Instagram is a place where you can find plenty of affirmation or lack of affirmation, where you can discover personal securities or radical insecurities. In life, and on Instagram, we tend to put a lot of weight in other people’s opinion of ourselves - whether thats positive or negative. Whether we know it or not, we will let those opinions of others shape how we view ourselves. In a world where self-worth is commonly found in what others say about you, with Instagram playing a huge role in this affirmation game - let’s take a brief moment to step back and ask - what does God say about us?! How do we let God’s view of us shape our own opinion of ourselves?
Romans, a letter written by Paul to the Christians in Rome, is one of the most essential books ever written. It shares all about what it means to be saved, what grace is, and how our lives should be changed based on fundamental truth. We find one of the most comforting promises from God in Romans 8:38, where it says,
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Think of a person that you really love - your best friend for example. Even though you may not want to think about this for too long, consider ways that you and your friend could fall out of mutual love and respect — maybe they backstab you, start dating the person they know you like, get you into trouble, or simply move away and you don’t see them anymore. There are, unfortunately, many ways that as humans we can lose love for someone. Not our Heavenly Father, though - there is absolutely nothing you could do to separate yourself from His love. There is no sin you could commit, no amount of disrespect, no distance you could move to, no amount of backstabbing could ever get God to stop loving you! He loves you more than your best friend ever could, more than your parents could, more than I ever could. He loves you… a lot!
In regards to finding your self-worth based off of other people’s opinions about you - let’s think about how much God loves you, focus on His opinion on you, and let that shape your opinion of yourself! God tells us how great His love is for us so that we will feel totally and completely secure in Him! Specifically, when it comes to Instagram, I see people so frequently seeking approval personal security, and affirmation in their followers. Happy or upset about the amount of likes a post gets, depressed over the little amount of followers they have, and even flat out asking for affirmation with captions such as: “Comment for TBH” (for those who don’t know: if someone comments, the poster has to direct message them a “To Be Honest, I think you are _____”).
And to this, I ask: why do we care so much about what people think about us? Do we find a glimpse of affirmation, only for it to be washed away when that post has passed - and then we lose affirmation or sense of security when we get negative vibes elsewhere? Affirmation from others, finding identity in the options of others - this is fleeting, won’t last, and can be damaging. It will leave you empty and needing more. So the takeaway from the love of God is that TBH: God loves you and that is all that matters.
Knowing this should be all we need for self-worth, affirmation, and security. The Creator of the universe loves you, not for anything you did, He just loves you. When you feel unlovable, lonely, too messed up - He loves you. When you feel lost and misunderstood - He values you. He considers you, Christians, His sons and daughters. So where do you find your affirmation? Is it in the comments, likes, and TBH of others? Or do we find affirmation in the infinite love of God? Where do you find your security and self-worth? Let’s not let the opinions of others define us, but let the opinion and love of God define us.
Quick side note: I am not saying positive encouragement from others is a bad thing. God uses people to encourage others and build others up and that’s a good thing! Just be careful how much we allow options of others impact our view of self!