When I first started blogging and Instagram it was partly because I was pseudo-unemployed. I thought maybe blogging could lead to some income (that hasn’t happened yet!). Also, I sensed God was telling me to take a risk and put myself out there, try something new, even if it doesn’t get results. Last week, I focused on how blogging and Instagram are killing me. You can read more about that here. Today, I want to talk about the many ways how strangely, Instagram and blogging are building me up…! In all the areas where God has been using Instagram to kill my old self, He is building up my new self and giving me freedom from the things that bind!
How Instagram and Blogging are Building Me Up:
- I have to let go of what people think about me. More and more, I am learning to be bold and confident about who I am, where I am in life, and to not care what people think of me. Instagram/blogging is about my unique story and how that allows me to create a brand or content that is distinctly my own.
- On working retail in my 30’s – Because of where I am in life, I can speak to and relate to different people who may be going through something similar. For instance, while I struggle with being pseudo-unemployed, I’ve made friends via Instagram who are in their own season of waiting. I used to feel ashamed of where I am in life, but these interesting Instagram and blogging connections have made me realize there is nothing to be ashamed of. Unemployment isn’t just something I struggle with, but many people struggle with it. Where I am in life, what I’m doing, who I am…those aren’t liabilities but assets. This is where I’m at, so who cares if I don’t seem to stack up to where I think I “should be.” People probably don’t even care! But, even if they do…what does it really have to do with me?! Other people’s opinions of me does not change who I am or my circumstance. I cannot and should not let what other people think of me dictate my life!
- Working toward being a leader – I realized that if I ever want to be a leader…I can’t care what people think of me! I’m going to have to learn to make hard decisions that not everyone agrees with. I will have to take risks, do research, trust my gut. There are always going to be critics! Even when it comes to what I post on an Instagram story, I’ve had my sister message me and ask, “Why would you share that? Isn’t that personal?” If I’m building a brand or platform, I am the one who controls the story I want to tell. It’s my decision. But, it would be so easy to give in to everyone else’s demands and opinions…that is why it is so important to let go of what people think of me!
- There is no room for perfectionism. The thing with Instagram and blogging is that it’s a crazy content beast. You have to constantly pump out content. Everyday, Instagram wants a post! The moment you stop posting, the moment you become irrelevant. That’s just the way it works.
- Daily posting – This means that every day, I needed to post something, which is a real challenge for a perfectionist. For a short time, I joined a “group/pod” on Instagram. Basically, this is where a group of bloggers get together and agree to support each other by liking each other’s content as a way to increase their audience exposure because of the algorithm etc… One of the best things that came of it for me…as a recovering perfectionist, was that the group held me accountable! Everyday, I had to like and comment on every single person’s post, whether I posted anything to Instagram or not. Previously, I did not post regularly. But, after I joined the group, I felt like I “worked for it,” to post! What I mean is that, I already liked and commented on everyone’s post, but if I didn’t post something too…then it was as though I did all the work for nothing! So, I would force myself to post. This was excruciatingly painful at times! It would be 11pm and I would think, “Oh no…I didn’t post anything yet! Well, I better because I already commented and liked everyone’s pic! Okay…what to post?! I have nothing?! All these photos are terrible! I don’t know how to edit! This caption is terrible….” If it weren’t for the group, I would have just called it quits and put it off to the next day. But the group inadvertently held me accountable and forced me to post EVERYDAY, which meant posting whether or not the photo met my standards. I had to learn to put myself out there even if it didn’t seem like my “best” or “perfect.” Also, I saw how other group members would post just about anything and everything. Maybe their photos weren’t perfect either, but they weren’t afraid to take risks and put themselves out there! This encouraged me to continue to post with consistency even if I didn’t think I had the “best” content.
- Finding my voice – this is related to my thoughts on becoming a leader but slightly different. As I continue blogging and posting on Instagram, I am learning to find my voice as it relates to fashion, captions, faith, the blog, etc… I am getting a sense for what I care about, what I want to talk about, and write. It’s so easy to think, “A lot of bloggers do this….so let me do that too….” But, as I write and post more frequently, I discover new things I want to write about.
- Photo editing – Because I am posting more regularly….lo and behold, I am getting better at editing my photos. By no means am I a pro, but at the very least, I’m gaining a better understanding of the different editing tools and how to use them! Here is the thing… I want to present a “perfect Instagram grid,” that makes me look like a “legit blogger/Instagrammer,” but there is no way to get there without tons of practice! It is a work in progress…and overtime, I am getting better at it, but I can’t progress without actually posting regularly! Everyday is a struggle with my perfectionism, but everyday, this whole blogging and Instagram thing is helping break down my resolve.
- Being a “girl boss/boss babe” – I have to give myself grace. This is a learning process.
- Perfectionism – Again, this is similar to the above section, but different because this has to do with my self-management. I have to remember I just need to do my best, and sometimes my best falls short of what I think my best is! Posting something is better than posting nothing. Recently, I submitted what I thought was the worst paper I ever wrote. I even apologized to my professor. It was filled with grammatical errors, typos, and in my opinion, it was unacceptable, maybe worthy of a ‘C’ at most! However, my professor responded with grace, “Sometimes, a completed paper is better than no paper!” He gave me an ‘A’ on the assignment. I thought what would make the grade was the content, structure, grammar, citations, basically everything! In my mind, they all had to be perfect! My professor was showing me that what mattered most was the structure, argument, reasoning, content…the rest mattered, but those weren’t the things that were going to make or break my paper. This just goes to show that what I think is really important may not be all that important! I have to learn to give myself grace like my professor did and just focus on what matters most!
- Self-Condemnation – Sometimes I will fail. Sometimes, I will not meet my personal expectations or deadline. When this happens, I have to remember, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1 ESV) If Christ doesn’t condemn me…then who am I to condemn myself when I think I fall short?! I need to let it go and submit it to God.
- Body image – Initially, I was very critical of my body whenever I saw pictures, but surprisingly, I am becoming more comfortable and confident about who I am and my body!
- Photos – I realized that the camera was in fact, distorting my body. So, it’s just a matter of getting my husband to take the photos a little differently so I don’t appear so short! Also, I used to have certain insecurities about my body, like my legs. I always thought and still do think my knees aren’t cute and they make me look a little chunky! (I know, you probably think I’m crazy!) Before, I would try to hide them. But you know what?! It’s hot in Houston in the summer! I have to wear shorts! Which means, if I’m capturing my OOTD, then I’m going to be wearing shorts for all of Instagram to see! Overtime, I just got over how my body looks in photos because…who has the energy to care?! No one else cares or is that critical over my knees! So, why should I?! There are somethings I’m just going to have to accept and let go when it comes to my body!
- Make-up -I learned really quickly that make-up makes a HUGE difference on camera! When I first started out, I felt pressure to put on make-up every time I took a picture because I looked so drab without anything on. I literally would go to work with no make-up on all day, come home, then put on a full face of make-up just to take a picture! But, as I started to see more bloggers post bare-faced on their Instagram stories, I became more confident about showing my face without make-up too! It is just too much effort to pretend to be someone I’m not! So, sometimes you will see me with make-up and sometimes you won’t! Because…that’s who I am in real life!
- Comparing myself to others.
- My body – You don’t know what’s real and what’s fake on Instagram! There are so many apps out there where you can slim your waist, thighs, chisel your jaw! It’s crazy! And you don’t know if people are dealing with eating disorders, or maybe they are just really disciplined and watch what they eat and exercise. But there is no point in being dissatisfied with my body because of what I see on Instagram! Why compare myself to something that may or may not even be real?!
- Popularity – Honestly, this is probably where I still struggle the most. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s numbers and then judge myself for being wherever I’m at. BUT, more recently, I’ve come to realize that I’m just viewing someone’s stats at a certain point in time, but I’m not necessarily considering their whole journey. Recently, I saw someone post on Instagram, “Don’t compare someone else’s middle to your beginning.” Ain’t that the truth?! But that’s what I do all the time! For instance, I reached out to another blogger on Instagram because she seemed to have a good following. I asked her how long she has been at it and she said 6 years!! I was totally not expecting that! I assumed she had instant success! Why I would think that? I don’t know! But the reality is, I don’t know where other people are coming from or how long they have been at it, so there is no point in comparing myself to them. Everyone has to start somewhere – it’s a work in progress!
The BIG Picture!
If my blog never amounts to anything more…that is okay, because I have already won! All of the things I listed above, wow! What a precious treasure to gain! Who knew that by blogging, I could grow in all these areas?! I had no idea! I didn’t plan to learn and grow in these ways! I didn’t think I needed to die in these areas! I didn’t think I needed to be rebuilt! But, God knows! 1.) He knows the plans he has for me. 2.) He knows the character I need in order to carry our the purposes he has for me. 3.) He knows what it takes to shape my character to get me there! He knows how to conform me to His image! (oh dang…that’ll have to be another blog post!) Lastly, I want to leave you with this verse:
“Equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” -Hebrews 13:21
If you’ve made it this far in the post, leave a comment! Let me know your thoughts! How is God working and equipping you this season? Or, if you also blog and Instagram, how has it been building you up?!