Monday, August 24, 2015

More than Me Monday

(stay with me on this one...i ramble and get lost in my own thoughts. but, what's new, huh?)

i love Instagram. 
I have tried to quit it and couldn't stay away.
My reasons for loving this form of social media are numerous: connecting with friends, connecting with like-minded people, seeing beautiful things, house decor ideas, travel plans, keeping up with people, learning about events. All in a little bitty square. in one picture and a brief caption. It's easy to scroll through and you can be selective in what you see and who you follow.

but, it's sneaky.
before too long, i find myself on someone's instagram page who has impeccable fashion taste or who has the perfectly, vintage-clothed children or the quintessential farm-house makeover or a dreamy vacation or stunning photos of everything.
i'm stuck on someone else's life in a square that leaves me with feelings of jealousy or inadequacy.
not where i started.
and not where i want to be.

there is so much power in social media. and most of the time the bad outweighs the good.
but, there are some good people doing good things on the various platforms of social media! 
and i was thinking, what if we all use our power of social persuasion for something more than self-gratification?
if we all use the power of "likes" to spread a message of love, hope, community, encouragement... rather than increase our own self-esteem.

i started thinking of ways to do this.. how to use Instagram for more than what I was using it for.
other people are doing it, so that's who i started following.
i changed my feed so that it reflects encouraging photos and captions.
of course, i still follow family and friends because i love to see them!
but, people i don't personally know, i only follow them if i receive encouragement from their photos, no jealousy or greed.

i also wanted to share this and find ways to spread the message that it's not just about me and what i'm wearing, what my kids are doing, how i've decorated our house, what i cooked for dinner, but that's it really is more than me. it's more about other people, how other people live and do life and what they need.

what held me back from taking the initiative were irrational and selfish thoughts
that people would think that i thought higher of myself...silly, i know.
also, I know that most people like to scroll through Instagram or Facebook as a mindless activity. Something to do, with no real objective.
Maybe to find something to laugh about. i don't know.
And, i do that too! and still do, but
there's so much potential beyond that!

 i decided to help in a very tangible way. 
someone (Sole Hope) said, "we need your help" and "here is how to help".

but, still i was worried that there would be people who said, "why are you trying to help people all the way over in Africa when there are people in need here in America, in West Monroe?"
yes, that is real.
here is where i am on that.
there are people in need everywhere. on my street. in our church. in our city. in our country. people are in need. there will always, ALWAYS be people that need help.
i do not think that in choosing to help people in Uganda negates my awareness for 
the needs of people in West Monroe. we help people in different ways.

i started there.
with Sole Hope
i could tell you about Sole Hope, but this video does a much better job

after posting about them on Instagram, i asked who wanted to join in on a shoe-cutting party and we got started! 
we were able to cut out patterns for 25 shoes in a few hours
honestly, i prayed that our efforts were not in vain and that each pair of shoes were utilized.
we all really enjoyed being together, which was just a bonus of the event!

what i really want is for my children to know that the world is bigger than Judson and Townes.
there are people all around us and in our world who are in need- be it a hug, an encouraging word, their furniture moved, money, shoes, medical care- whatever- there are people in need. 
We pray each day that God will open our eyes to ways we can help other people. 
and i need a daily reminder, if not more frequent, to remember that it is not about me. 
and really, our children are going to learn from us. 
talk about practicing what you preach, hello!

Instagram is just a practical way for me to remember this.
and not get bogged down by the "popular page" and go rabbit trailing down the path of jealousy and inadequacy. 
but, rather use it for exposure to those in need, find people who are doing good things and help out! 

More Than Me Monday is just a catchy way for me to remember, weekly, to look for something that is more about others and less about me. 
look for something-anything!-that reminds me to look outside of myself.
want to join me?
there's a hash-tag for that (isn't there always?)

see ya on the gram...

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