The crowd cheered, danced, and sang along as the band played. I was absorbed in excitement, the bright lights, and the melody filling the air. Then, for a moment, I paused and took in the scene. As I looked around at the audience, I noticed how many people were experiencing the concert through the lens of their phone’s camera . Many were taking videos and pictures and posting them on their Snapchat stories or Instagram. One girl was even FaceTiming with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, I took a few pictures and videos too, and I even posted one on Instagram. I’m really glad that I have those pictures to remember the night by. However, something about this scene bothered me. I was in a building packed with 2,000 young people, but I wonder how many were completely present? Is our effort to capture memories actually hindering our ability to make them?
As I look at my life and the lives of other’s around me, sometimes I feel like we are all living in competition for the spotlight. We are all striving for more followers, friends, favorites, likes, and retweets. With a couple of clicks, our lives are on display for everyone to see. I can’t help thinking that, maybe, just maybe, we weren’t created to live like this.
I think there is something really special about simple nights spent laughing with family and friends. Memories like that are special because they are shared by few. In our journey to display our lives for the world, we’ve lost the simple joys. Maybe we would all benefit from a bit of mystery. Maybe the platform for our story is not meant to be shared to the masses, but in authentic community.
My problem isn’t with social media, but with the mindset it has created in my generation. It has made life a competition. It has created an inability to truly connect to one another. We are all hustling for perfection, for bigger and better. We are constantly bombarded with each other’s picture-perfect moments, and it makes us feel like we need to improve our seemingly boring, ordinary lives. In our need for acceptance and approval, we have become consumed with ourselves. Sometimes I think we simply need to step down from our stage and enter into beautiful reality. We need to stop living through everyone else’s eyes, and instead pursue God alone. Let’s learn to connect, to really connect, to be present, to love authentically, and to embrace tears and laughter.
God’s story isn’t bright, loud, and flashy like the world’s. God story is simple, yet extraordinary. God’s story is much quieter. It’s a baby born in a manger under a starry sky on a silent night. In God’s story, we’re not called to be the star. We are simply called to take the background in the most amazing story ever written, where God is the author, and He receives all the glory. We weren’t created for the spotlight. We have been called to live like Jesus, simple, ordinary lives filled with love. We have been called to serve the least of these. We have been called to one ultimate purpose- to bring glory to God. Here is the best part- when we finally stop competing, step out of the spotlight, and enter into God’s story, we experience freedom. In God’s story, we don’t have anyone to impress, nothing to prove, or anyone to compete with. There is no ladder to climb, no spotlight to achieve. We simply have to accept God’s beautiful gift of grace and live our lives in an outpouring of love, gratitude, and worship for Him.
So let’s live authentically. Let’s choose God’s story. Let’s not let our minds be consumed with a picture-perfect culture. Let’s stop competing with our neighbor, but choose to love them as Christ has loved us. Let’s choose to be present. Let’s serve each other in love. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let’s turn off the lights, the noise, and the distractions. Let’s step out of the spotlight and enter into God’s glorious story of love.
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