Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why I'm not giving up social media...on purpose

The words of the reckless pierce like swords,

but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

~ Proverbs 12:18


Just the other night, I contemplated giving up social media.  For good.  Having just read a vicious thread on a public school system media page in which the adult participants accused one another of stupidity and racism, I lay on the couch listening to the Officer read aloud yet another thread among Christians regarding gun control.  As the thread progressed, it also became increasingly judgmental, malicious, and ended with scripture-hurling bullying.  I was disappointed; and pointedly reminded that only a few short months ago, I was engaged in exactly the same type of discourse – thus I was clearly in no place to judge anyone then or today.  But, having experienced what my actions brought about, I knew I didn’t want or need this kind of negativity to be a part of what I ingest daily. 

Upon hearing my proposition, the Officer reminded me that we primarily use our social media outlets to keep our out of town families in the loop with photos of our kids; so giving it up entirely wouldn’t really work.      

Thus, I decided to apply my chosen one word to my social media channels.  I needed to use these tools to bring God glory, to invite others to know Him more deeply, to share His love to a world in such desperate need of it.  In previous times, when prompted thusly by a pastor, I posted daily scriptures.  And while I believe that God does work in those posts1, I didn’t want to force it.  I had to consider, also, that a good number of my friends aren’t interested in God’s Word at all.  Thus I assume my scripture posts would be skimmed over, if not hidden entirely, and would eliminate my ability to be someone who genuinely cares for them.


Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,

but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

 ~ Ephesians 4:29


It was then I remembered a two-line note someone sent me months ago, for the sole purpose of encouraging me.  This individual and I have yet to meet in person, yet s/he took the time to let me know I was heard and valued.  Even more recently, a friend with whom we’d been out of touch for a while, sent me a message encouraging me in a very specific way – at the exact time I needed it most.  His words buoyed my spirit and reminded me of the truth I was struggling to grasp at that moment.  There was the epiphany: overcome the malicious content of social media with good.  With encouragement, with grace, with love. 

To be purposeful with my social media this year means:

·         Engage in NO debates [see Thursday’s Tuesday's* post for the parameters of this one]

·         Post updates that are TRUE [not inflated, self-aggrandizing versions of truth], honoring to God and my family, and embody the spirit of GRACE

·         Use my time on these sites to encourage others through public praise or private encouragement.

Yet, because I so easily fall into the trap of cheering on those closest to me – the easiest ones to compliment – I have also set the following goals for purposeful encouragement using my social media:

·         Send PM’s to whomever is on my mind that day – I will be prayerfully considering who to contact each day, and trusting that the Holy Spirit’s timing [assuming that I’m really listening] is perfect

·         Write or tweet an encouragement or praise to one person daily

·         Do this for all my acquaintances by December 31, 2013.

Thus, if you’re my Facebook friend or if we’re connected on Twitter, you can expect an encouraging word from me…within the next 12 months. 

I can’t help but wonder: what if we stormed social media, not with our opinions or what we ate today or how many miles/reps we completed, but with love and encouragement and kindness?  What if we overwhelmed all the negativity and vanity and evil with grace and kindness and goodness?  What if we drown out the anger and malice with an out-pouring of love and gentleness?  What if we dedicated ourselves to purposefully encouraging one another, finding little ways to genuinely communicate that people have value and worth, are cared for, and are deeply and eternally loved? 

That would be an excellent use of social media – and an outlet I’d be eager to partake in.       



1.        I can’t count the number of times someone else’s scripture was exactly what I needed the exact moment they posted it

*As it turns out, I'll have to only post once a week -- this semester is already shaping up to be an exciting busy and formative one.  Thanks.



  1. Jennifer, I really enjoy your blog. I have considered dropping social media but I also use it to connect with family members. Dropping it completely is not an option.

    For what it is worth, I find you you to be completely genuine. Maybe it is because I actually know you and Anthony and know you are genuine kind people. I enjoy your FB, Instagram. blog updates.

    I agree, I think storming social media with purposeful encouragement would be great.

    I am not sure what my point is other than to say, I understand where you are coming from.

    1. Natasha,

      Thanks for your encouragement! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who has considered leaving the internet FOREVER. And I appreciate your compliment -- it truly is comforting to know that you, because you DO know us [though from how long ago, I will politely omit], think I'm genuine. That's my desire, certainly; but I often wonder if the folks who know me [now and from...erhm...our youth] can still hear me in these words.

      Your encourgament was just what I needed today -- thank you!