Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps for Millennials and I am right there along with my peers. I love Instagram and check it multiple times each day (I would be embarrassed to actually count and admit how many times a day I check it).
The other day I was reading an article about how our constant desire to capture photos and share them with the people in our lives is changing the way we experience the world around us. Daniel Kahneman, a professor at Princeton University and Nobel laureate, said, "The 'Instagram Generation' now experiences the present as an anticipated memory."
It's an intriguing idea that we are taking pictures now and in essence anticipating how we will remember this moment in the future. Have you ever thought about what compels you to take a photo and share it? Is it at a moment when you are really enjoying yourself and you want to remember it? Is it because you just took a delicious bite of a Sprinkles cupcake and you need everyone to know how good it was? Do you need affirmation? Do you need acceptance? Do you want others to wish they were there too? Do you simply love the people you are with or the beauty around you and want to have this photo to look back on later?
As I sit and think about why I take photos and share them, I think I've had every one of those thoughts at one time or another. One thing I have found about myself is if I am really enjoying the moment, savoring the time with one of my sisters or a dear friend, I get so wrapped up in the present that my phone is far away and forgotten. I have left places thinking, "Oh, I can't believe I forgot to take a picture!" But, then, I realize that the memory of that conversation or time together, can still last even if it was not captured in a photograph.
I want to live in a way that I enjoy the present, because it is a gift from God. James 4:13-15 reminds me that I am just a vapor and the time I have here on earth is fleeting.
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."
So, am I saying that we should not waste time taking photos and posting them on Instagram? No! I want to continue sharing moments of my life with those around me. But, I also want to live life to the fullest in the present. I don't want to get so wrapped up in capturing a picture for the purpose of looking back on it later that I neglect to enjoy the moment I'm in, to cherish the relationships around me, to be about the work the Lord has called me to do – sharing with others about the amazing love of Jesus and His grace and redemption.