It's Not About the Selfie by Lindsey Nelson
Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brothers, were called to freedom. Only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity to gratify your flesh, but through love make it your habit to serve one another”.
I wear a lot of hats, and one of those hats is being a youth pastor. One of my many passions is to disciple and raise up young leaders. And to be honest, it was quite hilarious to me when Sadie asked me to write for her Live Original blog. OF COURSE, God…you WOULD push me out there way outside of my comfort zone. Of all the things you know I’d be quick to say yes to, this is what You are asking of me. Mainly, this conversation was happening between the Lord and I, because He has put such a passion inside of me to break down the stronghold that social media has built into a young generation. To gratify and find value in likes, the perfect selfie, or how many followers one may or may not have. It’s been my soapbox. So, the Lord began to not only stir in me to take my writing to the internet, He also sent more confirmations than I could have ever asked for.
Then, Sadie believed that I was supposed to be on her team, I was extremely hesitant and doubtful that I could do it without falling into what I had stood for. Insert exclamation points…I was NOT preaching against social media or the internet. I am in no way anti-social media, CLEARLY. However, I was (and still am) against anything that would stand in the way of someone walking in the fullness of their identity and relationship with their Savior. So, if that is food, Netflix, Instagram, or a relationship…it’s got to go. For many people, young people especially, social media is where they not only find their worth, but where they feel their worth is reflected according to how many likes or followers they have. I stand firm in speaking truth and coming against those lies.
I told Sadie that I needed to pray about it. I immediately was filled with fear and self-doubt. I’ve been writing in journals every day since I was 6 years old – filling book after book for every season and day of my life for the past 23 years. It was time to step out. The Lord was making it clear to me, but I was filled with questions and hesitation. What if I fell into the social media craze? What if I began to find my worth in how people respond to my vulnerable pen to paper moments? What if I fall flat on my face and I hear the horrible words, “I told you so?” I felt paralyzed. I wanted to run the other way and say no. But my incredible husband looked at me, and said, “Lindsey, this is fear. Don’t give in. You preach against pride, but this type of fear is rooted in pride.” OUCH.
So, I began to pray. I needed the Lord to show me His perspective. To navigate me through all my doubts and fears, and bring His truth. Then He showed me this scripture.
Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brothers, were called to freedom. Only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity to gratify your flesh, but through love make it your habit to serve one another.”
He told me the following things:
1. You have been set free from fear of man. Put on the armor of God and walk boldly. I have called you for such a time as this. Am I not the God who set you free? I can do more than set you free, I can show you how to walk out your freedom – in a brand-new way to set the captive free.
2. As I have given you this outlet, be disciplined to fill yourself with only me. So that I may be what is poured out.
3. Serve. Serve as if you are serving me directly. Serve extravagantly. Serve and love, with extraordinary love.
4. I am with you. You are mine and I am yours. I take you nowhere to let you fall. Keep your eyes on me, and know that I will never take my eyes off of you.
So, I stepped out. Outside of my little comfortable corner, and I have started to chase dreams that others can see. Let me let you in on how I’ve walked it out on a practical level – how I have kept what the Lord has told me in check.
1. I don’t scroll through my feed.
Simply because it takes up more of my time then I’d like to admit to myself. I have so much to get done between being a mom, wife, pastor, daughter, and friend, that I just need to say no. I also have not arrived. And to be vulnerable, I can find myself at times producing unhealthy emotions according to what I see. I don’t have time to have any thought in my head that God doesn’t have about me.
2. I not only read, but memorize His word.
I have a large metal ring that holds index cards on it. Once a week, I add an index card to it that I’ve written a scripture on. I go through the scriptures throughout the week with one goal, to memorize. Not just the scripture, but where its at in the bible. The actual reference. If I don’t know what He says in His word, I will always succumb to what I say to myself or what others say. #aintnotbodygottimeforthat
3. Pray/talk to God all day. Everyday.
This is not some super spiritual act where I am in a sanctuary travailing. I talk to Him. I ask Him what He thinks. I ask questions, I vent, I cry, etc. He’s my best friend.
Many say, “I don’t have time to pray.” Well I have learned from those ahead me, “We don’t have time to not pray.”
I haven’t arrived. I have bad days and stressful days. Days that when the little is tucked in to bed and I’m finally getting a moment to relax, all I want to do is zone out and get on social media. But I know that at the end of the day, only I can choose what I feed myself with mentally, spiritually, and physically. Let’s rise up higher! Feed ourselves with LIFE giving nutrients, words, music and healthy rest.
Let’s be ones that fill ourselves with ONLY Him, so that only HE will come out. He has shown me that if I focus whatever I may be doing on Him and not my self, He will guard my heart and mind. I pray every word, picture or conversation I am a part of, HE is exalted. It’s all about Him, not about the selfie.