Fun fact: I love Instagram.
I’ve loved taking pictures and curating photographs since my eighth birthday, when my parents gave me a 110 mm camera.
In high school, when I found myself enrolled in Photo II instead of Photo I, and the expectation was that I already knew how to operate an SLR (I did not) and develop my own photos in the school darkroom (I definitely did not), I hustled my way through the owner’s manual of my aunt’s Nikon and through her beginner’s photography books in one weekend. And loved completing every assignment for that class.
In some ways, Instagram is easier to wield than that film SLR Nikon. My iPhone automatically focuses. It automatically adjusts the aperture, the ISO, and the shutter speed. It automates a lot so I can focus on fine-tuning the photo’s structure, contrast, and brightness, and choose the best filter. Then, with a few taps, I can automatically share my photos and thoughts with the Instagramming world. And automatically get some feedback through those little hearts and comments. It’s pretty fun!
What’s not automatic is my husband’s love of Instagram, or any social media for that matter. I’ve playfully suggested that Jason join Insta so he can join in the hipster fun. “We could tag each other in our photos!” I explained. “You could see what I’m up to when you’re at Army training, or when I’m on a trip.”
“Just text me your photos!” he always replies.
I try again: “You could have a photo go viral on Instagram, and get a ton of glory for it!”
“Instagram is for liberal, tree-hugging hippies,” he retorts, signaling that this conversation is over.
A few weeks ago our pastor brought up Instagram during a sermon about marriage. Jason was at Army training that weekend, so I texted him from my seat during the sermon: “They’re talking about ways to strengthen your marriage, and following each other on Instagram can show that you support each others’ goals and dreams!” I could hear him snort as I read his reply: “Uh. . . No.”
So imagine my surprise this week when Jason texted me a photo of my dog that I had posted on Insta and the words, “Me supporting your goals and dreams.”
The night before, he asked what I was doing on my iPad and I explained that I’m considering starting a blog, so I was looking at others’ blogs to see how they manage theirs. I showed him my Instagram and the posts about faith and marriage that I’ve thrown up, and he seemed pleased that I’ve put some thought into the newlywed experience we’re going through, as well as slightly surprised that Instagram is where I’ve been sharing my thoughts.
A little light seemed to go on across his face: “She’s always chattering away, but here is where she actually says stuff!”
I laughed when I saw his text: He’s joining the Instagram party, and while it’s to see me and my world, it’s because he’s listening to God telling him, through SO MANY people right now: Pay attention to your wife. She loves you, and she wants to share more with you.
This is the glory I’ve been seeking. Not some photo going viral. Not some false validation from sharing photos online, but real, praiseworthy joy that could only come from the One who changes hearts. Glory on Instagram doesn’t mean fame from a beautiful photo or clever caption, but gratitude and praise for the fact that my best friend wants to join me there, and see my life through my lens as well as his own.
What does it mean for God to be our King of Glory?
According to Merriam-Webster, glory is worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving. We give glory to God because we want to honor Him and praise Him, and give thanks for the mercies He shows us.
I think of my dad coming into my bedroom when I was little to wake me up, and (obnoxiously) singing, “Rise! And shine! And give God the glory, glory!”
Psalm 100 says to come before the Lord with joyful songs, to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. If glory is giving praise, honor, and thanksgiving, then God is our King of Glory because He deserves all praise.
Glory is given to something or someone who secures praise or renown.
“I lift my eyes unto the mountains. From where shall my help come?” Psalm 121:1
God secures our glory because He is the able, majestic foundation of our world who gives breath and takes it away. He fills the springs and oceans, He sets their boundaries, and He dictates the paths of the sun and moon. He makes plants and food grow, He gives all creatures a home, and He renews the Earth daily.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2
His glory is the embodiment of magnificence, grandeur, and splendor.
There’s a wonderful poem called “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins that explores these themes. I can’t think of anything more grand than God and the fullness of the earth He created.
Going back to M-W, glory is also a state of gratification or exaltation; the height of prosperity. When someone is in their element, at the height of their calling, and enjoying themselves, we say, “There s/he is in all their glory.”
Last night, Jason came with me to the Ronald McDonald House to play bingo with the residents. He got really into it: calling numbers, pointing out the prime numbers, explaining how many ways you could factor non-prime numbers, and calling out fake numbers so a little girl sitting across from him could win a game.
I’ve never seen him act so goofy with such abandon. He was so silly about the numbers that one of my friends texted me today to pass along to my math nerd husband the fact that today’s date is 7-8-15, and 7+8=15. (And that it will happen again next month. I haven’t nerded out like this since high school.)
On one of our first dates, Jason asked what I do for fun, and when I told him, Running, reading, playing with my dog, volunteering…. He scrunched his face and said, “Really? Volunteering? Well. I guess that’s fun. But it doesn’t sound like fun to me.” (I don’t know why I agreed to a second date.) I’ve always told him he has an open invitation to come serve with me, whether it’s at church, RMH, or somewhere else, but I’ve never forced him to come.
Last night was the second time he has volunteered with me anywhere, and to watch him take the lead during the games, call out numbers with flair, banter with my friends and the house guests, and obviously enjoy himself was so gratifying. I gave some silent, quick praise to God for leading Jason to this moment. Jason was in all his glory on Tuesday calling bingo numbers, and I felt like we were at a height of our marriage.
The real glory goes to God for awakening a servant’s heart in my husband. I certainly didn’t anticipate my close-fisted husband blooming in the service of others.
He is strong and mighty, and His will prevails.
“May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works-
He who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lod all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” Psalm 104:31-33
Glory is God gratifying my desires for a marriage in service to each other and to others, and to God himself. It’s giving thanks for someone who can be annoying, but who is truly caring and striving to be more. It is realizing, with praise and gratitude, that He is sovereign over everything happening in my life, at every step, and that He’s working out everything for my good.