How Social Media Connects Us.
By: Megan Gover
Social media *typically* gets a bad rap. However, by placing healthy boundaries around why we use these platforms, as well as our usage of them, we can see social media for what it can be--a light in our dark world!
Let’s look at three ways social media can be used lightly, to shine hope, and be a light to others.
Life is hard. Stress from school piles up. Work worries us. Friends and boyfriends make our feelings go haywire. Add in a whopping case of anxiety/depression and major headlines, and one could go mad! Laughter bonds us together with friends in real-life. And social media can have the same mentality, lightening the load off of our proverbial plate.
What do you laugh at the most on social media? I love receiving gifs of clips from my favorite TV shows in text messages or watching videos on Youtube of people on those catapult rides where they pass out. And I equally love seeing self-deprecating pictures my friends post of themselves and other friends.
Social media can instantly turn a bad day around with the help of a short video, post, or tweet. (And the same can be opposite, as well!) As believers, we must know God is a God of joy. But, He's also a God of happy. Throughout Scripture, we find God laughing. He authored humor and wit into existence. We honor the Lord when our humor, not crass or crude or un-Christlike, makes others smile. We mirror God when we help lighten their burden, if even for a moment.
As James finishes his book of the Bible, he writes about how we live out our faith in all sorts of different situations. I love what he said in chapter five, verse thirteen: "Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise." So, the next time something on social media makes you happy, laugh, or smile, praise God for being a God who lightens our burdens.
It lets us know we are not alone.
"What's your enneagram number?" One of the most popular trends on social media right now is focused on the Enneagram. The Enneagram is a century-old test helping people understand their motives behind their actions. It's not a personality test, but rather a more in-depth look behind how a person thinks, believes, and is motivated. There are nine types found in the Enneagram--each with distinct strengths and qualities.
Social media has catapulted this information, making it relevant through pop culture. As a result, we relate with characters we love and know, therefore understanding ourselves and loving ourselves more.
On another level, we also see hard issues and support come to light--bonding uniquely. GoFundMe pages help cover stranger's medical costs from a tragic accident. Believers come together to pray over families in tight situations around the world. Conversations about hot topics help everyone navigate sticky situations in our culture. In a world, where most of us experience anxiety and loneliness, social media is a sweet way to know we are not alone.
When seeing my Enneagram number poked at playfully, I always think: "I'm not alone in this!" Other people can relate to the way my brain thinks, and my heart feels. It comforts me to know other people in this world see life from a similar perspective.
Paul starts out his second letter to the Corinthian church by saying: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ." [2 Corinthians 1:3-5]
We mirror the very heart of God when we use the comfort He's given us--big or small--to comfort those around us.
It's another place to make the hope of the Cross present.
Last but not least, social media is a tool to make the Gospel known. Think about all the friends who follow you from school, work, or church. We have more friends on social media than we have the bandwidth to minister to in real-life. However, social media is a way to share the love of Christ easily.
You can write a spiritual encouragement from your quiet time, but it doesn't have to look that way. It can be as simple as encouraging a friend through a dm or commenting a compliment on someone's photo. Or reaching out through text if a friend posts something sad.
But, it also serves as a simple way to share what you believe. Instead of writing a witty or pun-filled caption for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, write a short reason why you are celebrating that day. Is it for the Cross? For the blessings--spiritually and physically--Christ has given you? For the birth of the Savior, who came to save you from your sins?
Romans 10:13-15 is very clear: "'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"
Declaring the Gospel on the interwebs doesn't check the discipleship box off. It is not meant to take the place of telling others about Jesus, teaching them about who Jesus is. However, it can be an engaging way to bring light to others' darkness. We are called to deliver the Gospel--and social media is one of those ways.
Overall, social media is fun. Social media is inviting. Social media is a tool to make Christ known. So, let's begin to use social media as a beacon of hope and a vessel of light to this broken world!