Hearing the word legacy makes me think of people who have passed on before me and what I received from them.
Not from their family or from their stuff, but THEM. What did they teach me? How did they help me evolve and become a better person?
As we begin to discover the effects of social media since it began in 1997, I wonder how will it impact legacies as we move forward? Will we continue to become so caught up and entrenched in our media feeds that we fail to give attention to those right beside us?
I’ve always been kind of, well… a self-determined weirdo. I had curly hair when everyone else had straight; I wore my brother’s hand-me-down t-shirts and jeans when my peers wore Izod and dresses; I was a fanatical sports fan and athlete at a time when girls weren’t that. We also moved a LOT, so I was often the new kid in school. Sadly, that automatically made me strange. While I could find myself uncomfortable socially, I came to appreciate and even like my uniqueness. But I also didn’t grow up in an era of social media which allows people to post only their best self if they so desire.
I worry so many people don’t embrace – much less like – what makes them stand out. What makes them… them.
The Bible tells us how God sees us. In Psalm 139:14 (NIV) “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful…”
So why is it so difficult for us to see ourselves how God sees us?
I think the devil, combined with our human nature, often creates an inner storm like no other. Social media provides a platform where we often can’t confirm we’re getting the whole, authentic story. Nor do we have to be accountable to do so ourselves. This can be where our mind starts playing games and self-loathing can creep in.
Fear, anxiety, insecurity, negative self-talk, doubt and comparison are all some of the ways we get caught up in the trap of living a life in the flesh instead of living in Christ.
Alice G. Walton wrote an article in Forbes Magazine June 30, 2017. In the article, titled “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health,” Walker tells us that studies have shown us that social media can be detrimental for our mental wellness. It has been shown to be addictive; a source of sadness, isolation and less life-satisfaction; the comparing that occurs from social media is unhealthy; it creates jealousy and envy which often leads to depression; we buy into the trap of believing it will help us feel better; and finally, virtual friends don’t provide the same positive results that real friends do.
We continue to have this crazy notion (and image) of perfection. Everything is flawless, especially the rich and famous. We often expect perfection of our leaders, our family, our friends and certainly from those we don’t even know. But how much easier would our lives be by just accepting that perfection is an illusion? God never intended for us to be perfect.
Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God uses our flaws for His glory: “Each time He said, “my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
When will it become ok to be imperfect and just be whatever we are – imperfections and brokenness and whatever else that entails? What needs to happen so that we look at ourselves with God’s lenses and realize we can shine brightly despite (or because of) our flaws?
Matthew 5:16 (CEV) – Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
When I send my boys off in the morning, I sometimes tell them to shine brightly and make the world a better place. Funny, I worry if I say it too much it will lose its meaning. I remind them: “be you. If you keep trying to do what everyone else is doing and trying to be someone else, who will be YOU? You are the only YOU in this world.” The fact that the conversation has taken place more than once, tells me it hasn’t quite had the impact I had hoped. But one day it will stick, right?
Social media isn’t going anywhere. It seems to be here for the duration. Don’t be afraid to be you.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Shouldn’t the greatest gift we leave the world reflect God and His image of us instead of reflecting who the world wants us to be? Fully embrace who God made you to be. Don’t be afraid to show the world your true, authentic wonderful self – even on social media. Be genuine and unique. Tell YOUR story. Find what REALly helps you stand out from everyone else. Make sure your legacy is the true original – fearfully and wonderfully made.