We’ve all been there. Scrolling through the gram, ads flashing before our eyes. Suddenly we have a new desire for something we never knew we needed. And we continue to scroll, coming across aesthetic pictures that arouse in us a desire to enter into the competition of pseudo glamorized identities. The fact is, we know it’s not real, but for some reason we decide to somehow make it our own reality.
A material girl in a material world
In a highly materialistic age, consumption has become our source of happiness. But it wasn’t always this way. In early western development, production was the key to personal success. The more you could produce, the more valuable you were. In more recent years, society has made a shift. No longer is our primary focus on what we can produce, but rather on what we can consume. Now we see ourselves looking for personal fulfillment and value in the anticipation of consumption. It’s not enough to be successful. We need the fastest car, the latest technology, in order to really impress people. What we own and consume, not what we accomplish, has become a primary way in which we assign value.
A Never Ending Wishlist
Marketers are highly skilled in the art of creating desire. Interestingly enough, marketer’s greatest source of revenue is our general dissatisfaction. We see what we don’t have and never knew we needed, and then we anticipate the pleasure of getting the latest and greatest. If we ever were satisfied, marketers would lose their need to continue creating new desires. But even if we’d consumed everything we’d never be fulfilled (Job 20:21).
This frame of mind has been around for a number of years, so much so that it has become ingrained into our culture.
But there has been an interesting layer added to the already complex issue. And it comes with the addition of social media. Although previous generations certainly felt the effects of consumerism, the addition of social media in the last decade and a half has proved to be revolutionary. I mean, when was the last time you scrolled through Facebook without seeing an advertisement for something you’d googled earlier that day?
Social media was first intended to be a way in which communication with friends, business promotion, and the sharing of ideas could be easy, accessible, and helpful. While this may still be somewhat true, with the introduction of Instagram and other image-focused platforms, we can see a shifting of the purpose of social media. We are no longer mostly interested in connecting with others, but we are literally creating an image of ourselves to be consumed by others.
From consumer to consumed
That statement may seem shocking, and it really is. But when we really think about it, is that not what we are doing? Are we not creating a profile or image so that others can look at us and consume us? You see, what social media has awakened in us is not only the desire to consume, but also the desire to be consumed. We find our identity in having the perfect, consumable image.
Obviously, as Christian women, we can recognize that this is a huge issue in our worldview, which hopefully is rooted in biblical truth. But how are we able to tackle an issue that has such a stronghold in our lives and in the world around us?
It is unrealistic to think that we can completely disconnect from the way our culture is wired. So how can we live in the midst of a consumed society without being pulled into the slippery slope?
1. Be aware of the cultural narrative
As we interact with our culture, particularly in social media, it is important to realize the incredible power it has. It is a force that seeks to offer us temporary pleasure that only leaves us wanting more.
2. Use the cultural trends for God’s glory
When we recognize that social media has incredible potential to influence, it should drive us to use it in such a way that will further the kingdom. What would it look like if we used the platform as a way to glorify God and build others up? What if, instead of perfecting our image so that others can consume us, we used our presence on social media to lead others to our God who deserves all the attention and praise that we could ever hope for?
3. Be consumed with the only One that satisfies
Most importantly, as women of God, it is my desire that we would be so consumed with God’s presence that we would not need to consume or be consumed in order to feel valued. It is my prayer that we would gaze only at the face of our loving Father so that the distractions of materialism, social media, or anything else would pale in comparison our to who we were made to behold and delight in.
“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness: when I awake I shall be satisfied with your likeness” Psalm 17:15
When we truly are in communion with our Father, we are able to be satisfied. We don’t have to go through a cyclical process of seeking after temporary pleasures that soon fade. Instead, we are able to truly be satisfied, simply by gazing at Him.
JOIN US AT OUR FIRST EVER WOMEN’S CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN OF ALL AGES
Kaela will be speaking more about the influence of social media and our consumer culture during a break out session entitled: Consuming or Consumed? Social Media and the Christian Woman! You won’t want to miss it! Order Tickets Below!
FRI, MARCH 13 | 6:30PM – SAT, MARCH 14 | 4PM
With ten years of experience reclaiming purity and sexuality, Across My Heart Ministries invites you to our FIRST EVER women’s conference at Grace Community Church (Ages 16+). We hope you’ll join us for worship, teaching, food and fun as we uncover why God created sexuality, what it reveals about the gospel, and how purity brings clarity to our everyday lives.