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Showing the beauty of vulnerability on Instagram (PHOTOS)

Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee’s “Soul Scripts” account is an example of how social media can be authentic and real.

At the end of each day, I love scrolling through Instagram, browsing pictures of friends, food, and cute outfits from my favorite fashion accounts. Because I’m in the middle of a long journey to eat healthier and exercise more, Instagram could easily become a place of discouragement. After all, I don’t look like that model, I don’t dress like this fashion magazine says I should, and my dinner did not look like the latest food post from accounts I follow. For those of us who are struggling with health issues, it doesn’t help that everyone seems to have their lives so together on social media.

In a recent study from Drexel University, researchers saw that health and body image struggles are rarely discussed in public. “Physical or mental health and body image concerns are stigmatized, rarely disclosed and frequently elicit negative responses when shared with others,” the authors wrote.

Yet, despite the social stigmas, people struggling with body images and mental health (like me!) are increasingly finding an incredible resource in some corners of Instagram.

More and more bloggers are finally raising the curtain and showing and discussing their own vulnerability and struggles to lead a healthy lifestyle. “We found that these disclosures, in addition to deep and detailed stories of one’s difficult experiences, attract positive social support on Instagram,” the study by Dr. Andrea Forte and associate professor Nazanin Andalibi concluded.

No longer just a place for fashion pictures and home decor ideas, the social media platform is becoming a haven for those struggling with physical or mental health and body issues. Although Instagram obviously shouldn’t replace therapy, counseling, or physical communities, it could be an incredible place for someone to find initial help in a hard circumstance and know they are not alone. If you’ve ever found comfort and healing from finding out that you’re not the only one suffering or struggling, you’re not the only one.

It isn’t just the “likes” that people receive on their Instagram posts that help, the study found, but the comments from people going through similar struggles that truly make a difference in the healing process.

Jordan Lee is an example of one such Instagrammer. When I found Jordan’s Instagram, it felt amazingly refreshing, raw and real. Dealing with a mental illness, physical struggle, or emotional issue day after day is difficult — but being able to see other people going through the same thing can be a huge help. Instead of filtering her life to look perfect, she is proud of her messy hair, messy life, and a God who can transform the mess into a message.

View this post on Instagram

hi I'm Jordan Lee and I'm here to interrupt your newsfeed to remind you of what's real. Real is a bare face revealing an uneven skin tone and a little bit of yesterdays make up left over. It's crusty lips and hat hair and wrinkly tees. Real is tired eyes and messy tables and a series of imperfect moments. But real is also laughter and love and sunshine and beautiful things, too. We've made real out to be only the ugly and hard stuff. But beauty is real, too. And we don't need to shame our sister's beauty but we also don't need to shame ourselves when we don't feel so beautiful. Because the really real isn't just a make up-less photo and inspiring caption. Real is genuine conversation, a listening ear, an honest heart, and a cheerful song. Real runs deeper than any image you will ever see on the internet. Real lives IN you, not on you, because real is GOD. Real in its rarest form is beautiful and darling, so are you. So maybe it's time we stop talking so much about embracing real and actually just embrace it. Because how can we welcome someone's brokenness if we don't welcome our own? How can we celebrate the beauty God placed in someone else if we don't celebrate how real He is in us? Don't try so hard to be real. If you've got a heartbeat, you already are real. And you've got nothin' to prove. #soulscripts

A post shared by Jordan Lee Dooley (@jordanleedooley) on

Jordan’s slogan for her Instagram and website, Soul Scripts, is “Your Brokenness Is Welcome Here.” But her sisterhood community that she has created is not just for brokenness – it’s a place of healing and beauty.

In a letter to her blog readers, Jordan writes, “My prayer is that my writing makes you feel something… that it helps you experience God’s heart when the world breaks yours.” She doesn’t shy away from hard topics like eating disorders, depression, anxiety and the shame that so many women feel when they don’t measure up to the world’s standard of “perfect.”

View this post on Instagram

Hi guys 👋🏼 I just want to be real and say that I'm aware of the fact that lots of you wrestle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, shame, and more. And I know that "choosing joy" is a cute thing to put on a coffee mug or on Pinterest but not all that simple to put into action in real life. When I walked through heartbreaks, grieved loss, hated my body and starved it in an effort to control SOMETHING in my life, I never once felt like I could simply choose joy. So I'm not going to challenge you to choose joy. I'm going to challenge you to choose Jesus. That doesn't mean you're going to become a perfect person in three easy steps. That doesn't mean you'll never feel icky or stuck or sad or frustrated. But it does mean your joy isn't something you have to manufacture but something you are given. So if that's the only choice we can really control, I think we oughtta make it in the middle of our mess. #soulscripts 📷:@ariannamariephoto

A post shared by Jordan Lee Dooley (@jordanleedooley) on

Jordan started her ministry of Soul Scripts for all Christian women. Her website says that the Sisterhood is built for “the cookie-cutter Christian girl or the seemingly put together, successful girl because she needs God too – she’s broken, too. It’s also for the discouraged, disheveled, struggle bus of a girl. Oh, and for the girl who wouldn’t let her friends know she ever came to this kind of party. It’s for the girl who doubts God’s goodness and desperately needs a friend.”

View this post on Instagram

If there's only one thing you cling to tonight, I hope it's this: There is no future in your past. I don't know what ugly your past holds. I don't know what pain your presence holds. But I do know that there is no future there. And you certainly aren't defined by it. Because of one powerful truth: is the gospel has the power to transform our self-understanding so that it is no longer based on our performance in life. It humbles us into the dust while simultaneously exalting us into he heavens, declaring our worth through trumpets and whispers alike. So please don't give up. Please don't throw in the towel. Please don't define yourself by the failures you've faced, or the targets you've missed, or the shame you've buried away deep inside. You're worth more than that. And you CAN do this. And even if you couldn't, your inability doesn't define you, anyway. #soulscripts #quietthechaos 📷:@katelynjoyfoster

A post shared by Jordan Lee Dooley (@jordanleedooley) on

Jordan’s honesty has inspired me to be more real on my social media accounts. After all, we have to come alongside each other and not be afraid to be vulnerable. Asking for help and seeking community does not make you a failure because you don’t have it all together – it makes you brave.

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