Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I have just recently gotten into a whole new social media platform – Instagram. Instagram, as I understand from my young adult child, is a newer social media platform than Facebook, and seems to be just pictures rather than ‘posts’. I now ‘follow’ a whole bunch of people on Instagram. It’s a little like flipping through a virtual photo album. I also have a number of ‘followers’ on Instagram. They are all going to be really disappointed because I can’t figure out how to post any of my pictures.
Which is frankly, just as well. My pictures aren’t like these glam shots that I see on Instagram. My pictures consist mostly of blurry shots of the dogs or weird angles of my feet because I accidentally took a picture when I was trying to get a (blurry) shot of the dogs.
Instagram pictures are a whole different class. On Instagram, flowers bloom with no hint of wilting and often have a strategically placed dewdrop on a single petal. People have perfect complexions and happy smiles and all seem to be walking down really pretty pathways without huffing and puffing and looking like – well me, on a normal day. Dogs are frolicking merrily in a paddock with a few happy sheep and look like they just had a bath and were blown dry by a member of staff at Elizabeth Arden. The Instagram world is bright. Shiny. Clean.
And oddly one-dimensional.
Its life, curated. Posed. Lived for a specific purpose; for a ‘social media’ presence.
One of the odd things I noticed is that the posing in group shots – particularly for women – is the weird, contrived stance that actually looks painful. One knee is cocked like its sore; the other is hyperextended backwards. Feet are close together. Mostly the women have their arms around each other and they stand very close together as if they are holding each other up in this awkward, unbalanced stance. You know these are not lovers – often they aren’t necessarily friends – but for the sake of the picture they cling onto each other as if they are intimate with each other. I understand that this posing is supposed to make you look more slender.
The thing is; regardless of how I stand, or pose, or frolic for pictures, I still have exactly the same body as I had when I slouched, or sprawled or vegged out in front of the TV in my bathrobe. My body doesn’t change. Its your perception of my body that changes.
I’m not sure exactly what I think about this. I like to look good. I like to dress in a way that I find attractive. I hope that people regard my appearance as pleasant.
But the one dimensional, sanitized and curated Instagram world feels a little, oddly, demoralizing. God’s creation is no longer embraced in the whole. My offering to God is only part of myself; the part that is conformed to the expectations of our society.
And yet, we are asked to offer all of us – because its only in this that we can have God bring out what is our best.
Besides which, I think I would hurt myself if I tried to stand in an Instagram pose! And I find blurry pictures of my dogs and odd pictures of my feet weirdly pleasing.
Blessings today and remember you are Loved.