, or perhaps to feel approved?
Once we cross that line, it becomes sin. If we balance the two, and are utterly careful not to get overtaken by our own selfish desires but rather insist on God first us second, well then it might be okay, I think.
I recently took a massive detox from this all-consuming fashion-world so I could concentrate on the bigger picture. I went months without buying a single thing except maybe a $20 shirt on clearance at the local Target, if that counts. I went months posting barely anything at all, and I’ll be honest, I was so much less stressed and anxious. I separated myself from something that started taking over. But, at the same time, it was depressing and suppressing for me because I wasn’t releasing my creativity. I was sad and down in the dumps because I wasn’t creatively expressing myself like I was used to. I realized I do need bouts of innovation and self-expression, it’s just who I am!
But we should worry less about our online presence and more about our right-here-right-now presence.
It was really hard for me to have that break. I made the choice to do it, though, because I needed to STOP. Breathe. Read my Bible. Speak with God. Spend quality time with my husband. Enjoy LIFE and not worry constantly about picture opportunities. I got to live my life and be in it, not be swallowed by it.
He must become greater, I must become less.
That step back made me see the bigger picture and God in the midst of it. He must become greater, I must become less. I just have to prioritize what really matters, and that’s Him. Everything will come after, and as long as He is at my battlefront, nothing else can take over.
Let’s take action to heed the world from our Christ-conscious hearts.
God clearly states in James 1 that the gifts He gives us are just that… gifts He gives us. And everything from Him is good and perfect. But, when we are lured in by our desires and we sign our lives over to them, this is when it becomes a sin.
If I scrounge up every second of my spare time and fill up every corner of my brain with thoughts of things that are all about self, I’ve stepped into the danger zone. Focusing on my outfits, my feed, how I look, my measure of success, my capacity to please others and if it’s enough. But while I’m getting wrapped up in all this, I am overriding my time with God where I could’ve spent that time in my Bible, praying, and worshipping instead. I could’ve clearly seen the parts of His Word where He reassures me that I am enough, tells me to cast all burdens at His feet, asks me to seek Him above all else, and to humbly come before Him with praise, adoration, prayer and thanksgiving.
He does want us to be who He intended for us to be, He just doesn’t want us to get overwhelmed and undertaken by the current. Especially things like greed, envy, discontent, boasting, and jealousy – all common factors with participants of social media.
Oh and did you catch that part that says, “Of His own will, He brought us forth by the Word of Truth.” He created us to be His children, longing for our Father, the very person we were made to be. Do you see that? He thought the world needed one of YOU. With all of your mistakes, talents, and hairs numbered… He knows you and the unique talents and gifts you have. He knows your words before you speak them. After all, He’s the Master and Creator of your detailed life plan!
In this time I have reflected so, so much on if I want to even continue blogging and Instagramming. All these years, I’ve had the best intentions in pursuit of this, but I begin to worry about causing others to stumble down a path of greed simply by showing the latest and greatest product that I love. I was worried that people would log onto Instagram and see me, me, ME all over my feed and think I was selfish. I began feeling anxious thinking of the time, energy, and money I could be dumping into this unsuccessful drain.
Because I feel that God blesses us with certain talents and creativeness, I don’t think it would be possible for me to stray from style since it’s in my blueprint. But I will tell you that I am changing to concentrate less on myself and my own desires, and more on Him. He is in the front seat. Heck, He’s the driver. And where He goes I will follow. The journey won’t be a perfect one with me being a backseat driver. I’ll probably try to steer on my own a time or two more, but if I do, I’ve learned how to step back.
I’m going to keep at it but I’m going to stay Christ-conscious. I desire nothing more than to honor God with what I do. Nothing comes before Him, nothing. He gets a prioritized spot in my day above all else.
I’m going to continue to boldly speak Christ-consciousness into fashion and style, including the importance of modesty, financial logic, and posting something only after I’ve spoken to God that day. No more letting it breach my mind.
I’m going to post encouragement, such as Bible verses, to intentionally convey my purpose (of even being on this earth) to anyone watching on social media.
I’m going to stay smart about my pocketbook. I’ll put my family at the forefront of our finances, not fashion. I won’t stretch our money just to buy a new shirt. I will only buy something if I will have it as a piece to wear time and time again, only when suitable.
And lastly, I am placing my identity in Christ.
My identity is not a fashion blogger. My identity is in Christ. Who cares if I am successful in style? This world will pass away. My success is in Christ. I want eternal rewards for being a daughter of the King. If there’s anything somebody remembers about me, I hope they remember my identity as a Christ-follower over a fashion-blogger.
My style is Christ. Jesus is my fashion.
I will put on the armor of God for my #OutfitOfTheDay today and every day after. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of readiness given by the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit. And that in opening my mouth, the words I proclaim will boldly declare the mystery of the gospel.
I challenge you to be #ChristConscious with me in this world that does nothing but try to tear us down.
Thanks for reading!