Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Social life used to mean block parties with neighbors; today it’s defined by how many people like your summer vacation photos. Friends used to chat over cups of coffee; now we chat in PM boxes. And your husband’s cousin’s hairdresser’s video of that cat in a bubble bath now qualifies as quality family recreation.
Whatever happened to bike rides and bocce ball?
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to get disgruntled with the constant influx of too much information—especially when everybody else’s highlight reel looks a heck of a lot better than your messy house and cranky kids. But. What if we could find the good in social media and not just focus on it, but add to it? Despite being a pitfall for comparison and discouragement, social media does have some merits. Where else in the world can people from across states and nations meet without the obstacles of travel and awkward personal introductions?
Like it or not, women everywhere reside on internet community platforms—and as Christian women, we have a tremendous opportunity to share God’s love within them.
Here are five ways we can do just that.
1. Post God’s words, not just your own. I’m not saying we need to preach or post nothing but Bible verses all day long, but we know God’s word will not return empty; it will achieve His purposes (Isaiah 55:11)—so why not spread it online where it can reach more people?
2. Write encouraging comments. We all face plenty of critics in this world, online or otherwise. Yet the Bible tells us to speak “only what is helpful for building others up” (Ephesians 4:29). Let’s be a voice of kindness and support—on social media as well as in person. One wise woman I know told me she prays for each person in her newsfeed as she reads their posts. Imagine how we could ignite a movement of prayer simply by lifting up our friends before we type replies.
3. Avoid sparring matches. Social media is a breeding ground for complaints without accountability. Think of how many times you’ve read (or even written) a comment that most people with any morsel of sensitivity wouldn’t actually say to another human being’s face. Let’s beware how we engage in online debates, and remember we represent Christ, who calls us to love one another.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” (2 Timothy 2:23)
4. Brag on your husband. Yes, I know, social media seems to be full of self-promotion and boasting. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I often encourage wives to speak well of their husbands in public, among friends and family—especially within earshot of the man—in order to build him up and demonstrate love and respect for their husbands and God. Social media is an excellent space to boost our men—and encourage other wives to catch on.
5. Be real. Many of us prefer to post our best pictures and happy family moments, which are certainly worth celebrating. But we all know real life includes plenty of outtakes and heartaches, too. Let’s be less concerned with portraying an image and more willing to embrace solidarity over the messy parts of our existence. One of my most engaging Facebook posts involved a photo of my living room disaster after a holiday. Friends replied with photos of their own piles of toys and papers and laundry baskets—and we all felt better knowing we were not alone.
Isn’t that the point of community, whether online, in person or otherwise? We are not doing life alone. We have each other, and where two or more are gathered, God is there. Let that be as true of social media as it is in our homes, our churches, our workplaces and our coffee shops.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)