Going Against the Current

November 14, 2016
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Have you ever felt as if you aren’t good enough, popular enough, or liked? Those feelings come when your mind is set on worldly things. Everyone has had those feelings at some point and they aren’t fun; they make you feel like you always need approval from others. God has identified you as loved, and has called you to love others and be an individual. Be a light in the darkness and with everything you do glorify him and follow his Word. We can face the challenge of worldliness and forgetting our identity in Christ through popularity, social media and looks.
Popularity is something teens tend to long for and will do several different things to achieve it. Wanting popularity is wanting to be liked and well known. I ended homeschool and started going to school in seventh grade. I made lots of new friendships. I met friends through school, sports, church, events and even friends through friends. I started to develop the mindset that the more friends, the better. I would hang out with people who I sought approval from. These friendships were not encouraging my walk with God and the friends themselves didn’t truly care about me or build me up. They made me think that when you are worldly and go along with what everyone else does, you will be more liked and popular. This made me feel like I wasn't an individual and as if I always had to be keeping in mind that what other people think of me is most important. I was always sad whenever I was set on reaching the impossible standard the world and my friends had set.

While I wanted friendships that helped me achieve popularity, I wasn’t happy. I thought that people with the most friends and exposure always looked happiest. What I didn't realize is that the happiest people are the ones who are following God's plan for them. What God is calling you to do might not lead everyone to popularity but it's all part of his perfect, loving plan. Find yourself in a situation where your friends love you, are happy for you, and don’t require you to be popular in order to like you.

Social media has been a big part of my life in Junior High that has required being able to fight against the worldly influence it has, and the comparison to other people that it can trigger. I got social media like Instagram and Snapchat etc. when I was about 10 years old. When I first had it, it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, it had no effect on me at all. It wasn’t until I was about 12 that I actually got affected by social media. At this time I was trying to find myself and when I would scroll through Instagram I always saw these perfect people who looked like they had perfect lives and picture perfect everything. I saw these people and thought, “I wish I were like that,” or, “Those are my goals,” but really it's all just a mask. It’s a mask onto people's lives that only show the good, great and perfect. Social media has a huge influence on young people. It tells you things like Kylie Jenner's butt and lips are what the boys want therefore girls should aspire toward those things or money, looks and even sex before marriage are what life's about. Those things are worldly and shallow and don’t have Godly depth. You don’t need to post what everyone else posts or do what everyone else does to be loved or liked. Once I realized this I was able to look past those things and use social media to express my personality.

Looks are seen as a very significant thing to the world. Just like anything they can be used for good and evil. Mostly famous people a part of pop culture are the main influencers to the young. These people are usually very attractive and we often times feel the need to be looked at as attractive like them. Many people, young girls especially, deal with insecurity as far as beauty goes. They don’t feel like they can be liked if they aren’t good looking. But the truth is that true friends and God looks past the flesh and straight to your heart. God has blessed certain people with beauty and it's not a bad thing, it’s simply a characteristic God will use in their life.

Ever since I was a young girl I would look at other people and would envy certain outward characteristics they had and would then criticize my own self. I still do this constantly. It is important to have self love even if you don’t find yourself beautiful love the wonderful creation of God you are and praise his amazing works. I would always look at makeup, hair, body and all the things the world say have to look a certain way and aspire toward them clueless that was is petty. Looks can be used as a self glorifying tool or a tool God has given you to challenge you to be humble and enhancing what's on the inside. I have been called pretty my whole life and it’s been much more of a curse than a blessing. I’ve had people get jealous of me and put me down because they think that will make them feel better about themselves but really it just hurts. This has taught me to look past others outer appearances and not judge them by what they wear or what body they have. We can’t control what we look like. We don't have to follow the worldly image of beauty.

As you can tell, popularity, social media and looks are some major worldly influences on us that steer us away from Godliness. It’s important to be an individual and stand out by going against what the world is telling you to do to be loved and accepted and instead realize that God has already accepted and loved us. Everyday we should work toward looking deeper into each person instead of just judging them by how popular or good looking they are.

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