Not Feeding the Frenzy

Increasingly, we are living our lives in the public forum. Hand-written letters to friends were exchanged for emails, which were exchanged for text messages, which have now been exchanged for tweets and notes on a Facebook wall for all the world to see. Secrets among friends, it seems, no longer exist. Meaningful friendships themselves may soon be a thing of the past.

Social media has allowed us to collect "followers" and "friends" like trinkets on a charm bracelet.  We are compelled to share intimate details of our lives with complete strangers, yet we are ashamed to ask those closest to us to pray as we wrestle against sin. We foster, as Carl Trueman writes, an "intimacy of strangers which is such a part of celebrity culture - for example, the faux-chumminess of all those tweeted exchanges and retweets, lives lived as soap operas mediated by the internet..." We brand ourselves with carefully crafted personas, afraid the true person cowering behind the screen isn't good enough. We allow site hits to determine our significance.

We shamelessly promote ourselves instead of the One who deserves all glory.

I am guilty as charged. In the words of Thabiti Anyabwile

I’m vulnerable to the tempting siren of "influence,” to trying to cultivate a persuasive power that inheres not so much in the truth of ideas but in the power of personality or “appearance.” What a horrible insatiable monster that kind of pride and self-seeking is. How vain to monitor twitter followers, web statistics, and anything else that suggests “influence.”
Yes, I am guilty as charged.

Although it may not be easy to accomplish, a quiet life demands discretion. Paul instructs the Thessalonians to make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully (1 Thess. 4:11, Amplified). Endeavoring to live quietly requires me to consider the noise I contribute to the social media frenzy.  And so I am asking myself these questions:

Am I attempting to drown out the voice of God? I must aim to glorify Him and Him alone in what I post. Family accomplishments are to be celebrated, not paraded for public consumption. If a prideful heart lurks beneath my motives for posting such items, doing so is sinful.

Am I infringing on my family's privacy? Sharing what God is doing in our family can be an encouragement to others and testify to His goodness. Sharing my daughter's struggles or my husband's sins violates their confidence in me. How can I teach my daughter to guard her privacy if I'm not guarding it for her? When sharing my own sins and struggles, I must be careful not to implicate my family in any way.

Will this encourage and help others in their walk with the Lord?  I must remember that even in social media, I am called to disciple and encourage others. While I enjoy freedom of speech, it is wise to consider Paul’s words regarding food and apply them to my social media contributions: “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Cor. 8:9, ESV)

Yes, it is hard work, but I press on toward a quiet life.

Comments

  1. Carl's statement that you quoted has been lingering in my mind since I first read it. That faux-chumminess is something that I have been trying to avoid.
    Great post, thank you for sharing your own guidelines in this struggle. I think that it's goos that we struggle!

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    1. Aimee, I agree. While others do collect facebook and twitter followers with wild abandon, I strive to keep my followers to those I personally know. There are a few exceptions. Those being people who may have a Godly blog or facebook page that I find uplifting and instructive in living for the Lord. Other than that, if someone sends me a friend request and they are not a "real life" friend, it will in all likelihood be ignored.

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  2. I am glad you are blogging again. It is good to read what you have to say.

    <3

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  3. How sadly true this is! I'm glad for this reminder to look into my heart concerning my own blog.

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  4. Very wise words here, Melissa. I think this is a struggle for all of us.

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  5. Love your heart here, Melissa. It's a daily battle to remain steadfast amidst the choppy seas of this world and not succumb to the pressures by bailing out altogether. You show that there's a better way to live that is both people-loving and God-honoring. Thank you for the post.
    -E

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