The Chameleon Effect

Let me ask an honest question. How many times have you looked on Instagram and thought to yourself, “If I just had those Adidas, that body type or that new Jeep, then I’d be successful and happy.”? Sounds so silly when you think about it verbally like that but truth is it probably happens so many times that it has become the subconscious attitude of your heart. Social media is great for connecting us to each other but I think honestly is does more damage than good. I could go on and on about ways to clear the clutter and share tips on how to resist the draw towards pulling out your phone but I’d be beating a dead horse. Seems to be a topic of discussion that is growing just as fast as it’s subject itself.

I can speak from experience when I say I have been there and well honestly, currently still am. I am working through the garden of my heart with the Lord, uprooting any weed of envy, discouragement, and depression that has been planted as a result of pursuing the wrong outlet. I’m not sure why there is such a draw to the social media scene. Is it because it provides a way of escape and a way to numb our current feelings? My question is, what happens when the numbing sensation wears off? The answer, you feel left out, discouraged and unmotivated to pursue your God-given dreams for fear of failure or not doing it just like them. That is a race you will never win my friend. You were created to be uniquely you, God didn’t create you in their mold. And he broke the mold after he made you! That goes both ways. Comparing yourself to someone else will result in either pride or discouragement. Sort of like a totem pole effect. Instead of viewing each other as equals, we view each other as something we aspire to be or someone worthy of being looked up to. Both of these will steal your joy. The joy you have when you are running the race in the lane he destined for you.

Because I am a symbolic and metaphorical writer I want to make a comparison here to help you understand it a bit better. Perhaps provide you with a different perspective to reflect on today. Chameleons are known for changing color in order to blend into their surroundings. This trait serves as a defense mechanism and a means of protection. Are we to incorporate this character trait into our own lives? Trying to adapt well to our surroundings so that we fit in or look exactly like them? Is it our own defense mechanism against pain, rejection, and failure? Now a little disclaimer here, I realize God created chameleons with that trait in order to protect them, but we aren’t  chameleons. We are made to stand out. We can rest in knowing that our protections don’t come from our own line of defense or techniques but our ever-present helper.

Another characteristic of chameleons is they can look at two places at once. Don’t try this at home. It’s impossible to for us to look in two directions at once. I think you can see where this is going but just in case. We cannot be effective for the kingdom and doing what he has called us to do if we are constantly seeking direction from both him and the world. Granted there are skills you can gain and knowledge to discover through higher education to better do what you have in your heart but I’m not referring to that. I referring to social media. I’m referring to the “people that won’t understand your ministry or path and will criticize and try to get you to conform to what they think you should be doing.”-Rick Warren. I’m referring to seeking insight and direction from the pictures you scroll past on a daily basis. I hope that this is making sense because I really want to help you with this perspective.

After doing some research on this species I discovered that not only do chameleons change pigment to blend in with their surroundings. They also do it in response to light, temperature, and mood. I know I mentioned blending into the crowd but let me direct your attention to a different aspect here. We can be similar in this way to chameleons. We can change our color in response to light. How much light have you allowed into your situation recently? How much truth from God’s word have you been digesting and processing? Darkness cannot overpower the light. I could go on a whole tangent with that but I’ll leave that for another post. We can change based on temperature. Let’s talk comfort with this one. How many times do we change the way we do things because it is uncomfortable, difficult or seemingly long? Sometimes life with the Lord is just that. He said the way is narrow for a reason. Not many will be able to handle it. But those who understand and tap into the grace and strength he so freely gives will be able to work through those things much easier. And last point here is they can change because of their mood. This one doesn’t need much explaining because it’s pretty straightforward. But I can’t tell you how many times I chose social media over time with the Lord. Because it doesn’t require faith in something I can’t see. It’s instant gratification, it’s easy. But those easy things leave me feeling empty and alone. One phrase that has been circling in my mind the past few month is this, “Our desire to be with him needs to be greater than our desire for _____”. This blank can contain anything, social media, food, the perfect body, etc. I know what you’re probably thinking, “how do I desire him more? I read the bible but it doesn’t make sense, I try to pray but get distracted after 5 minutes, I sing worship songs but I begin to focus on how well I can harmonize?” Or maybe that’s just me…

Give yourself the grace to grow in desiring him. Jesus doesn’t force himself into your life, he simply wants to commune with you and hear about your day. He wants to affirm you and love you where you are at. I pray that over time you will realize and experience such a beautiful relationship with him that you won’t want to stop spending time in his presence. That you realize his love is what will truly satisfy you, his identity is woven into your inmost being so there is no need to compete or compare. You were created to be uniquely you! And I hope through these posts that you hear my heart. I am not here to condemn you or make you feel like you are not growing in the Lord. I’m simply sharing my journey and revelations with you in hopes that you will continue to seek the Lord more than your own way/will.

One practical tip I can share with you is this, and it is so freeing, are you ready? I learned it from Emily Ley in the Grace not Perfection book. Unfollow Fridays (really you can do this today, don’t wait till Friday comes). Each week, starting today, hop on social media and unfollow those people that make you feel less than, left out or discouraged. I promise you, the only thing you will miss out on is the feelings of inferiority and pride which is a good sacrifice in my opinion. And another tip, any time you feel tempted to jump on your phone just because, try texting or face-timing a friend instead or pop-open your bible and read a chapter or two. I promise you it will be so freeing to let go.

I love you guys and I am praying for you every single day!



Chameleon Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Photo by Bence Boros on Unsplash

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