Sarah Anne Hayes

why I want an instagram worthy life

LifeSarah Anne HayesComment

These days, we talk a lot about social media.

There's entire dialogues surrounding what is and what isn't acceptable to post on social media and at the same time, there's a certain authenticity that is often lacking from those perfectly curated Instagram and Pinterest feeds we consume day after day.

It's easy to fall into the trap of comparison, wondering why your life is so mundane and boring because of what you see friends and colleagues posting online.

A few years ago, I wrote a piece called Your Life is Not An Instagram Feed. It was a reminder to myself, and others, that because social media is so often curated, it isn't a fair comparison tool. Because when you compare yourself to someone else based on what you see online, you're comparing your entire life to their highlight reel. And that never ends well for anybody.

Recently, my thought process has shifted a bit. 

I saw someone post about how your life doesn't have to be "Instagram worthy" to be a good life, and striving to make your life "Instagram worthy" (or "Pinterest worthy") is only ever going to lead to frustration and a never ending cycle of comparison, shame, and self-doubt.

Aiming for an "Instagram worthy" life is this generation's version of keeping up with the Jones'. It's all about the appearance, and not about what's actually happening on the inside.

As I read this, I had an interesting thought... I want an Instagram worthy life.

When you hear the words Instagram or Pinterest "worthy," what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Most likely it's a gorgeous feed filled with beautiful, high-quality images that are inspirational, motivating, and lovely. They're gorgeous women in perfectly styled outfits. A margarita while hanging out on a beach with white sand and beautiful sunshine. It's perfectly styled brunch photos and home vignettes worthy of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. It's adorable laughing children splashing into pools and picturesque mugs of hot chocolate on a snowy night. 

All of those things are wonderful things. They're good and lovely and something to be celebrated. And I'm as guilty as the next person of thinking that my life isn't worth being shared on social media.

But here's the thing: I don't want an "Instagram worthy" life because I want a life that is always full of rainbows and daisies. I want an "Instagram worthy" life because I want a life I'm so completely in love with, I can't help but want to share and celebrate it. A life filled with authenticity and delight and grace and the goodness of the Lord. A life where I can always see Him moving and working and giving me grace upon grace that every moment becomes something worth sharing.

We've somehow bought the lie that we're only supposed to share the good things on social media -- the happy moments, the celebration, the beauty, the delight, the adventures. But the hard moments -- the ones where we're struggling and hurting and wondering what on earth God is doing up there -- those ones shouldn't be talked about. We should hush them up and hide them away so no one ever suspects our weaknesses and struggles.

But the problem is, when we don't post about our struggles and our frustrations, it's easy to put up this facade that everything is just fine and dandy when, in fact, it's not.

Now, there are certainly moments that you don't need to share online. Oversharing is definitely a thing and there are parts of your life and parts of your story that don't need to be posted on the internet for the whole wide world to see and read. There are elements of your story and relationships that are best kept tucked safely away, cherished between no one but you and the loves in your life.

There are certain parts of my story and certain elements of my life I don't talk about online. Not because I'm ashamed, not because I'm afraid, but simply because they're parts of my story that don't need a global audience. I talk about them with friends and family, in the context of community and relationships, because that's where it's understood best.

But when it comes to the whole of my life -- the combination of the good and the bad and the lovely and the hard -- I want it to intentionally be filled with so many things I love and can't help but want to share with the world. Beyond that, I want to choose to find joy and delight in the world I find around me. I want to count my gifts and notice the fingerprints of my Savior everywhere I go.

In Galatians, Paul talks about the fruits of the Spirit and the second one he mentions -- following love -- is joy and I've been reminded constantly that one of the primary marks of the Christian life is a life of joy. 

I want an Instagram worthy life because I want a life marked by joy -- a life filled to overflowing with grace and delight and good things. Beyond the joy and delight that circumstances can bring, I want to choose to find joy and delight in the world I find around me. I want to count my gifts and notice the fingerprints of my Savior everywhere I go.

There will still be hard moments. There will still be difficult conversations. There will still be times where I'm ugly crying on my bedroom floor, staring up at the ceiling and begging God to tell me why. 

But in the midst of those hard and scary and confusing moments, there will always be grace. And because there will always be grace, there will always be joy. And a life filled with joy, one that sees the fingertips of God moving in every space and place sounds pretty Instagram worthy to me.