Well-Watered Women: Part 8, Share The Word
My heart is excited and expectant about today's "Well-Watered Women" post! This is now the 8th post in our series of digging into how we can live life intentionally for God's glory through knowing His Word, studying it, and living it out in our day-to-day lives! You can catch up on the series by clicking here! Today's topic will cover one specific way that we can share the Word - through filling our social media feeds with truth. God is doing a new thing, and I want to be a part of it! I pray you will join me in living life beautifully for the glory of God!
The Call To Different
Last January, I almost quit Instagram.
Every time I opened it up to browse, my heart was left restless, discouraged, and confused. What did I do with my time? What did I put out there that really impacted someone? I was following so many creatives trying to find inspiration, but instead I felt completely without vision and confused as to what God was calling me to do. My conclusion on how to deal with this heart struggle? Quit. Delete it off my phone and walk away. The struggle seemed too much, and to be honest, it seemed so silly to struggle with social media in such a strong way. But that is just what Satan wants us to do. He want us to question, to struggle, and to quit. He doesn’t want us to swim through the waters of insecurity to find Jesus’ hand, ready and able to pull us out. Quit, he whispers. And often we listen. But by God’s grace, I heard another voice that was louder than the tempting whispers of Satan.
Do something different was what I heard from the Lord. God challenged me in a very real way not to leave an amazing area of influence that could be used for His glory because of insecurities. Share the gospel, bring light to the darkness…do something different. The challenge seemed a bit much and a bit too, well, different. How was I supposed to use social media for God’s glory? How was I to use it as a tool instead of be controlled by it? What would other people think if I started sharing my faith through Instagram? All of these thoughts collided in my head, but this challenge from the Lord won - Why not?
Life is so short, and the gospel is so good.Why would we not share? Jesus told us in Matthew 28 to go and share the good news with all people and all nations. I believe in every way that He uses social media to do this in a way we could have never dreamed. Social media is an area that the nations meet each day. Christ doesn’t just call some believers to move overseas and live full-time sharing their faith, He calls us ALL to share, whether that be in our immediate surroundings or in an international context. The question is, how are those who are called to stay to carry out the incredible calling to go? The answer is simple - share our faith through whatever avenues God has given, whether it be at school, online, at your job or in your neighborhood. The internet is a mission field that we all can use to share the gospel! The mission is clear, the message is urgent, and the opportunity is there.
At that crossroads last January, I decided to take the question “Why not?” and make it into reality. I started sharing, and God started watering. But first, in order for Him to water, I had to redefine my clicks and my purpose to use Instagram for the fame of Jesus and not the fame of Gretchen.
Redefining Your Clicks
You are just a click away from entering a new world totally different from the one in front of you. Social media has become more than an outlet in our culture. For some, it is an addiction. For others, it is a platform. And for others, it is a ministry, a connecting point, a community, and even a opportunity to share with others around the world. At it’s core, social media has become a place of worship - an altar that we bow down to without even realizing it. We can either worship through social media, or we can worship social media itself. My heartbeat and challenge through this post is that we would flip our worship upside down. That we would begin using avenues like Instagram to worship God and not ourselves or others. I believe that social media is something that is here to stay and we can either be ruled by it, or we can be blessed by it. The choice is yours. Which direction will you take?
In a sense, social media was created to worship ourselves. Every person with a profile has “followers” and when they post a picture they get “likes.” If I were to ask for a raise of hands as to who has had their day made or been discouraged due to the amount of likes they received, I believe almost everyone would raise their hand right now. We are a “like”-driven culture. We double tap often before we think. It has become a reflex. It is all too easy to fall into the desire to want more likes and more followers. We need to redefine our view on these two aspects of Instagram. My friend Taylor wrote a blog post recently titled "Stop Making Fun of Christian Girl Instagrams." Within a week, her post had over 1,000 shares. I love this statement she made, "Our newsfeeds can either be filled with meaningless images and captions or they can be filled with words of life."
By the grace of God, we can fight the desire to make our social media feeds a place of worshipping ourselves and can instead turn them into alters of worship to our great God! As the following of LLB has grown, the Lord has had me continually redefine how I view followers, likes, and growth.
Every like or follower is a praise to God. A praise that someone read and was reminded of His love. A worshipful number that points to a limitless Lord. A heartfelt push of the thumb to give praise to Jesus. The words are not mine and the response is not my responsibility. The obedience to write, to share, to pray, and to worship is. The results are God’s, the glory is God’s, and the joy is all mine. Praise be to God for the gift of every follower who represents someone following hard after Jesus! Without Him, without Jesus, there would be no Life Lived Beautifully. He is at the center of this business and the driving force behind every post on Instagram. The smaller and smaller I become, the bigger and bigger I realize He is!
In order to be free, we must redefine our profiles and redefine our reasons for posting, for liking, for following, and for sharing.
Share For His Glory
Only the Lord knows our hearts. He alone sees what is in the junk drawers that no one else has access to. Therefore, He alone knows why we post what we post. Even on our best days, we can post something with the wrong motives. It reminds me of Paul's struggle against the flesh that he expresses in Romans 7:15-20. Our struggle is a byproduct of living in a fallen world. But one of the greatest pictures of God’s grace is that He can still use us for His glory! He can turn something posted with wrong intentions into an opportunity to speak truth and to make us more like Christ. Even in the world of “Christian Instagram’s," we can post for selfish reasons. Each day we have to lay down our desire for our names to be lifted high to hold the banner that lifts high the name of Jesus!
Below are a few questions I continually ask myself when posting on social media, as well as a list of challenges. Ask the Holy Spirit to clear out the clutter in the junk drawers of your heart so that all that is left is Christ alone.
- Who do you follow? There are at least nine accounts in the gospels where Jesus says clearly “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19, Matthew 16:24, Mark 1:17, Mark 10:21, Luke 5:27, Luke 9:23, John 1:43, John 21:29) Daily, I have to ask myself, who I am following and why? First, the answer must be Jesus. There is no one greater and more deserving of affection and follow-ship other than Jesus. Second, the people we follow after Jesus should point us to Him. I seek to fill my Instagram feed with women who speak words of life! Along with the question “who do you follow” comes a challenge - unfollow. Unfollowing is healthy aspect of life. Often, we just have too much clutter in our minds, our hearts, and our feeds. Unfollow those who do not encourage you. Unfollow any extra feeds that just might take up precious space in your mind. It is better to follow less and just follow a few who produce more fruit! Unfollow so you might follow the One and Only more fully and more attentively.
- Why do you post? Do you post for likes and followers? Do you post for comments and affirmation? I love the idea of hashtags creating community. I have seen God develop an incredible community through hashtags that I use with LLB and other ones that I search! But I also know hashtags can be a way of self-promotion. Only you and the Lord know why you post the images and words you choose. My prayer is that I would post out of the overflow of my walk with the Lord and that the words would be spirit-filled. Words matter.James 3 tells us that words have the power to bring life and death. When words are coupled with pictures, they have a beautiful opportunity to not only speak life, but to illustrate it as well! Speak words of life, whether through posting or commenting!
- Why do people follow you? Whether you have 1 follower or 1,000 followers, there is a reason people have clicked the “follow” button. What kind of messages do you send through your feed? What message do you feel God calling you to proclaim? This does not mean that every picture has to be of your Bible. However, the fruit of our spiritual walks should match our feeds. Even everyday life can be a beautiful reflection of a life that is lived intentionally for the glory of God.
A Gospel-Centered Challenge
- Be vulnerable for the fame of Jesus. Sharing your faith, whether in person or online is hard. But it is commanded in Scripture and it is the most valuable thing you could do! The gospel is life-changing! Sharing your story of salvation and what God is doing in your life is an incredible way for God to open the eyes of others. But it takes being vulnerable and trusting God to use your story and your life for His glory.
- Don’t glorify the mess or the perfect. Share the truth. One interesting aspect about Instagram is that it is driven by pictures, whereas Twitter is driven by a set number of words. There is a balance between glorifying the mess of our lives as well as the danger of portraying perfection. We all have dirty laundry and dirty dishes. Instagram can be an avenue to share life and gospel truth through intentional pictures.
- Use your words. Romans 10:14,17 says "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." We need to speak truth and share the gospel using our words and our testimonies so that others will hear and believe in Him.
- Build community and be a part of community. Community is vital to the believer. First, you need community in your everyday life through your church and your family. But I also believe that God is weaving together His body through social media as a way to encourage each other!
- Take regular breaks from social media. Designate specific times that social media is off limits (i.e. at bedtime and before your quiet time). Regularly take time away to refresh and refocus, whether this be a weekend, or a week.
- Post from the overflow - Don’t revolve your days around what you will post. Live life and post from the overflow of the overflow of your walk with jesus.
- Have accountability- I have my husband read what I post before I post it. It is always a good thing to have accountability in our lives, even in the realm of social media.
- Post for depth, not for breadth - I recently heard this quote by Dannah Gresh - "You worry about the depth of your ministry and let God take care of the breadth." I cannot get it out of my head and have been living from that ever since!
- Speak life.
We need more Christian women who are recklessly abandoned to the cause of Christ to post with wisdom, discretion, and boldness.Not so our names would be made great, but so His would be spread across the nations. We need to lay down our flag poles that hold our name high and hold high the name of Jesus. We need more women who not only post truth, but live it out in the day-to-day, behind closed doors, in the secret moments with the Lord that no one else will see.
The gospel is contagious. It is hope for the hopeless, peace for the restless, joy for the broken, and strength for the weary! We all have been hopeless, restless, broken, and weary when we have pulled up social media in our day. What an amazing thing it is to be met with the life of the gospel in the midst of our daily mess? God is capable of using ALL things to bring glory to His name, even Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. And I believe that He is doing something new as we come to Him willing, ready, and open to be used by Him.
Last year, I wrote a blog post called "Instagram For The Fame of Jesus." In it, I shared the list of rules/boundaries I use to post on social media for freedom. I made a 5 x 3 notecard that you can use to create your own list or to keep in your planner as a reminder - Instagram Freedom.
Will you join me in sharing for His glory?