I burned out on vacation because doesn’t it always happen this way? You find yourself sitting on the beach with your brother and sisters and their kids, crying to the sounds of Tom Petty crooning across the water.
Because you’ve lost yourself again, in the waves of social media. You’ve forgotten your status is not comprised of hashtags or a few well-worded statements; it’s not in the bestseller’s rank on Amazon or the mentions on Twitter. And it happened so fast—this losing of yourself, just after you’d found Jesus in the slums of Africa.
I came back from Uganda and Rwanda this January knowing without a doubt who I was: a vessel for God’s love to pour out into the lives of those who were suffering. I no longer cared about my color-coded life plan or my first-world problems. I fell on my face every chance I got praying to a God who’d seen what I’d seen: babies with swollen bellies, babies with no mothers or fathers or relatives, mothers holding dying children, shacks comprised of cardboard and leaking with every kind of fluid and the whole country, starving.
What else matters when people are starving to death? I knew without a doubt my role on this earth as a first-world resident was to help alleviate that suffering, and if I succeeded in doing that, even slightly, for some people before I died, that was enough.
But then I launched a couple of books and all of those thoughts which had no longer mattered—the worry over who I was in the eyes of my peers, the status I used to crave, the fame we all hunger for when our physical needs are satiated, the lack of latest styles in my closet, the shoes I didn’t have—all of these things began to creep back in and steal my joy, my purpose.
Until I found myself sitting on a beach crying to Tom Petty this summer. Convinced I would find myself again if I got a nose ring.
And then I read Galatians and I found this: “Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.” (5:16-18, The MSG)
We are free, friends. You, sister, are free, from what Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest tells you. We no longer need to live according to the culture around us. And it’s when culture begins to wrap its tentacles around us that we forget whose we are—Christ’s, set free by his extravagant love to do one thing: love others.
The gospel is really that simple—it’s us, being saved by love, so that we might express that same love to a dying world.
What does it matter if our towels don’t match or we don’t have a chalkboard declaring the menu for every upcoming meal? What does it matter if our dreams aren’t turning out the way we’d hoped, or we aren’t “trending” on Twitter? Someone’s mother is crying for fear of her child not living to see the next day—because in spite of working from sun-up to sun-down, she can’t even provide him a bowl of porridge.
Nothing else matters.
So, let’s love.
It’s in this love that we find rest.
Galatians says we do this by embracing what God arranges for us—by entering into what He is doing for us. (3: 11-12) It’s about Him and what He wants to do through us, versus about us and what we can do for Him.
Lean in, sister, and hear the whisper of an upside-down kingdom: one that begs you stop caring what the world says and start caring about what God thinks.
It’s the secret to resurrection life.
Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, book by Emily Wierenga
Nourishment for Living, by Jen Tormanen
Battling Negative Media Influences, video resource
This post was first published on Emily’s website: http://www.emilywierenga.com/social-media-wrecking/.