Most of our Instagram accounts resemble the modern equivalent of a high school locker: Here are photos of me and my friends, and here are things I find beautiful. Only now, the insides of our lockers are beamed across the world as quickly as we can slam them shut.

Instagram gets a lot of flak for being impossibly aspirational and for fueling competition and personal branding. This is especially true among American women, who are substantially more likely to use the site than their male counterparts (43% to 31%). But it has also come to develop a cadre of professionals who have brought their expertise to the little squares and 15-second clips of Instagram feeds and stories—therapists, poets, life coaches, and artists.

And in between the heavily filtered “outfits of the day” and sparkly sponsored content campaigns, there are also Christians doing their part to bring truth and encouragement this corner of the internet.

With more than a million followers on Instagram, Morgan Harper Nichols is one of them. Her painted and handwritten messages, inspired by the stories sent to her by fans, aren’t explicitly Christian but are undergirded by what her own faith has taught her about hope, grief, fear, self-doubt, and growth. She proclaims lines like “Let joy be joy” and “Take heart. Breathe deep. You have not missed out on what was meant for you.”

Instagram isn’t just about admiring something; it’s also about curating your own space and personality online. That’s why thousands re-post Nichols’s stories each day—a sign that they love her beautiful work, as well it what it says about them and to them.

“What I found was it wasn’t so much that I was ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.