Craig Groschel spoke at Gateway this Sunday. I’m always entertained while being challenged when he speaks. This past message? On his new book #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-Centered World. He spoke much on authenticity and how in our social media/selfie-centered world we are so set on being “Filtered” that it’s hard to be real with others. Hmmm, that was good. I think that can resonate with most of us.
Of course as I listened, there were several Facebook friends that came to mind (who won’t be named) who I KNOW have overwhelming challenges and make well, not the best choices, and yet on Facebook they look like everything is wonderful and blissful and perfect. We all can immediately name 2 to 3 people on our own Facebook friend list who silently cry “Oh I wish my real life was as great as my life on Facebook!” BUT there is something for ME in Craig Groeschel’s message. Something for all of us. Perhaps something different or on different levels. We are in a different culture than we were 10, 20, 30 years ago.
I felt good when I left church as I pondered the message in regards to my own online world. I don’t feel different than the person I portray. I don’t like taking my picture because frankly I’m not the most photogenic. You know those people who no matter how they look they’re always managing to look fabulous in photos, even without any “touch up”? Well that’s not me. So I delete a lot of bad pictures on my phone and post whenever I get lucky with a “good one”. Facetime? Ugh that’s another matter. My husband’s a pilot who travels a lot. He likes to Facetime. Ugh, painful. I can only handle short bits—because when you chat at the end of the day there’s no good lighting or energy for makeup refresh. It’s how you look slouched on the couch and frankly I find it hard to view myself in the top corner of my phone. Wow then, I guess it is about me on Facetime—if I can’t handle how I look at the moment, my husband is stuck with voice to voice (but why would he want to see me looking bad anyway….hello??).
My challenge today? Listen to Craig’s message (or buy his latest book and dive into the topic). And go over your own online persona. Take an honest look at all your own social media and see if you feel authentic or phony. Ask God to help you become the authentic, real person you were born to be. If you truly want to connect with others—to find LOVE not “likes”—then be willing to risk being real. That doesn’t mean you don’t use discretion. We should be editing what we say and write offline as well as online. I’ve always said there’s a difference between honesty and advertising. But there really are people out there who match their online life. Challenge yourself to begin today to be the same person online that you are offline. Besides, God loves the offline you. Isn’t it time you did as well? (Scripture for day Psalm 139)