I’ve been thinking about Facebook a lot the past six months, and the affect it has on my soul. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the mindless distraction of social media, and how quickly it can replace our priorities, specifically for women, as a wife, mother, homemaker, friend, employee, etc. I play around with the idea of deactivating my account, probably on a weekly basis, but that decision feels unsettling to me. For me, I don’t think the answer is to get rid of social media completely.
As the Holy Spirit works in me to reveal sin, I’ve been convicted of the image I am portraying to others about my life. It’s easy to paint a false picture of yourself through social media. In a few taps of the iPhone, I can draw attention to myself by showing you the perfect dinner I cooked, the impressive theology book I’m reading, the flourishing garden, unique handmade crafts, DIY projects, and the countless date nights I’ve had with my perfect husband.
What you don’t see are…
the hard days full of tears and a complaining attitude,
the messy and cluttered home,
failed experiments in the kitchen,
a discontent and envious heart when I compare my home with others,
time in the Word, and prayer, neglected,
and the unkind words I spoke to Adam during an argument.
I choose what I post online, on my terms, and it’s geared specifically towards how I want you to perceive me.
If I am honest with myself, the majority of my Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram pictures are meant to impress others. My first thought is rarely about serving others, encouraging others, or most importantly glorifying God and proclaiming how good He has been to me.
My heart motivation is that I want you to like me, and be impressed with the life I’m living, all the while proclaiming “No! No! My life is not perfect!” or “I definitely don’t have it all together!” Sin is so deceitful, making me think I will be satisfied with the approval of others.
I love what Nicole Whitacre says in her post from the Girl Talk blog:
“As Christians, our Facebook wall should not be a boastful façade, but a true reflection of who we are in Christ. We should not present ourselves as “perfect all the time,” but as striving for holiness because our Savior was “perfect all the time.”
Instead of “stage-managing” our online image we should focus on serving others.
In other words, our Facebook feed should display humilityborn of the gospel.
So before you press “publish” ask yourself:
~Does this post paint a true or false picture of who I really am and what my life is like?
~Am I seeking to serve and edify, or to impress people with this tweet?
~Does this content draw attention to me, or to my Savior who has been so good to me?
Let’s not be braggarts now, or ever.
“Do nothing [on Facebook or Twitter] from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3”
This is why I don’t think leaving Facebook is the answer for me, personally. I want to be more thoughtful about the image I am portraying to others. I absolutely see the benefits of social media, but as Christians we need to be wise and thoughtful in how we use it.
Another trap I get stuck in, while browsing Facebook, is one of comparison. When I scroll through my newsfeed, I catch snippets of the lives of others, and more often than not I’m tempted to believe their lives are more satisfying, joyful, and content than my own. This quickly breeds in me an ungrateful, envious, and idolatrous heart.
It’s easier to pity myself, than rejoice with others.
Since the Lord has been working on my heart in this, I’ve been convicted that I don’t want to post anything on Facebook that may lead someone to think his or her life is sub-par compared to the incomplete and boastful picture I’ve painted of my own.
I want to boast in Christ alone, and exalt Him, and His saving grace, and the way that He lived the perfect life that I never could! I want to present myself as “striving for holiness,” and rejoicing in suffering, as difficult as that may be. I want to love Jesus with all my heart, and see the supremacy of Christ in allthings. This includes Facebook posts.
I guess you could say (to use John Piper’s popular phrase) that I don’t want to “waste” my Facebook status.
The Holy Spirit is so good to gently reveal this deep-rooted sin in my heart. God’s kindness, which leads to repentance, is so sweet. Thank you, Jesus.
Honestly, I’m still not sure what this looks like practically. I don’t think it’s wrong to share about your life on social media. I really enjoy keeping up with others in this way, and plan to still share about my life as well. I’ve definitely cut down my Facebook time significantly, and am learning how to navigate these waters with a different perspective, and an intentional focus on gospel humility.
These thoughts I’ve had are nothing new, so I’ve linked some great articles below that I pray will bless you as they have me:
~Wall Street Journal – Are We All Braggarts Now? Love this quote: “It’s become a phenomenon where if someone posts a status update and 500 people see it and no one objects, it must be true,” says Jennifer Mirsky, 45, a digital content strategist in New York. “But could it really be that everyone else has a husband as thoughtful as the heroes of romance novels, children who combine the brilliance of Einstein with the winning charms of Shirley Temple, and jobs packed with wall-to-wall glamorous events?”
~Girl Talk’s current series, Our Connected Heart, is packed full of helpful blog posts about using our time wisely on the Internet.