When was the last time you walked up to a friend, looked them in the eyes, and shouted, “Hey, look at me! Look at my life—and how seriously awesome it is! Don’t you wish you had my life? Just keep on looking at me!”
“Um, never,” you say? I beg to differ. I think you have.
I bet you do it more than you realize.
Because I do it all the time.
Before you close this blog post, unfollow me on social media, and send me some hate mail, give me a second to explain.
Actually, it only takes one question to get to the root of what I’m exploring here: What—and why—do you post on social media?
Here’s a situation in which I am 100 percent guilty of selfish attention-grabbing on social media. (And so you can really get into my head, I’m going to explain it like a movie scene.)
Me: You know, I haven’t posted on social media in a while.
Also Me: Oh man, yeah. You need to post today! Pronto!
Me: But I don’t have anything worth posting.
Also Me: Get it together, man! Find some epic pose or place, snap that photo, and put it on the ‘gram!
Me: Well . . . isn’t that a bit self-focused?
Also Me: Are you kidding?! Social media is supposed to make you feel good about yourself! It doesn’t matter what you post, as long as you get likes and comments!
Me: I guess you have a point.
Also Me: Finally. All right, get the shot. Post it. And BAM! Wait for those likes to pour in.
Let’s Figure This Out Together
It’s easy to be obsessed with posting to social media for our own selfish benefit. We could all agree, it’s pretty cool to have other people from around the world liking a picture of you! But as Christians, there could be a problem. (And I say “could” because I’m not exactly sure myself. I thought you’d be able to help figure this out.)
Social media can so easily be all about me, myself, and I.
Selfies . . . stories about my life . . .
What I’m up to . . .
Where I’m going . . .
Who I’m with . . .
What I’m eating . . .
All my smiling, Boomeranging friends . . .
See? Me, me, me!
Of course, we have friends to stay in touch with and relatives who love to see what we’re up to these days. I totally get that. But what are your motives? (I’m asking you at the same time I’m asking myself.)
Motives can be a heavy word. To simplify it, here’s what it really means: Why do you do what you do? Why do you post to social media? To feel good, to get likes on your photo, to show people how great your life is?
Examining our true motives means that we have to be honest with ourselves. Brutally honest.
In Psalm 115:1, I find this convicting verse that can be applied to social media: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
Ouch. I’ve posted way too often on Instagram or Facebook for my own glory.
A Challenge For Us
So here’s my challenge to us this month. Before posting on social media, let’s ask ourselves these questions:
- Is my motive for posting this photo or story to show off to others, showcasing how great my life is?
- Or is it investing in others by pointing them to how great God is?
- Can my followers use what I’m posting to help them in some way?
Two great examples of using social media well are the Lies Young Women Believe social media team and my friends Bethany and Kristen at Girl Defined. Their posts are fun, but they also have a lot of wisdom.
One important disclaimer here: I’m not saying it’s a requirement to post a Bible verse with every post or a selfie with “just praising the Lord for His creation today!” caption. Please keep posting your great photos and creative captions! I’m just challenging all of us to be more others-focused in our posts—and less concerned with how many likes or comments we get.
To close, here’s some wisdom from Paul: “Love does not envy or boast . . . but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:4, 6).
I’d love to hear from y’all!
- What do you think about this discussion of social media and motives?
- How can we focus on adding value to others’ lives on social media?