Facebook, #TBT, Jesus And Coming To Terms With Our Past Selves
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Politics and Activism

Facebook, #TBT, Jesus And Coming To Terms With Our Past Selves

Reconciling past you and present you can be difficult—especially when embarrassing versions of past you pop up on social media.

Facebook, #TBT, Jesus And Coming To Terms With Our Past Selves
ABC News

Bing! The Facebook alert pops into focus, and so does a photo: the past you, the braces on your teeth glinting in the camera flash.

Bing! Past you now wears a T-shirt for a band you loved in 2008, but can’t stand today.

Bing! Past you laughs next to people you haven’t seen in… well, more years than that shirt’s been in the dumpster.

Social media has made our past selves more unavoidable than ever. Sometimes, we intentionally bring back them back. With a quick flourish of an Instagram filter, past me becomes presentable me.

But our unflattering past selves? The ones we’re not so proud to have been? Our more awkward, more impulsive, more embarrassing past selves?

We don’t post about those. They don’t make special appearances for our Throwback Thursdays, and they don’t receive VIP invites for Flashback Fridays.

Once, we could tuck them into photo albums or stuff them into yearbooks. Now, with the growth of Timehop and Facebook’s Memories extension, our past selves pop up more and more often.

Or—even worse—a nostalgic classmate or well-meaning relative will introduce them to the social media world.

We fidget. We flinch. We untag ourselves. We search frantically for the “hide” button.

We’re perfectly fine with everyone seeing our well-groomed, successful, or happy past selves—but not our awkward, gangly, or maybe even unhappy past selves.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. We curate our conversations just as much as our Facebook feeds, editing our memories to match our current company. In any situation, we want others to see our best selves—our most attractive selves.

This is natural and—to a certain extent—good. Who has ever listed “that time I said something without thinking” as a career highlight?

We cannot fully embrace those past selves, and so we store them in a kind of memory-limbo: not quite forgotten, not quite remembered.

But, by shutting these selves away, we can shut out the stretch of time between that self and our current one.

The present you didn’t wake up one morning, completely emptied of all your childhood quirks and faults.

You had to grow.

You had to fight through years of demanding, challenging, frustrating time.

You had to slam into your personal failures, and you had to fight through messes you didn’t cause and messes you did.

Nadia Bolz-Weber calls Jesus “the friend who relentlessly tags us in unflattering Facebook photos.” He isn’t dead-set on embarrassing us, and He doesn’t take special pleasure in watching us squirm.

But He does love to watch us grow. He loves to see us become new creations, and He loves to see us become more and more like Him.

And He loves when we take part in His joy. When we ignore our past selves, we start to lose our gratefulness. We begin to think that our growth is a product of our own natural tendencies, instead of the patient work of the Holy Spirit.

Even more than that, Jesus tags our past selves so that we can recognize that He was—is—in the picture too.

"I am with you always" in the days you remember fondly.

"I am with you always" in the days you regret bitterly.

“I am with you always” in the days you wish you could relive.

“I am with you always” in the days you wish you could forget.

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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