2 Corinthians 3:5 says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.”
Before I dive into this topic, do something for me! Grab a mirror. Look at the beautiful person looking back at you and tell her, “You are enough.” Really mean it, really look at her and proclaim that over her. “You. Are. Enough.”
I truly believe that in this social media culture, if you will grasp this fact, that through Jesus Christ you are ENOUGH, you are completely sufficient, it will change everything about how you process what you take in and filter everything about the message you choose to put out.
So, I want to begin with this truth about you-each of you.
#1- To those who do not have social media, you are enough. You are more than enough. You are not uncool, behind the times, or less than. You are just right. You are perfectly enough. Now, I'm betting most people reading this have social media in some form, but just incase you don't, and you're only reading this because a friend emailed it to you, I wanted to cover this topic.
#2- To those who have social media and love it, you are also enough. You are not too much. You are not annoying or childish. You are just right. You are perfectly enough.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, I get it. I’m enough. It’s not that big of a deal.” But, I’ve personally watched people squirm in discomfort as others have passive-aggressively mocked them for not having an instagram or twitter, and I’ve been the one squirming uncomfortably as someone I looked up to made the comments like, “No one cares what you ate for dinner,” or “People don’t need to know where you got that dress.” I know what it’s like to pointlessly feel about “this” tall.
I crave a world where we can be kind to ourselves and to the people sitting beside us. Or across the screen from us.
So, again, you are perfectly enough. You are not less than and you are not too much.
With that being said, social media is here to stay. I read on CNBC’s website that Instagram currently has 800 million users, up 100 million just since April, with similar numbers for Facebook and twitter. Unless the internet explodes, which probably wouldn’t be the worst thing, it’s here to stay.
So, if we are going to use it, let’s use it correctly, wisely, and Godly! Let’s use any and every means possible to make the invisible God visible on this earth.
I am going to go back and forth, talking about social media from the viewpoint of the person viewing or receiving the media, and then from the viewpoint of the one putting the media out. Some of it is light and some of it gets a little heavy- hang with me, and hopefully by the end it will all tie together and make sense.
I am the first to admit social media and the day we live in can make feeling “enough” so overwhelmingly difficult at times. Because of the illusion of perfection social media can portray, suddenly we find ourselves frantically attempting to dress the part, cook the best meals, be the perfect wife/girlfriend/mom/daughter, have the cleanest house, never appearing sleepy, always attending every.single.event. people invite you to, the nicest car, the prettiest purse, cutest planner (to hold all of the events you most definitely will attend and be early for)... you get the picture. Our existence becomes exhausting.
I will be honest with you, sometimes the wisest thing you can do is to take a break. Yes, fast social media. For Jesus and for your sanity. The Scripture says some things come only by prayer and fasting. Fasting social media brings things like: peace of mind, lessened anxiety, more time to be productive in other areas… it’s amazing, really.
Aside from the good that can come from fasting or simply unplugging for a few days, If you find yourself discouraged or feeling “less than awesome” about yourself every time you see a certain person post, I give you permission to unfollow or remove whoever may be posting that. It’s liberating. You do not have to follow everyone you know. You do not have to follow everyone who follows you!
You have my permission to surround yourself (both in real life and in “social media” life) with those who lift you higher; those who challenge you to grow and be better. If you are following someone who brings out negative feelings and emotions in you- jealousy, envy, discouragement; if they cause you to feel critical about yourself, pray that God works those unhealthy feelings out of you, and in the meantime, unfollow!
Aside from the people in your life who may just be downright mean or try to make you feel less than great about yourself- there are others who may not be doing anything “wrong,” but you may just be in a season where unfollowing or unplugging for a time may be what’s best for you. For example, if you are heartbroken after a breakup? Following accounts with fresh proposals may not bring out the best in you. Struggling marriage? Joyous anniversary or date night posts may be hard to bare. Going through a season of loneliness? Seeing friends out together having the time of their lives while you are home eating your sadness in brownies isn’t the smartest. If there is an area in your life where you feel deficient, or maybe perceive yourself to be inadequate, you will likely find yourself following someone prospering in that very area. If you find yourself feeling envious or discontented because of this, it’s time to close the app and re-center your focus on Jesus.
It’s okay to take a break. It will still be there when you come back! Unless it’s not, and like I said, that may not be the end of the world.
Remember, you are the gatekeeper. You. You must hold yourself (not them) accountable for who you let in and affect you. You must be proactive to protect your heart!
Speaking of being a gatekeeper…
Scripture says in Proverbs 13:20, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” In our social media world, allow me to re-phrase this as, “He that followeth wise men and women on instagram shall be wise: but a follower of fools shall be destroyed.”
Friends, for anyone needing a clear translation, this means: UNFOLLOW THE KARDASHIANS. Yep, unfollow them. I know. This may be "too extreme" and "too conservative" for some of my readers, and that's okay. It's not my way or the highway. But, hear me out. If you are compulsively following what the Kardashians, Ariana Grande, Beyonce, or anyone else who may be be perfection by the world’s standards, but are completely OPPOSITE in lifestyle of anything and everything God called you to be as His child, you have made yourself a companion of fools. Another version said that a companion of fools shall suffer harm. Scripture said it. Not me.
Pray about this one, let Jesus convict your heart.
Now, whether we like it or not, our social media activity is a direct reflection of us. I know you've heard this before, but the older I get, the more I appreciate it. If you wouldn’t say it in person, in front of your pastor, don’t post it, share it, like it, or retweet it. Each of those things are equal to your stamp of approval- be so careful with what you chose to endorse.
And I want to note something important here: there is a difference in showing kindness to your lost friend, and placing a stamp of approval on their lifestyle.
Imagine with me, how would you feel if your pastor’s wife or youth pastor’s wife “liked” an image of someone in an obviously compromising situation? Or retweeted a video with a curse word and said something like, “Excuse the language, but this is just awesome!” I use these examples, because I have seen these things happen before. There is someone looking to you as an example that feels the same confusion or disappointment about you that you would about them. I am not just talking about those younger than you- I’m also talking about those who might be babies in the faith, or even those that are walking the line and looking to you for security to know that this is indeed the life they want to live.
The Bible talks about being so careful not to create stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters- you preaching/living one lifestyle while seeming to condone or praise another could very well mislead someone that is looking up to you and cause them confusion, hurt, or to stumble. Scripture warns of us this, and I am reminding us of this. Please, be careful.
Reach out to those friends, call them, text them, take them to lunch, or send them a card. You don’t have to like their provocative picture on social media. Don’t let your good be evil spoken of.
I’ve got one more tough place I need to go. I wish I didn’t even have to acknowledge this, because I know I’m about to lose a large percentage of you with what I’m about to say.
Before I do, allow me to preface it by saying there are some places I don’t go, and some things I don’t do, not because they are “heaven or hell” issues, but, because Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for me, and the least I can do is give up something for Him, or to respect a guardrail because He is so worth it. Anything we could give up will pale in comparison to what he did for us on the cross.
2 Timothy 2:22 says, Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, and peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
With that being said, there is not one person reading this, child or adult, that needs a snapchat account. There is not one person under the sun that needs snapchat. Snapchat is an absolute genius tool of the enemy.
Scripture also says in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.
There is a bravery that is not of Jesus that comes over us when we have the feel we have the power to keep things hidden, in darkness. I have found boys find this sudden confidence to ask for things, and unfortunately girls have this sudden confidence to send it. The closest comparison example I could give is you should not have a snapchat account for the same reason you should not be home alone with your boyfriend. No, it is not a sin in itself to be home alone with your boyfriend, but it IS a shame to allow the opportunity for temptations to arise pointlessly- which leads to a very dangerous sin. It is also the very opposite of fleeing youthful lusts to snapchat with a boy. I may sound extreme right now, but I believe it. I’ve seen and heard of too much proof to convince me otherwise. I have also personally known kids as young as 9 years old be exposed to cutting, cursing, bullying, and sexually explicit pictures/statements that their innocent minds should not even know exists because of this app. I have seen teenage girls destroy their purity and good name because of a slip up that began with this app.
Remove everything I’ve talked about thus far, aside from even your Christian witness, aside from even a Biblical prospective, be honest with your self for a moment. How very dangerous a mode of communication that allows you to send pictures and words that you have no proof of. Not only for middle schoolers, teenagers, or college age students, but for anyone.
I am begging you to lay snapchat on the altar today and give that up for Him. Guard your heart, eyes, mind, and you purity. Make it as close to impossible for sin to enter your life as you possibly can.
Now, isn’t it crazy that same phone we use to google memes of cats, we can also use to tear other girls down? The things we type or screen shot to send to our friends- I’ve been guilty of it, it can be awful.
Ladies, our judging has to stop, So does our compulsion to compete with everyone around us. The Bible itself tells us with the heart, a person loves, and with the same heart, a person can hate. We let love flow from one corner of our mouths and judgement from the other- and please know I am not speaking of judging “right from wrong.” I am speaking of critically deciding to be unkind for no reason at all.
Ephesians 4:29- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths (or fingertips), but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
I wish we could realize that judging is still one of the most hurtful, spiteful impulses we own, and our judgments keep us from building a stronger sisterhood … or from having one in the first place. Our judgment prohibits us from beautiful, life-affirming friendships. Our judgment keeps us from connecting in deeper, richer ways because we’re too stuck on the surface-level assumptions we’ve made.
We must remember bringing others down won’t elevate us. Recognizing that all words have power, even the ones whispered behind someone’s back, is how we begin to adjust our behavior. We are called, commanded even, to build others up. It’s not an option.
In all seriousness, the greatest sermons are not preached behind a pulpit, but they are the testimonies of the consistent day to day life that you live. You have no idea the lives you will touch and people you will positively influence just by being consistently you. Be a light in a dark world. People take notice. People will flock to that. I promise
Let’s work on that? Work on being kind?
Now, I’m a fan of lists- one of my OCD tendencies/symptoms- so l made a do’s and don’ts list for social media. Whenever someone asks me if I want the bad news or the good news first, I always choose bad. I like to end on a good note- so let’s start with the don’ts!
Side note: I kept these at 8 each, I could've easily had a list of 20 each. Some of these that Jesus laid on my heart were actually good reminders that I personally needed. I am not perfect, nor do I follow these perfectly. It's a constant striving towards the mark. :)
*Don’ts of Social Media
1. Don’t be fake- remember, your friends know the real you. Life is not lived all through a rose colored glass. It becomes exhausting trying to keep up a fake existence.
2. Don’t over-share sadness- yes, being real is wonderful. Life is not always butterflies and rainbows, but don’t make your social media account a dumping ground of depressing sadness. The joy of the Lord should be our continued source of strength- we must represent Him in happy and in difficult seasons to the world.
3. Don’t be a know-it-all- Your friend with an opposing political stance may post something that gets on your nerves- you are not helping anyone or saving any lives by letting them have it. Choose your battles wisely. There have been many times when I’ve typed out a long “let them have it” text message or Facebook comment, taken a deep breath, then deleted. Try it, you’ll feel better. Just be sure to delete, not post.
4. Don’t avoid life- maintain balance- Scrolling through instagram for a few minutes is fun, scrolling through instagram for a few hours is an extreme waste of time. If you can’t close your app, you might have a problem. Check yourself regularly.
5. Don’t compare everyone’s highlight reels to your “real” moments- Everyone has real moments. I promise you no one’s life is perfect. You better believe I’m going to post a cute cuddly picture with my husband when we are in a cute cuddly mood, you can also bet I’m NOT going to get my phone out in the middle of an argument with him and take a video while he is in the middle of telling me why I’m wrong about something and post with the caption, “Gah, he is so mean to me.” Mostly, because about 3 minutes later I would realize I was completely wrong and would embarrass myself. But, I promise you those moments happen whether I post about them or not. No one’s life is perfect.
6. Don’t be provocative- please know any guy you grab the attention of because your dress is a little too tight or your pose is a little bit too seductive is scrolling right past you to comment on the next girl with a shirt too low or skirt too tight. Don’t slip into thinking being sexy is what will attract the man you need or God wants for you. I promise that is a dangerous, heartbreaking road you don’t want to go down.
7. Don’t talk down- about anyone. Or anything. Never say anything negative about your husband or boyfriend or CHURCH or anyone else’s church, or a political party or ANYTHING. Just don’t do it. You may change your mind about your boyfriend in a week and think he’s the best thing ever, but people won’t forget, and others won’t be so forgiving. It also reflects more poorly of you than them, I promise.
8. Lastly, Don’t take it so serious- make people smile! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be silly. Have fun! Use your platform to be a light in someone’s day.
*Do’s of Social Media!
1. Be selective- in the people you follow, the apps you use, the things you watch. You don’t have to accept every request that comes your way. You don’t have to use every app your friends use. There is power in being selective. There is power in your own choice.
2. Promote Jesus and your church- I worry about people who’s social media feeds are flooded with political posts or negativity (or themselves) and have zero about Jesus. Let people know how good God is! Yes, the world may be crazy, but Jesus is still on the throne! and my church is still thriving. I want everyone to know!
3. Practice positivity- Compliment people! and mean it! You have no idea how much the kind comments, text messages, and emails I have received from some of you mean to me. The fact that someone would take the time to say something positive absolutely makes my day. Be that for someone else. I try to comment something nice on pictures or statuses at least once a day. Make someone’s day today, and every day! It makes you feel good too, I promise.
4. Delete the app every now and then- Whatever "the" app may be for you. Break the habit of clicking and scrolling mindlessly. Like I said, If you “can’t” take a break, you’re addicted (or obsessed, however you want to spin it.)
5. Be present in the story of your life- Don’t be so consumed with waking up scrolling through what you missed in someone else’s life, that you forget to live your own with the people you love. Including Jesus. Wake up and read scripture with your coffee in the morning, the news feed can wait.
6. Take the time to respond- When I was starting a blog I didn’t realize that most of my communication with people regarding it would be with really long messages/emails. I was expecting a casual, “great post!” to which I could respond with a quick, “thanks!” But nope. Especially after my open letter about anxiety, my husband sat up with me and watched me pour over dozens of several paragraph long emails and messages… it took my energy to respond, it took extra time to add these people to my prayer lists, but guess what, people notice. People remember when you take the time to go the extra mile. And people are worth it.
7. Appreciate and emphasize face-to-face relationships- 2 John 1:12- Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink (or in our days, facebook/texting). Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete. I love this verse. Yes, I love making friends on social media, but you know what I love more? Finally getting to meet my online friends in real life! Nothing can ever replace face to face friendships.
8. Lastly, Give yourself and others grace, remembering Social Media only captures a glimpse of life- I started this with the scripture in 2 Corinthians that says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.” The beauty of this verse is it takes our sufficiency out of our hands. It takes away my ability to be prideful, thinking it is all of me, because no good in me is of me. It’s all of Him. But, this verse also shows that I am indeed sufficient. I am more than enough, through Him. Because HE said so.
The beauty of realizing you are enough, is when you truly grasp it, you quit comparing yourself to others. You quit thinking you are better or less than everyone around you. Yes, I am becoming a better version of ME in my daily goal to become Christ-like, but it’s for Jesus. There’s no anxiety or stress attached to that-it’s a calm peaceful reaching towards the mark, towards Him.
Realizing you are enough also helps you be kind and lift others! People insult and push others down because they subconsciously feel this need to be elevated and our sinful nature tells us that this is a quick way to accomplish that goal. Knowing you are perfectly sufficient in Jesus takes away cockiness and competitiveness and replaces it with compliments and companionship. I am confident in who I am in Him, so here, Let me elevate you-let me help you get to this place of confidence and security as well!
Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
As I wrap this up, let’s keep social media larger than for bragging and a means of comparison. Let’s keep it positive and encouraging. Keep it true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Let’s use it to stay connected, share Jesus, be encouraging, and yes, to even share exciting news, interesting stories, or decorating/cooking/fashion tips. Because I care what you ate for dinner and I definitely care where you got that dress.