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Why We Don't Need to Stand Out on Social Media

This week's post is by a guest blogger from FCC, Jenna Selander, .  Jenna is a former middle school teacher, now stay-at-home-mom. Her husband, Will, and 1 year old son, Roland, are New England transplants who moved to Forks Township last year. 

If you don’t know how TikTok works, it is basically a fast-paced, virtual, worldwide talent show. People post short videos showcasing their unique skill or knowledge on some topic, often accompanied by song clips and clever captions. Other TikTok users poke fun at culture or politics. Some make light of relatable, everyday problems that instantly get “likes,” comments, and reposts from millions of other followers.

For many people, TikTok is a fun way to share interesting content with friends. For others, it is a competition to gain global attention…to earn the status of “TikTok Famous” or “Social Media Influencer.”

I’ll admit, I don’t have a TikTok account of my own. Don’t get me wrong: I am sure I would find it HIGHLY entertaining as some of you do (or perhaps your kids do)! But as a boring, millennial mom in her thirties, I am afraid I could never keep up with a social media platform mostly used by the cooler, younger “Gen-Z” demographic. How could I ever create videos worthy of capturing anyone’s attention? I am not a good dancer. I am not a great cook. I am not especially funny or charismatic. I don’t have any home improvement “hacks” to show you in under a minute.  So who wants to waste their free time watching a video of ME?

Of course it’s not just TikTok that can make us feel pathetic: all social media apps connect us to at least hundreds of people with whom we have the opportunity to compare ourselves. It’s easy to lose sight of our self-worth when we open up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and more.So how can we still use social media and not fall into the trap of feeling inadequate?

Here are three important truths that have been helpful for me to remember while engaging in our crazy, competitive, digital world:

1. Jesus sees your uniqueness when social media friends don’t.

Even among the sea of other people on social media, you are still significant to God. He created you and loves you. As the psalmist says to God in Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

We are literally the Lord’s own handiwork. He knew each of us before we were born and he crafted us into being. Because of this, we don’t need to post perfectly edited photos on Instagram or Facebook to prove that we lead beautiful, meaningful lives. We don’t need to impress all of our friends on TikTok with a carefully choreographed dance. And since Jesus frequently extended His love to the social outcasts of His day, we know that He does not care how polished our profile looks or how popular we are with other users.
 
Understanding our identity in Christ frees us from the pressure to be seen and known on the internet. Remember that we already have a God that knows everything about us – who knows the exact number of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:29). Remember that we already have all the recognition that we need from our loving Father in Heaven.

2. You DO have talent, and the Church needs you to use it. 

TikTok and YouTube are great platforms for people who can entertain. Twitter is a platform for writers: people who can say witty or profound things in just a few words. Instagram is for the artistic: those who can curate a series of beautiful images to tell their life story or to promote their product or business.

But what if you have none of these talents? Where do you fit in?

God calls us to use our gifts primarily to serve Him and to build his church (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). And within the “body of Christ,” there are a variety of skills that are needed - not limited to the skills that may be impressive to the rest of the world (Romans 12:4-8).

To be actively involved at Forks Community Church, for example, you don’t need to be funny or charming or beautiful or smart. Can you greet people at the front door on Sunday morning? Can you hand out hot dogs to people at the park? Can you babysit children in the nursery? Can you bake brownies for a picnic after church? Can you tell other people in our community about the transformative work of Christ in your life?

Sure, none of these activities would look very glamorous in your Instagram “story,” but Jesus sees your quiet service to His Kingdom and rejoices in it (Colossians 3:23-24).

3. You will always have a captive audience in Christ.

Recently I had a friend tell me she was disappointed that I did not comment on one of her Facebook posts. It was about a family member who had fallen ill. In the post, she had requested prayer for her family member as well as financial support. I apologized to her for not responding sooner, but I could not promise that I would never make the same mistake again. It simply isn’t possible for me to read every status every day from the hundreds of people posting on my Facebook feed – maybe you feel the same way!

In reality, we can’t expect friends to always respond to our tweets, comments, stories, and status updates in the way we had hoped. But there IS someone who sees everything we put on social media - someone who wants to hear all of our joys, fears, frustrations and disappointments even when others keep scrolling past our posts. That someone, of course, is Jesus.  

Jesus wants us to bring our concerns to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). Instead of pulling out our phones right away to tell the world about our problems, we are invited to “humble ourselves” before God and to “cast” our “anxieties on him because, he cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Jesus cares for us, and he is always there for us: “He is a refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He is there when our laptop dies or our internet connection is down. He is there when our parents take away our phones for the entire weekend. He is there even we do have all of our full-working technology, but we somehow still feel alone.

As pastor and author Tim Keller says, “Jesus is the ultimate friend...He lets you in, and also, he never lets you down.”

At the end of the day, all of our real and virtual friends will probably fail us. The internet will definitely fail us. Christ is our only true, reliable source of peace - and the only one who can give meaning to our boring, normal, non-“influencer” lives. As Christians, we can still enjoy social media, but let’s focus on gaining “followers” for Him.


Keller, Tim. “Friendship.” YouTube, uploaded by Gospel in Life, 21 Oct. 2015,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tc4VIQrXdE&t=5s
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1 Comment


Sue Gardner - September 13th, 2021 at 3:29pm

I enjoyed your blogpost, Jenna. It’s definitely food for thought for anyone using social media.