Tooting Horns

“I love my husband so much! He is AMAZING!  Look what he bought me!” “I ran 25km, aren’t I AMAZING?” “My kids are the cutest. They are JUST AMAZING!” “I ate dinner at the best, most expensive, AMAZING restaurant.” “Look, I’m hanging out with someone famous. Amazing, right?” Spruikers are everywhere these days.

We promote our own “causes” now more than ever.  What we cook, what we wear, how we look, where we are on vacation, our politics. We post and pin.  Tumblr and Twitter, Google+ and WordPress.  Connected to circles and friends, we can be LinkedIn with anyone from anywhere in the world.  We Skype and we blog.  We “like” and we re-post.  We troll famous people and people we wish would follow us all in hope that someone will read our status update, look at our Instagram, comment on our newest post, and validate us in some way.

By the time we get up to speed on how to use one arena of social media, we find out we are behind on the next one that those on the cutting edge have already mastered.  But why?  Why the incessant need for approval and validation, oftentimes from perfect strangers or acquaintances?  We are on the computer or our mobile devices, checking in and checking out what everyone else is doing.  In some way, we feel connected, needed or better about ourselves.

Sometimes, though, it makes us feel worse.  Sometimes I see the party to which I wasn’t invited.  I see friends hanging out when I’m lonely.  I see quotes from people smarter than me.  I find out so-and-so is much more popular and “liked” than I ever will be.

Social media is the new “norm.”  It’s this generation’s way of communicating.  Bosses can vet their potential employees.  One can stay connected with her friends across the ocean if she moves away.  I’m encouraged by my favourite preacher and informed about upcoming events and promotions happening in my network. I like to share what I’m reading to encourage my friends.

You and I can also waste a lot of time.

I’m reminded of what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church while teaching them to have an answer for those who brag about having a “spectacular ministry” rather than a sincere heart.  Like anything else, too much of a good thing can take away its goodness.  For goodness’ sake, PLEASE don’t tweet all day long.  Have a genuine phone call with a friend.  Read a book start to finish, not just the Cliff’s Notes online.  Teach your kids to find their self-worth in who God created them to be, not in who re-pins their cool outfit or “likes” their provocative picture on FB.

I have to wonder how sincere our society has become when everything we see is someone else’s highlight reel.  I like to brag about how beautiful my city is (click here) and how precious my kids are.

But I know that I have bad days too.

My kids are bratty sometimes.  Runkeeper doesn’t post to Twitter every time I skip a run or overeat.  I have friends I only see on FB which gives me a chance to stay connected and see their kids grow up.  I have people I admire on Twitter who inspire me.  I look at your pictures on Instagram to enjoy what you find beautiful.  I roll my eyes when you complain.  I un-follow you when you have too many personal conversations and force me to read them.  I Pin recipes and that’s about it.

There’s no harm in connecting on social media; in fact, I think we will be left behind if we don’t.  But let us use our time, our voices, and our talents to encourage one another and have sincerity of heart as we brag about our AMAZING, spectacular lives God has given us!

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