In college I stopped looking at women’s magazines. Like the ones telling you how to tone and trim and make everything slim. The ones featuring women with tan, flawless skin, always finding away to show those defined abs. And it made a difference when I stopped seeing those images. It made a difference in the way I saw myself.
Ten years later, it’s no longer magazines but Instagram I have to watch out for. My social media consumption peaked while breastfeeding Sayla (when your child will only nap in your lap after nursing for nearly a year, you spend a lot of time on your phone). My Instagram feed exploded. I started following all kinds of yoga, travel, food, motherhood, and decor accounts. My mind was flooded with crazy-advanced yogis, beautiful beaches, and modern homes. When I closed my eyes at night my Instagram feed replayed in my mind. It was a problem.
So I cleaned house—Instagram house. I was tired of dwelling on the images of others; I wanted back in my own head and thoughts. And it wasn’t just that my mind was cluttered; I began wanting what I didn’t have. I wanted to go to that gorgeous hotel on that pristine beach; I wished my bathroom had that tub; and the biggest struggle—I wanted my body to bend and move like someone else’s. Seeds of discontent were being sown, and I couldn’t allow them to take root.
It’s been a few months since I cut back on the number of people I follow. I still look at Instagram, but not everyday. And I still follow some amazing yogis, but not nearly the amount I used to. My Instagram feed is no longer the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. I am more present and connected to my own life and less that of others. It is a good thing.
The lamp of the body is the eye, and if the eye is good you will be filled with light. If the eye is bad, darkness will seep in (Matthew 6:22-23). And if what enters the eye fills the body, will it not then flood our hearts too? We are to guard our hearts, for the heart brings forth the substance of our lives (Proverbs 4:23).
Maybe it’s not Instagram for you. Maybe it’s Pinterest or HGTV, that blog or reality TV show. There so many things vying for your attention, eager to leave you wanting, and it’s hard to say no. It takes discpline and prudence. But it’s mostly just eye candy, junk; it may be pretty to look at, but you’re only left empty and dissatisfied.
So if you struggle with discontentment, with wanting what someone else has, with feeling like you are not enough, I urge you to consider what your eye is taking in. Are those images—those feeds, movies, videos, magazines, what-have-you—filling you with light? Do you even realize the darkness creeping in, hovering subtle and low within the corners of your very heart? Take heed, dear one. Guard your heart and it will change your life. I promise.