Instagram, Jesus, and the #Nofilter Life

I love Instagram.  Its the billion dollar (literally) iPhone app that lets you take pictures of random things, events, or people and post it like a status update.  Also, you can make the picture look older and more nostalgic so that it reminds you of your childhood.  I got to thinking about why Instagram is so popular.  I think its partly because there’s something in human nature that loves beauty and wants to capture the uncapturable, but that’s another blog post.

Maybe what I love most about Instagram … looking at other people’s photos, commenting on them, and ‘liking’ them … is that it leans towards the abstraction.  Each photo requires some interpretation.  There’s always a reason why someone took a picture of that apple, or that sunset, or that party.  Then there’s the filters.   There’s always a reason that they chose “Hudson” filter over “Lo-Fi,” or “toaster” over “early bird.”  There’s a reason why they tilt-shifted and focused on that particular object.  Often the filters I choose reflect my mood.  But maybe I just over think it …

I think if we’re all honest, we all kind of live this Instagram life.  We make decisions, wear certain clothes, go to certain colleges, pursue certain jobs, hang out with certain friends in order to portray an image of beauty & sophistication.  We even apply certain filters to the things we say and do so as to maintain the image we seek to maintain.  And there are even those of us that tilt-shift certain things about ourselves so that people will notice those things and blur out or ignore the rest of who we are.  

One time Jesus said something to a group of religious leaders that were so concerned with image, with portraying a certain identity, and with applying all the right filters: “you are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” There was a huge gap between the image they were portraying and the true condition of their hearts. 

As much as I love Instagram, I don’t want to live an Instagram life.  I don’t want to always be worrying about which filter to apply, which image to portray, which user to follow or not follow, and which celebrity to “explore.”  I don’t want to carry the pressure of having just the right brightness and color for everyone to see.  I want to live life with #nofilter, serving, caring, loving, and leading with compassion and selflessness.  I want to live free of the identity that the world seeks to ascribe to me, and walk with God in truth and authenticity.  I want the image I seek to portray be one that is the same as the character with which I seek to live.  I want my #photooftheday every day to be one of a man who walks with God, who hungers for truth, and who creates a more beautiful world in my wake.

Know what I mean?  Or is that too cheesy?  🙂

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