Is Christ in your Social Media Message?

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. But as Christians, we have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in our social media message.

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. People comment with cruel disregard for people on the other side of the screen. Yet, Christians have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in everything, including our social media message.

Twenty years ago, many of us couldn’t imagine social media existing much less consuming large portions of our lives. But, it has become how most people get news and interact with the global community on a daily basis. I don’t know the exact statistics, but most people check social media first thing each morning.

June 30, 2010 people celebrated the first World Social Media Day, which is around the time I joined the ranks of smart phone users and began to dip my toe into this new Facebook thing that was replacing MySpace. LOL

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And I’ve come to embrace it in many forms. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and StumbleUpon, and a few more, but haven’t bitten the SnapChat bullet yet.

But one thing I try to do no matter which site I’m on is portray a consistent Christ-centered message.

Whether on my personal page or Heaven not Harvard accounts, nothing matters more to me than being as genuine a witness for my faith as I can be in every aspect of my social media use.

Keeping Christ at the center of our social media message is hard!

But social media is hard!

People are emboldened behind their keyboards to share every thought and emotion, often without much thought to how their words reflect on them as people or affect others.

Our social media message should be centered on a Kingdom-mindset and Christ focus. Click To Tweet

Honestly, I could write a book about Christian social media usage, but today, I want to focus on how we interact with our friends primarily.

Because it’s easy to see that social media is destructive and divisive within marriages and friendships. So we need to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity to be a light for Christ on social media among our friends.

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. But as Christians, we have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in our social media message.

So Why use social media at all?

As an Army wife, I live in a transient community. Social media allows us to stay in touch with people who have moved away and stay close through interacting with each other online.

Also, we live far from all our family. Social media allows us to feel more connected to family: cousins, aunts and grandparents, even those on the other side of the country or even world.

Even in the civilian sector, social media allows us to befriend and communicate with people around the globe. I’ve made real friendships with people in other states and walks of life and even on other continents.

BUT . . .

Our words have more weight than ever, and words without the benefit of tone of voice or facial expressions. Only our words must stand and reflect the heart we had when we posted an article or comment.

I write this not as one who has mastered my online words or social media message, but as one contending for righteousness in this arena.

Matthew 12:36 ESV / I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

It is not a stretch to assume that God will also hold us accountable for the words we type, as well.

Yesterday, I shared a post about service and the importance of focusing less on what I’m getting, more on how I’m loving others.

Focusing on how I love has also changed how I interact online.

Recently, a socially liberal, atheist friend and I were on opposite sides of an emotional issue in a Facebook thread. No matter how I explained my thoughts, he didn’t see it my way.

While tempting to use snarky wit to drive home my point, my goal in the conversation surpassed this one issue. Ultimately, my Kingdom-minded goal was to love my friend by demonstrating the love of Christ who lives in me.

At the end of the day, even this delicate and difficult topic was not as important as reaching my friend for Christ.

I prayed before reading each of his replies. Again, I prayed before replying. I typed replies and then prayed and revised.

In the end, I was able to address HIM not his position or his ideas, but reach out as a friend. “Hey, our friendship is more important than our agreement here.” Doing so reflected Christ more than convincing him of my Christian position on this issue ever would have.

I struggle with this issue everyday since I’m fairly political. And I do believe part of God’s calling in my life has been to righteously contend for His truths. However, I feel very strongly that I should err on the side of invitation and grace in how I interact on social media.

When I account for my words, I want to be able to say that everything I said was done in my very human attempt to be a light for Christ in one of the darkest places in the world – the internet.

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Beating Body Image Issues: Compared to Who?

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent my life believing my issues were with my body. I was so wrong!

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent much of my adult life believing that my issues were with my body.

If my body looked better, I wouldn’t have any issues, right? I was so wrong. I didn’t even realize I was working on the wrong AREA of my life!

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Of course, when I did lose weight, I noticed the stretch marks from the extra weight or the wrinkles in my face became more prominent. Every step toward my ideal body brought up new body image issues to worry about: varicose veins, chin hair, visible scars. I was never going to get there.

But that didn’t stop me from believing I was supposed to.

My body image issues were so ingrained I couldn’t separate my worth as a person from my imperfections.

I did things like walk for two hours everyday, skip meals, and start marathon running despite major joint pain because I felt compelled to reach this place of good enough physical perfection.

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent my life believing my issues were with my body. I was so wrong!
used with permission – Heather Creekmore 2017

Body image issues even spilled over into my nutrition. I skipped too many meals and didn’t eat nutritious food in proper proportions. I tried every diet and exercise plan, but none could change how I felt inside my own heart.

My body image issues were so ingrained I couldn't separate my worth from my imperfections. Click To Tweet

I’m ashamed of how body image has affected my life. I’ve cancelled plans or been too embarrassed to go places because I don’t have clothes to cover my problem areas. Because of my appearance, I’ve felt like a failure as a person.

I’ve cried so many tears wishing I could just be normal. The joke was on me! I am normal – like the 91% of women who also struggle with body image issues.

I’ve been on a journey to let go of my body image issues for the last few years, but Heather Creekmore’s book has helped free me in a way I didn’t expect.

At first, I didn’t want to read Compared to Who?.  I was so sure this was just another DIET book, full of the same old platitudes.

God only cares about your heart. It’s the inside that matters.

UGH! While those are true statements, they only help so much unless you deal with the real issue. Because deep down, while I know God loves me and values me for the inside, I want other people to think I’m wonderful too. There’s the real issue-Pride.

Despite my resistance, God was working on my body image issues and wasn’t going to leave me alone. I kept seeing this book everywhere.

Clearly, God wanted me to read this book.

When my copy arrived, I was hesitant but after a few pages, Heather’s humor and compassionate honesty captured my attention.

She confessed all thoughts I’ve secretly thought: every silent smug vanity, the catty comparisons, my shame when I didn’t match up, believing I just needed to have enough self-esteem to accept myself the way I am. So much of her story related to mine!

And I knew she understood. So when she asked me to rethink everything I’ve ever thought about vanity and body image, I was willing.

Compared to Who? offers us the heart of our body image issues and lets us quit comparing. Click To Tweet

What’s more, Compared to Who? showed me how I’ve been missing the heart issue of my body image issues.

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with body image issues or vanity. Even though it mostly pertains to women, Heather speaks to the heart of the matter, our sinful flesh.

While I received a free copy from the author, the opinions are my own!

If you take what she says to heart, read the scriptures, and ask God to work in your heart, you will change. I am beating my body image issues, and freedom never felt so good.

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Intentional Multitasking for Busy Moms

What is intentional multitasking? It's how I quit feeling stressed and crazy, started getting stuff done, and found more time for enjoying my child.

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What is intentional multitasking?

When I was at my wit’s end, I had to find a way to quit feeling like a spinning top.  Intentional multitasking helps me get more done with LESS stress and MORE time to be the homemaker and Christian woman I strive to be.

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Even during this season of disability, I’m still BUSY!  But, I got tired of feeling frazzled, stressed, and distracted! I don’t want to miss my daughter’s childhood.


Something had to change . . . how I tackled multitasking!

Tips for Intentional Multi-tasking

Have a daily WRITTEN to do list

One of my largest stressors is worrying about forgetting something. By having a written list (even just a note on my phone), I don’t forget anything and don’t have mental stress over forgetting something important.

Put the quality back into your quality time with Intentional Multitasking

When I remember something I need to do, I write it down. Instead of shifting away from the task I’m working on, I save it to my list. Then, I finish the priority task rather than let all my random thoughts distract me.

Combine activities, don’t split focus.

I can combine some activities, but some really need focused attention. I choose one task that needs most of my focus and combine it with some mindless mom task, like folding laundry.

They are PERFECT opportunities for intentional multitasking. I can chop vegetables while helping my daughter read a book (hint-if you plan meals well, you can chop/prep for a couple of different meals at once). I can vacuum while reviewing my mental to-do list or even use that time to pray for friends and family.

Intentional Multitasking? Put more quality back into your quality of life. Click To Tweet

Throw in a load of laundry while reading a book with the kids. Use toy clean up as a chance to do squats or stretch. Make it a game with worship music and you’re cleaning, praising, and spending quality time with the kids.

Right now I have a load of laundry going, my daughter is working on some math, and I’m finishing this post.

I can combine tasks, but never split focus. Giving my best attention to the most important part of this mom life.

I need most of my attention to proofread and write, but can take a minute here and there to check on my daughter’s progress and to switch laundry from washer to dryer.

Make Time for Quiet Time

Quiet time can be one of the first things we set aside when life gets busy, believing we’ll get to it later, but the day only gets busier.

Some of my quiet time is listening my daily Bible reading on the YouVersion App. I wouldn’t trade all my Bible reading for audio, but while washing dishes or fixing my hair, I can primarily focus on God’s word. And it’s pretty hard to be bitter about chores while listening about the Israelites complaining in the desert. 😉

 

Driving in the car, it’s easy to turn on the radio, but I have a few favorite preachers I find uplifting and convicting, so I listen to recent sermons instead, which helps pass long drives and is great way to hear in-depth teaching of God’s word when I don’t have MARY time in my MARTHA schedule.


Using social media is the death of productivity. It’s a rabbit hole that will suck hours of your life away. If I want to get things done, I have to close tabs on my laptop, silence my phone and turn it screen down.

In fact, multitasking with our devices decreases productivity and even our IQ!

I literally work ON social media, but I have to set strict limits on it during the day or I find myself spending all day reading important articles and viral posts and then I’m commenting on my friends’ statuses. Next thing I know, it’s dinner, and I’m still wearing pajamas.

But if you’re on –

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Know when NOT to multitask!

Trying to complete two tasks that require high levels of mental attention at the same time means doing them both poorly. It takes intentionality to know when I can’t multitask. Sometimes, I have to block everything out and finish something, especially something time-sensitive or important.

The Daniel Tiger-esque rhyme I created is “do one thing until it’s done, then you’ll have more time for fun!”

When I decided to stop making myself crazy doing a little bit of a lot of things and chose to do a couple of things with my best attention, I learned to use intentional multitasking to stay on task, to prioritize my to-do list, know when to multitask & not to.

Now, my daughter gets more undivided attention with lots of stories, hugs, and kisses. Unrushed quality time just feels longer!

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Don’t Waste Your Wait! You might have a Divine Appointment

Are you open to a Divine Appointment or are you wasting your wait?

I have a confession to make.

I hate waiting! Like to a ridiculous degree. In my efficiency-minded, multi-tasking little head, waiting is wasted time. I could have been … cleaning, writing, homeschooling, etc. (read-at home in yoga pants!)

But I’ve let that mean that I’m always waiting to get ready until the last possible second, stressing everyone about getting out the door because I didn’t want to get places too early and waste MY time waiting. 

I didn’t see all the ways God could be using my waits.

Last fall, my husband convicted me about how this really affects everyone, and I realized my behavior wasn’t cute or flighty; it was sin. I was being selfish, and it was bad for me, for my family, for those waiting on me, for the drivers that share the road with me when I’m going too fast.

So much sin I needed to address in just one “little” area. But WHOSE time is it really?

Whose time is it anyway? Is MY time really mine? If I belong to God, isn't it all HIS time? Click To Tweet

Since then, I’ve been trying to do better about being intentional with my time and planning better.

Yesterday, instead of planning for my sweet-pea to be compliant and obedient, I planned for her to be six: to take two bites of breakfast and claim it was too cold, then she was full, then she couldn’t find her pants, and didn’t know which shoes matched her shirt. #MomLife

I built in an extra 30 minutes into our morning so we could stay purposeful and focused without raising my voice. It was worth getting up early for! 

Are you open to a Divine Appointment? or are you wasting your wait? Waiting is my least favorite thing, but God has shown me He has planned every step.

I was so excited I didn’t have to speed to get to my appointment on time. We took our time getting out of the parking garage. I practiced using the stairs to my appointment and still arrived almost 30 minutes early. 

I thought for sure we would get in and out quickly, being a fairly early in the day appointment and early for my appointment. But I brought a book I’ve been meaning to read and settled in to wait with a happy heart. 

My daughter went straight for the toy corner and started playing with the little boy she found there. 

They were playing nicely, so I opened my book to read. I would look up and smile at the mother as she was interacting with the kids, but I really wanted to read this parenting book. We’ve had some emotional challenges with my daughter and I want be informed.

I was resisting being social. I didn’t want to be unkind or unwelcoming, but I’ve been out a lot this week and my introvert was showing. So I kept making a friendly half-smile and going back to my book, but God had different plans.

Are you open to a Divine Appointment? or are you wasting your wait? Waiting is my least favorite thing, but God has shown me He has planned every step. FAITH | TRUST GOD

God had different plans for my wait.

As the wait grew longer, the children’s playing got more rambunctious. They needed some reminding to share and keep things beneath a dull roar. With both of us trying to redirect them, we began making eye contact, which lead to conversation. Turns out her son is homeschooled, in first grade, six almost seven, adopted, and struggling with the effects of a birth mother who struggled with substances.

It would be strangely coincidental if it weren’t for my belief in God’s plan for my every step.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

He had me right where I was supposed to be. He wanted me to meet this sweet Christian parent who is passionate about her children and homeschool and God. 

My wait wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t wasted!

We discussed curriculum and resources. We shared adoption stories and parenting concerns. We fellowshipped as mothers and Christians. 

Are you open to a Divine Appointment? or are you wasting your wait? Waiting is my least favorite thing, but God has shown me He has planned every step.
photo credit @shutterstock

God planned that meeting. And through doing so helped my daughter and I both make new friends, but also reminded me that when I am obedient in the small things, His will is clear and apparent. 

My wait wasn't wasted, it was a divine appointment orchestrated by God! Click To Tweet

My appointment was delayed by almost an hour. But I couldn’t be upset when I could see I had really had two appointments yesterday. The first just wasn’t in my calendar – Divine Appointment!

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How a Forest Fire Reminded Me of the Refiner’s Fire

Feeling a little lost, even abandoned by God in a tough season? I've been struggling with it, but a fire gave me eyes to see purpose in the Refiner's Fire.

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Fire is dangerous, destructive, scary. But the Bible promises us the Refiner’s fire has purpose in our lives, even when it feels like just a forest fire.

Have you been struggling through a difficult season? Feeling a little lost, maybe even abandoned by God? I know I have! Grasping at His truths and promises, but fighting fear has been my everyday for months.

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And in one quick, almost throw-away moment driving down the highway, God reminded me He’s working all things together for my good.

Thick black smoke rose from the dense Georgia pines enveloping our van as we drove past. Flickering orange-red tongues licked at the ground, steadily gaining territory in its battle for supremacy over the vegetation that crowded the forest floor.

My daughter gasped. Should we call 9-1-1?!

No, honey, it’s what’s called a ‘controlled burn.’ They do it on purpose. The foresters use the fire to clear the forest floor of weeds that are taking up the resources the trees need, giving the trees more water and nutrients.

The fire also burns away dead material leaving only the nutrient rich soil. The fire looks scary, but it is a necessary part of keeping the forest healthy.

Feeling a little lost, even abandoned by God in a tough season? I've been struggling with it, but a fire gave me eyes to see purpose in the Refiner's Fire.

I kept driving but I couldn’t stop thinking about the fire. Something in those flames and the controlled burn felt like God drawing my attention.

Don’t you see that is what I’ve been doing in your life? In a flash, God shared this intimate vision of how the Refiner’s fire of my injury had been working in my life.

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV) Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

This season of visiting disability has been terribly rough. I’ve tried to trust God’s promise that nothing is wasted in my life, but I’ve cried many tears of frustration and fear. But in the end, He always answers my prayers for a glimpse of what He’s doing.
I’ve seen God’s hand using this time in many ways despite the emotional and physical pain.

Before my injury, I had been struggling with feeling overwhelmed by my schedule. Between marriage, parenting, homeschool, church, my part-time job, and various activities, I couldn’t catch my breath.

Everything I was doing was important and worthwhile, but it was too much. I had felt God telling me to let some things go, but I didn’t know what, so I just kept holding onto it all.

Everything good isn't always what God has for us to do. The Refiner's fire refined my mission. Click To Tweet

As an extreme introvert, I need hours of silence before the noise of the world dims enough for me to hear the quiet voice inside my heart. I can’t write; I can’t find my center, feeling frazzled and discouraged. Some people can do so much more, but I can’t. And I’m realizing that’s okay.

I was missing my mission playing the comparison game.

I was looking to other women in the body of Christ and feeling there was a list of things I was supposed to be doing, while I should have been looking at Christ.

Before my hip replacement failed, I had prayed for God to help me find some rest. One of these days, I’ll learn to be careful what I pray for . . . 😉

I was missing MY mission playing the comparison game. But God gave my mission field only to me. Click To Tweet
The Refiner’s fire cleared away good things that weren’t God things

And gave me time to focus on my spiritual life, my marriage, my parenting, and being busy at home. I’d been so busy everywhere else, that I had nothing left for my home.

By clearing the forest floor of my life, the Refiner’s fire gave the most important things room to grow. I didn’t realize how much busy had been robbing us of joy.

But God did. And I miss my friends, but I don’t miss busy. I love having all day to focus on doing what’s best for my daughter’s education. I’ve seen her blossoming with our extended times at home. She needed the structure and attention.

 

I’ve seen my marriage grow leaps and bounds during this season. My husband has been beyond selfless in his care for me, which has just opened my heart to him in beautiful ways.

I’ve learned to give him more of me as well. Giving so much of my time and myself to everyone else had left him feeling left out and alone. We’ve learned to be friends again, laughing together, holding hands, falling in love all over again.

A fire might be temporarily painful for the forest, but what remains is stronger, and the new growth is lush and rich.

1 Peter 1:7 (ESV) So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I love how God used a forest fire to show me how affliction strengthens my faith, draws me closer, gentles my heart. His refining reminds me of His eternal plan for my life.
The Refiner’s fire is not finished with me yet, but I know that what it leaves is the freedom of being focused on being prepared for God’s kingdom.
 

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