When the Filter Fails

by Hannah Crigler


For a while now I have found myself chasing the Instagram life.
I look at pictures on Instagram and feel so insufficient.
I constantly saw others’ perfect lives and then looked at mine and only saw all of its flaws.
I became so critical of myself for not having my life together like everyone I follow.
I began to feel, in the core of my being, like I was not enough.

I began to strive for my worth and sufficiency in fleeting and temporary objects. Likes on Instagram. If I had plans after work.
I became critical of every category of my life. Here's the breakdown that I had for myself:
• Relationship Status: Single and haven't been on a date in two years.
• Employment: A job nowhere near my field of study in college.
• Living arrangement: At home with my parents.
• Friends: A handful that I communicate with on a regular basis.
• Plans for the future: Attend grad school? Move out? Survive.

It wasn't until a few weekends ago, when I finally had a Saturday to myself, to be quiet and still, to dig into my Bible that I realized how much I was striving to be perfect. How much I was living in bondage of my own expectations. I was living in slavery to sin. I had forgotten the truth that in and through Christ's death and resurrection I am no longer considered a slave to sin, but a slave to righteousness like Paul writes in Romans:

"But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification." Romans 6:17-19

As I reflect on that Saturday morning when I realized that my sufficiency is found in Christ alone, I realize that I had forgotten about the grace of God. The grace through faith that I have been saved by. I had been striving for the Instagram life so badly that I had disregarded the grace of God and replaced it with my own measurement of perfection that I could not measure up to.

And so there was a time of repentance. A time of remembering the Lord's grace. Remembering the good news of the Gospel of Christ. And when the Lord reminded me of that truth, there was a weight lifted off of me.

I was reminded again that it is by the grace of God that I am in this season of life. That I am right where the sovereign God of the universe has placed me. That His plans are for His glory and my good.

And so I live in grace, remembering to not take advantage of it as Paul writes in Romans 6:1-14. I live in and through grace so that I might proclaim the glory of God in every situation. Will there still be times when I lean back towards trying to live the perfect Instagram life? Absolutely. But dear reader, the filter is just that, a filter. And it will always fail. Life is messy. But the Lord in His grace tells us to come to Him in our mess, and He gives us rest.

Hannah is graduate of Shorter University with a degree in Psychology. She is a lover of the Lord, outdoors, books, and coffee. She has a passion for ending the stigma around mental health. She will begin pursuing her Masters of Clinical and Mental Health Counseling in the fall. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram and her blog at: hannahjcrigler.wordpress.com