For a long time, I was very disciplined with my blog. I tried to post at least once every 2 or 3 days. I had a list of post ideas I kept with me as insights would come to me and any time I had writer’s block, I’d hit the list and have a new post. But about six weeks ago, I began to get really busy here at the office. Those of you in church work know there is an ebb and flow and sometimes there is not much going on, and other times it seems that every organization within the church is having an event on the same day. And the storm hit…
I was working on too many projects and was trying to delegate as much as I could, but there was still a lot that was expected of me. And so any free time given to meditation or blogging was dashed on the rocks of busyness. And before I knew it, I became cynical. I would read twitter posts of nifty little cliches that we all tell ourselves and would just want to roll my eyes. I would read posts from people whose posts are only about God, Jesus, or the Bible, and would think, “Is that what your life is really like?” I almost unfollowed several feeds that really post some great content, just because I didn’t have the time or energy to process it.
I had never felt real, true pain or heartache until I went through my divorce in 2001. And when that happened, it wasn’t Christian T-shirt catch phrases that got me through-it was the love of a God who cared enough to die for me. And so when my life gets busy or frustrating, I’m not really edified by things like “If God is your co-pilot, change seats”, or “A Bible that’s worn out indicates a life that isn’t”, or any other statement people might want to put on their church signs to repel people from attending their church.
1. Be yourself. Don’t be so concerned with your personal brand that you lose your identity. If all you ever think about is God and scripture, by all means, flood my feed with never-ending thoughts of God. But if you live like I do and have a life that’s filled with a job, a to-do list, kids’ softball games, report cards, and unexpected medical bills, it’s okay to show your non-spiritual side as well. The other day I saw Dave Ramsey (@daveramsey) post “Go Predators” when the Nashville Predators hockey team was in the playoffs. Even a guy whose name is synonymous with stewardship and fiscal responsibility has a life outside of money management. I thought that was really cool.
2. Share stories and testimonies, not just catch phrases. There were no Christian T-shirts, bumper stickers, or Facebook feeds in the book of Acts. If there had been, maybe the early disciples would have been tempted to wear their faith on their shirt instead of telling people about the message of Christ. I am not saying these things are bad, but they can only really serve one purpose. If our life is not consistent with these messages, these things make us look hypocritical. If our life is consistent with these messages, then the message we want to communicate has already been expressed through our lives. But if God has truly done something in your life, share it and tell the story, don’t summarize it with a bumper sticker and hope we get the point. When Osama Bin Laden was killed, everyone had a 140-character opinion that in it’s own right was self-righteous. Some said “Hooray he’s dead” while others called those people bloodthirsty who wanted him dead. Sometimes things can’t be summed up in a post. Life is not always 140 characters.
3. Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Now, I’m not saying air out all your dirty laundry for all the world to see. But I serve a God of redemption and second chances. If God has brought you through a nasty divorce and you came out standing on the other side, then praise him for it. Don’t be ashamed of it. This applies to our social media as well as to our offline lives. Life and faith are messy things. And if your life is a cake walk, who are you to help me through my struggles? God celebrates the messy. Those horrible situations where there is a glimmer of hope or a small miracle-those are the places where God is. God was with Jonah in the belly of the great fish. God was with a pregnant virgin who faced public disgrace. God was with Paul and Silas in prison. God was with Noah in a dirty, smelly, boat full of animals with dietary and biological needs. God is in the messy stuff!
As for me, I seem to have my head above water again and life is going back to a sense of normalcy. So I’m slowly seeing some of my cynicism fade away. And that’s a good thing. So what about you? How do you feel about about those who seem to ooze all things spiritual yet you feel their lives can not possibly that rich? Or is their such thing as being “too spiritual” on Facebook or Twitter? Are you a cynic at times like I am? How do you feel?