How my Faith is a Necessity with Social Media: If you allow it, the online world can diminish your thoughts on self worth and value in minutes. Let’s get in to your faith toolkit, and help you overcome these tough roadblocks in today’s world.
How my Faith is a Necessity with Social Media
Have you ever fallen victim to a social media “crap-storm”? I can tell you from experience that being on the receiving end is not fun, but maybe not for the reasons you might guess.
Now, before you go thinking that this is a rant about how unfair the world is, I’m a big girl, and I know what I signed up for as a blogger, and I fully understand that the negativity on social media comes with the territory, but I’m often left scratching my head at the extent to which some people will go to get your attention.
So, let me tell you how my faith fits into all of this. I have a choice in how I respond to the negative things that people say, and to be honest, sometimes it’s not easy to hold my tongue. It takes a lot to not type exactly what I’m thinking, but I understand that when I respond in a negative way, it’s a reflection on me, and that’s not a side I want to give to my community. I’ve learned that instead of focusing on the hurtful comment, it’s much better to divert my attention to something more positive.
One of my morning rituals is to visit SandersWeb for inspiration. During one of those social media storms, I found myself on the site praying for a random Bible verse to show up and get my mind in a better place.
Then, this popped up on my computer screen…
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10
Well crap. Thank you, Jesus. It was like a virtual slap in the face that morning, and EXACTLY what I needed to hear. Now although it didn’t last… and I have to keep returning back to this verse from time to time, it still hits home when I need it to.
My Faith Toolkit
To be prepared when the enemy is trying to drag me down, I have my very own “faith toolkit” full of reminders to keep me from wallowing in a dark pit.
Having a faith toolkit keeps me centered and grounded, especially in those times when the dark side of social media tries to step in and take control of my thoughts and how I feel about myself. Not only have I included verses like Galatians 1:10 above, but I have other tools sitting there, well-sharpened, and ready for me to use.
A Few Faith Tools I Use:
- I reach in and recall stories and my own experiences and examples of how God has shown up in my life in the past, and rescued me from “man”. Remembering those times is a reality check, and a beautiful reminder that God is there.
- I reach out to God-fearing friends who are faithful, and there when I need them. Even if all I have to send is a simple text of “Please pray for me today.” Trust me, asking for help is a HARD one for me. But push through… the love you can receive far outranks the vulnerability.
- I look for the GOOD on social media. I’ll head to a Facebook group, an Instagram feed, or even Pinterest for uplifting, faith-based encouragement to get back on the faith-train.
Even only utilizing these three tools, I’m usually back on the up & up during a tough day online.
So Why Not Just Say “Good-Bye” to Social Media?
So you may be asking me:
Jessica, if social media is that “bad” then why don’t you just get off of it, and cancel your accounts?
Yep. Totally get that question, and that seems like the easiest way, right? But, then I’d miss out on all of the wonderful things my friends are sharing and the amazing experiences of those I follow. This is the positive side of social media that I love.
Plus, I understand that no matter what “platform” is used, there will always be someone out there trying to use it to hurt others. Whether it’s social media, a hard copy newspaper article or a stranger on the side of the road holding up a sign bashing someone, they’ll find a way to do it.
Preparation is key. As long as my faith toolkit is filled, and the tools are sharpened, I can handle whatever life throws at me, and however it’s thrown at me.
Just a Couple of “Hmm’s” to Think About
Friends, as I share all of this with you… please know this is from my heart, and that I’m not a perfect person. I’m totally guilty of judging others, just as we all have, and have even been guilty of looking at my friend next to me, and saying “Oh my gosh, did you see that on Facebook about her?”
So know that I’m imperfect, and I write this to you… just as I’m saying it to myself too.
Now that the too-tight social media shoe’s been on the other foot, here are a couple of thoughts I think about when I find myself on social media, reading that viral post about someone and tempted to cast my opinion (maybe these will help you, too.)
Are You a Silent Troll?
- Are you sure you’re not sharing or tagging someone in something on social media that could contribute to the hurt of someone else?
As an online media gal, I’ve learned some of the ins and outs of social media over the years, and realize that some may not fully grasp how viral some things can get, by innocently tagging a friend in the comments to read it, sharing, commenting with even just an emoji, or even “liking” a post that someone else has created.
When a post gets likes, shares, a tag and/or comments, the social media platform will see that as a popular post, so it will get “pushed out” to social media even more. In which, can then manifest in to more and more hurt for someone out there in the online world, if the post relates to them in some way.
Or NOT Silent? Well Please Just Remember This.
- Even if you agree with a hateful post that someone created, wish badly for someone, OR… even create that hateful status update yourself … there is someone out there that hasn’t done anything to you.
These types of posts and comments could be indirectly hurting them, (their child, spouse, mother, sister, brother, etc.) by spreading hate in the online world. When it’s not happening to you, it’s easy to feel that your actions are justified, but what if it were you or your family member?
Which brings me to something else…
The Online World: A Real Person?
- Because the online world is a virtual one, it’s easy to forget that there’s a real person on the other side of the screen.
Online it’s easy to feel that it’s just us with our laptops. We have a right to our opinion, right? What’s the harm in adding our two or three cents to the growing comment section? Before we know it, we easily slip in to the mindset that what we see/read/hear online, doesn’t involve REAL human beings. Suddenly, we’re pushing compassion aside and saying and doing what feels good at the moment without considering someone’s feelings. Words have power, even if they’re just on a screen.
Sure, we may convince ourselves by saying…
“Well, I just want to share it to protect others by letting “everyone” know.”
I’m sure that’s true in some cases, but is it really the reason we’re sharing it? Or is that just what we tell ourselves, to justify feeding on the negative?
I also truly believe that if you take at least HALF of the people that leave awful comments and status updates on social media about someone, and sat them down in front of the person they were “confronting”, that they’d either hesitate, change their mind, or change up their words in a less-hurtful manner.
The Real Story
Man alive. This. This is so huge.
A joke I often say is
Well I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true, right!?
Then we giggle, and move on with our conversation. But the truth is, anyone can get online and write just about anything they want, whether it’s true or not. Heck, even a newspaper can write something in just a way that makes it sound like something it isn’t.
Taking a second to consider that there could be a deeper story associated with what we’re reading and that we may not know all of the details, gives us a second to reconsider our reaction and take a step back before telling the world how we feel. Despite what we see, there could always be more to the story.
I’m sure it’s far-fetched to say that “everyone” has been attacked, or trolled on social media at some point in their life; however, the reality is, that everyone has, in some degree, been the victim of some sort of hurtful comment or act that someone has created on a social network. (Whether it was towards them, or even towards someone that they care about.)
It’s the world we live in currently. Everyone can have a platform created in minutes to try and ruin someone’s day, or even life, and if you allow it to… your self-worth and value can be diminished, in a second flat, after reading it.
Mindfulness will go a long way toward curbing some of the negative behavior online. Until that happens, I’ll keep using my faith toolkit to get me through.
Need your own Faith toolkit?
I’m sharing my faith toolkit with you. It’s full of my favorite Bible verses and resources. I hope it comes in handy when you’re looking for peace and comfort, during your own “life storm”.
Download it HERE, or by clicking the image below!
I’m so glad that you came by. I adore having conversations like this with you all, and tend to get deeper in conversation and share more real life experiences in my love notes that I send out to inboxes every once in a while. To get on that list, just head over here, and I’ll be in your inbox shortly!