I’ve noticed a shift recently; my finger no longer hovers over the Twitter icon on my phone, and the friendly blue-with-a-white-F logo only gets a look-in if I’m bored; but my go-to app has become Instagram. Not necessarily to post, but in the train station moments, the “I’m waiting for someone but don’t want to look alone” moments, the two minutes away from reality moments, it’s Instagram. I noticed it again the other day and I began to ask myself why.

Then it struck me, it’s less effort to check Instagram than any of the other social media outlets. I don’t need to scroll through lists of tweets, mainly looking at who’s tweeted to decide which ones to read (There’s another filter right there. I’m not the only one who does that, right?), and no longer do I have to sit and read essay-like Facebook statuses or avoid people’s exuberant holiday pictures. Why do I gravitate towards Instagram? It’s sheer laziness. It’s less effort, it’s quicker, and I dare say, it reflects other aspects of my life.

I wonder if it reflects yours, too?

Life has become so fast-paced that I can mindlessly check Instagram without the effort of reading even 140 characters, but now I can visually grasp or assume what’s going on in the lives of others.

Or at least I think I can.

The problem is, at a glance things look good. But then we come to realise that what takes a moment to glance at has taken an irrational amount of time to get the filter right, the appropriate vignette, shadows in the right places and a tilt shift which, well, let’s be honest, none of us really get that one. Life has become so fast paced that the picture I’m painting of people’s lives around me is based on a rosy, pre-filtered view. And so is my life to them.

I wonder if it’s the same in my real life? Am I just showing people a filtered view, with no dark bits, but lots of bright white smiles? And am I too busy, or lazy-hiding-behind-busy to spend the unfiltered time with my friends and family to see who, behind the filter, is really hurting, lost and broken.

I don’t think God intended us to rush through life, living behind a filter and only choosing to see a filtered view of others. We’re created in the image of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a relationship in Himself – surely I’m also made to be intrinsically involved in the lives of others, and have others involved in each my life. I wonder what it would look like to spend less time getting my filter right, and more time looking beyond the filters of others?

Written by Lee Jennings // Follow Lee on  Twitter

Lee Jennings is a husband, dad, runner and cook. Lee is Associate Pastor of a church in Liverpool where his work is focussed on the under 35s and building the next generation of leaders. Before that, Lee served at Youth for Christ.

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