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Think Before You Post- 2 Dangerous Social Media Posts

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Quite possibly I’m about to step on your toes or offend you. I pray not, and it’s not my intention, but I can’t stay silent on this any longer.

I’ve written quite a bit about social media. In fact, I’d planned to write a book about it until God changed the course. So instead I decided to publish parts of the material here on my blog. You can read my series Unseen here.

Social media can be all things wonderful and dangerous at the same time. It can look innocent, and motives can be mostly pure, but the post could be doing far more damage than we realize. And this is how the enemy works. He masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). He works in secretive, deceptive ways. Deceiving our own hearts and motives so that we are doing his will without even realizing it.

I see it all over instagram and this alarm sounds as I scroll through posts. Sadly, it’s more prominent in the christian blogging world than anywhere else. That’s partly because thousands of followers will like these posts within seconds, validating that heart desire for affirmation, acceptance, and approval. The person posting sees that people like those kinds of posts and are encouraged to do it again. To seek that filling of being “liked” or “favorited”.

I debated for a long time writing about this. It’s been burning and churning, but I’ve avoided it for fear of offending someone (which is likely to happen no matter what I write) or seeming cynical. I want to say the reason I’m writing this is that I’m convinced there are many young women who are posting on social media and have no idea the danger they are creating with their posts. I hope to open eyes to seeing in a way that the enemy of our souls is using these posts.

 

Post danger #1: Posting a picture of your handsome, well built husband, fiancé, or boyfriend.

 

Sometimes laying on the beach. Sometimes shirtless doing yard work.  Sometimes appearing to be unaware his picture is being taken while he is deep in thought staring out into the wilderness.

The post will have emoticons of flaming red heart eyes, rows of purple hearts and flowers, cascading words of adoring love. There will be a clever phrase about how blessed one is to have such an amazing husband. Possibly a heart of humility that one doesn’t deserve such a man.

 

Here’s why it’s dangerous.

  • There is a woman who will see that picture and be thrown into lust. She struggles with it daily. Men aren’t the only ones who lust and struggle with this temptation. It’s an undiscussed struggle of many women as well.

Porn is an addiction for women as well as men. Spend a few minutes researching the shift in    pornography addiction. It will startle you. Know where it sometimes starts? Right here with these lustful    producing images and posts. It helps create the appetite.

  • It’s setting up your man and your relationship as a target. Placing that picture up in that way makes him a bullseye. There are some women who thrive on the challenge of getting the man who seems untouchable. Don’t put a target on your relationship!

 

  • It breeds jealously and discontentment in another woman. Undoubtedly, a large number of women liking that post don’t feel they are blessed in their relationship. Their marriage is rocky and tumultuous. They feel unloved or unnoticed. They have experienced hurt and failure and are clinging to shreds of hope in their relationship. Then these perfect husbands appear in their feed. Their eyes stop for a moment and their imaginations begin. They begin to create unspoken expectations for their own relationships. The relationship that has been striving for a breakthrough goes back a few more steps.

You see it used to be television and magazines that offered us the picture perfect mate and life to pine over. Now it’s right up in our face, with people we know and love, or people we don’t know but think we do because we are able to follow anyone no matter how famous they are. Suddenly, they become a real person to us. And life and relationships look like the magazines and movies. So it must be real and attainable, right? Wrong!

I’m convinced that many of the women who are posting these types of pictures and posts don’t have any clue what they are doing. Many are young and newly married. They are excited and in 2016 when you are excited you shout through Instagram.

My plea is to stop posting these posts for the sake of your sisters. The ones you don’t know are struggling. Protect their hearts. Love them enough to not proclaim your amazing relationship. Please.

Their hearts are aching in ways you can’t understand. Be sensitive to the fact that a husband who is both incredibly handsome AND the world’s greatest man is just rare. Don’t set that up as the standard to achieve. Help a sister out.

Marriage is HARD and still beautiful. Marriage doesn’t fit the Instagram mold, but it is beautiful in ways Instagram can never achieve.

 

Dangerous post #2: Posting a picture of you enjoying a glass of wine or any alcohol.

I’m not at all saying drinking is wrong. It’s a gray area. Some people have no problem enjoying alcohol, others cannot. I’m NOT saying having a glass of wine is a sin – I don’t believe it is, though drunkenness is a different story. I’m not saying as christian women we can’t drink. I’m saying, do we have to post it? I hope I’m clear here so you will hear what I want you to hear.

Here’s why I believe we should not post those types of pictures- There are younger women in the faith who take their cues of what they should and shouldn’t do from other christian women rather than straight from God. Given a few more years in their walk with the Lord, they are easily able to discern the voice of God and determine what is acceptable for them and what is not.

I struggled early on in my christian walk in knowing how to discern God’s voice. I often looked to my christian sisters to determine what God would have me do or not do.

Again, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. This is not at all a drink or don’t drink statement. I very much believe that this is a personal choice that is perfectly acceptable for some who are not tempted to enter into drunkenness. But for others, one drink leads to many drinks and they simply can’t handle it. When a young woman struggles in this area and she sees a prominent figure enjoying drinks with friends, she may believe that is her green light.

We aren’t responsible for the choices other people make, but we are responsible for the example we set and for the stumbling blocks we erect. Today, this is primarily through social media.

The danger with social media is that it provides us this invisible screen. We can hide behind it not taking full responsibility. It gives us courage to be who we want to be. If we aren’t careful, it can become dangerous in more ways than one.

If you are a christian woman with a platform, you are in a place of leadership. You are a silent mentor, disciple maker in the lives of young women. Many you will never meet. You have a call and a charge to lead them in their walk closer to the Lord.

Before we post, we must ask ourselves what the intent of the post is and what dangers it might pose to another woman. Will it be a stumbling block? Will it tempt her to sin? Will it arouse jealousy? Is it boastful? Is it proud? Is it arrogant? Because that’s not love.

Before we post, we should ask ourselves does this post promote love?

 

Here’s love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor 13:4-7

Love protects.

We must protect our sisters in Christ by guarding what we share and how we share it on social media. We should be open, vulnerable, authentic, and transparent for sure. We shouldn’t be fake or hypocrites. I’m simply saying, if it is a picture that could tempt someone to fall, maybe it should be held for your private photo album.

Do we stop adoring our husband? No, but save those for his ears only. No need to broadcast to the world how awesome he is. Do we stop having a glass of wine with a friend? No. Just no need to flaunt it on social media for the world to form a false judgement on you or set up their standard based on your personal choices.

Do we have to become paranoid about what we post? No, we shouldn’t. Social media is fun and full of wonderful elements. It’s great to share our excitement with others online and to share our journeys of life. But with all good things, there is a fine line. And the enemy that works to destroy us, works very well through social media. He takes what is good and twists it for his evil purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unseen – The battle that wages – Part 2

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This is Part 2 of Unseen. If you are just joining, visit this link to an index listing of all posts in the series.

Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit and shared with Adam. Once they ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened and their nakedness exposed to themselves. They quickly sewed fig leaves together and tried to cover themselves. When they heard God walking through the garden, they hid. I find it interesting God calls out to them asking where they were. Of course, He knew where they hid. This was a rhetorical question to which they said they hid because they were naked. What shamed them they tried to cover and hide from God. But He is the Creator and always knows His creation.

Our social media interactions can be both the fruit and the fig leaf. It can tempt us toward areas of sin, such as jealousy, discontentment, bitterness, and ingratitude. It can also be the covering we use to hide ourselves.

I grab hold of that shiny red apple that looks perfect, free from bruises and blemishes. So I bite with a post that captures my children sitting around the breakfast table, dutifully reading morning devotions while eating my homemade bread, feasting on living bread. A beautiful moment.

I chew that bite, digesting the likes and favorites bit by bit. So juicy and tasty going down. Then it’s digested, gone, and I need more. But worse than my appetite for more is the lingering ache that is left in the pit of my stomach.

I look back at that post and see a fig leaf. I covered the moments prior to breakfast when my tone was harsh and my eyes cut deep. It covered the parts of me I don’t want known. The parts that might cause others to judge me or dislike me. Guilt filled the empty.

The enemy loves to fill our hearts with shame and guilt. At times this guilt is so heavy it will lie like a blanket over our deepest desires to be found by the One who always knows where we hide.

For all the wonderful aspects of social media, it can also act as a refuge where we run and hide from the trials, frustrations, and pains of daily life. Social media can distract us from running to the one true refuge.

This series is not an attempt to paint a picture of the harms of social media. It can be a wonderful tool, one that brings joy and laughter, one that calls to action prayer warriors, one that saves lives, one that raises money, one that connects people where distance has formed. Social media can be a wonderful, beautiful thing.

On the other hand it can also be a place we go to satisfy what only God can satisfy. Or it’s a place we go to in order to escape, which might just take us from experiencing God in that very moment.

Our desires aren’t something to be ashamed of. They were sewn into our soul by our Creator and must express themselves. Our soul recognizes this longing to be deeply known and craves it. We were created with a yearning to be known by our maker. The one who knows us so intimately he can count the hairs on our head.

Sister in Christ, you and I share the same desires. We desire to be known. We desire to be loved. We desire to be accepted. We desire to be seen. We desire to have a purpose. We desire to be secure in who we are. We desire true, authentic relationships. We desire joy. We desire a faith that slays our fears.

The root of all of our deepest desires is God. What our hearts thirst and pant for is Him. God. And you know what? He wants to fulfill the deepest desires of our heart with all of Him. And He tells us how to do it.

What threatens our desires? A silent competition played out in a highly seen world where we share more information than ever before and feel less known as a result.

A battle wages. The seen vs. the unseen. In the seen world, I’m tempted to fill these desires myself. It’s easy to do. I can pop into social media for a quick fill up. But what I’ve discovered is that my tank runs dry again. I’m pulled to the seen. It beckons me because I can see it and get immediate results.

His Word whispers to me:

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God calls us to this place in between. He calls us to live in the seen but to live for the unseen.

To live for Him, desiring not attention for ourselves, but desiring to love Him so wildly that we cause the world around us to see the unseen through us. He gently reminds me that joy will be found when I live in the seen yet live for the unseen.

Where I fix my eyes is crucial. If I fix my eyes on the mess, it will pull me into its abyss. If I fix my eyes on my pain, the sting will be unbearable. If I fix my eyes on the monotony of life, the boredom will turn me into a stone pillar. If I fix my eyes on the load waiting for my back, I will break with the first step.

Social media offers us an alternative place to fix our eyes, and sometimes that is what we want. Something else to focus on other than what feels heavy. But there are times this causes us to miss the most excellent view.

Where we fix our eyes holds power. Let’s learn to fix our eyes on God.

In my walk with Him, I’m discovering new trails, which are more like paths that connect the seen to the unseen. A stroll is always more fun with a friend. I’m glad you are here with me.

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