ChristianPerspectiveSM

We all have our reasons for being on social media.  For some it may be a way to connect with family and friends that are long distance, for others it might be the social networking for business, or maybe your kids are on social media, so you feel the need to be. I share in our personal testimony below why we are on social media, but from the beginning Isaac and I set out on a mission to be intentional about our posts, to be a light that shines for the Lord.
In this post I intend to share with you four things: Eight Essential Social Media Boundaries to Set, Our Personal Story, and My Personal Mission Statement for Engagement and Participation on Social Media, Objectives I am Choosing to Focus on in 2015 and a FREE Social Media Missions Statement Questionnaire to help you create your own.

Whether you are a writer or not, if you are on social media, you have an opportunity to speak life into others lives. May I exhort you as a sister for a moment. When you take offense to something someone posts, take a moment and see if your response would be edifying or if you are selfishly wanting to push your opinion or conviction?
I have a few very dear friends who also blog, and one of the most concerning things to me is when I see them discouraged and wanting to give up because someone takes what they say wrong and blows it into something else entirely. This has happened to me as well and I know first hand how it feels. It makes you want to delete your account. We are in a battle, and as sisters in Christ, or even just humanity, we should edify one another or at least have the respect for one another to pray before we write, to ask questions, and be open to the possibility that we could be making an incorrect judgement. So as a social media user, can you commit to me, in the comments to this challenge: I challenge myself and you, to stop, be slow to speak, slow to become angry, slow to push publish, and also show the other person enough respect to go to them privately. In Matthew 18, the first approach we are taught to take in conflict is to go directly to our brother/sister… and I don’t believe that is meant to be in public. Amen?

I pray you make it to the end of this article to join me in prayer as we are all apart of the first generation to be learning the power and influence of social media and what that means.

Eight Essential Social Media Boundaries: {Click2 Tweet}

Setting boundaries to protect yourself from the temptations of your heart is wise. Not everyone struggles with the same temptation to sin. Ask yourself what your greatest temptation is online, make a boundary, and find someone to hold you accountable.

  • One thing I have done to minimize the temptation is limit my time on Facebook. Connecting with friends could quickly become an addiction for a stay at home mom. In my younger years as a mom, like when I had my first baby, I think if Facebook existed I would have really struggled with getting focused in my home. There is an illusion of community because you can chat. In my opinion, Facebook community can become addicting because it doesn’t quench the souls yearning for authentic real life relationships. My personal temptation for sin on Facebook use to be the temptation to judge, which I share later in my testimony below. But regardless of the sin you are tempted into, setting boundaries can be very healthy in purposefully protecting your heart. Early on in our Facebook using experience chose only one day per week when I will spend a little time visiting friend’s actual Facebook walls/pages. That’s right, I don’t go to my newsfeed with exception of once a week. So if you see me comment on something, it’s because I genuinely wonder how you are, what you are up to and want to reach out and encourage you. :) Endless scrolling, leaves open opportunity for idle chatting and wasting time.
  • Accountability & Authority: If you haven’t yet read the post on Social Media Accountability in Marriage. I really suggest you take the time to do so. There have been situations where I wasn’t 100% confident in posting something. This is where having the support and accountability of your spouse is so critical, and if not your spouse, an accountability partner. Pray about whether this would be edifying for your marriage or not, and if not, find a mentor or a sister in the Lord to put yourself under her authority. This is one thing I have been faithful about when I write here, to have someone I trust look over my writing and give me feedback before I push publish. God placed people in positions of authority for our protection, for our accountability. I know that personally speaking, I need authority in my life, to hold me accountable and at times rebuke me. If you don’t have any authority in your life, I would urge you to find some. If you have a hard time being led by someone, the sin you might be struggling with is pride. I am very careful to make certain that the people that I take advice from are under authority, they have accountability set up in their life too.
  • Safeguard Against Idols: Be careful not to allow social media, blogging, speaking, ministry, your education, your opinion, or ________ to become an idol in your life. If you haven’t yet read Is Your Platform {or Pulpit} an Idol I share how I gave up an addiction to ministry out of a heart to keep my first priorities first. I wrote this post about 3 years ago after going to my first blogging conference and feeling very overwhelmed by the pressure to post 3 -5 times per week, etc… I realized very quickly that I needed to protect my heart from potential pitfalls and communicated this fear with a few like-minded friends who also wrote. Together we shared that we didn’t want to let this ministry from our kitchen table take over our real missions in our homes. Finding those sisters in the Lord, has made all the difference, because frankly we all need encouragement and struggle with comparing ourselves to others, no matter who we are or what the size of our platforms. The enemy is out for the prowl and ready to attack, and he will in the most heart pricking sly, subtle and sneaky ways. I chose a while ago to not let man dictate my writing, but to give it to the Lord. For me, not everyone, that means committing to writing and pushing publish only when I feel the Lord prompting me. It’s not about the quantity of content I get out, but about the listening to the Spirit and being willing to be used by Him.
  • Literally set specific times during the day when you are online. One thing I had appreciated most about online ministry is that you can respond and engage when it is on your time. But this takes discipline. Just like getting into the Bible and spending time in prayer takes discipline, so does it take discipline to say no to online social media. I am personally very motivated by time efficiency. I don’t have much time to spare, so I am very intentional about the time I spend online. I find a time when I won’t be interrupted by my kids so I can just get it done. Often times for me that means taking time after the kids are in bed to write here and setting aside just a couple days, within specific times when I schedule posts and will try my best to engage as people connect.
  • Recognize nothing compares to real life community. One thing that scares me, is that many people have been deceived in thinking that online friendships can actually fulfill what real life friendships and community where meant to. The truth is that, even though you might connect on a spiritually deeper level with that other writer, who gets you, she isn’t going to be bringing you a meal when you are sick, and you aren’t going to be sitting on her sofa praying with her when she is dealing with real sin issues. Many people think that because they connect with people online that they have real friends. Let me exhort you friends, that this is NOT so. This is a lie from the enemy. You need to be in authentic community. And the church, the body of Christ needs you to be as well. We all have been given spiritual gifts that were meant for the edification of the body of Christ. I can not urge you enough to be in real life relationships with people in your community. Don’t let social media or online relationships distract you from the great blessing there is to be found in real life.
  • Not All Things Are Meant to Be Shared on Social Media. I love how Set Apart Girl shares that there are certain things that are not meant to be shared online. Some things are meant to be pondered. Most people desire to be known, to have others validate or justify their opinions and beliefs. But this is actually a symptom of a person who doesn’t have real life community. If you didn’t click the link earlier, here it is again.  She writes it so well, I encourage you to simply head over and read her short article.
  • Seek to Edify, Not to Make a Point or Throw Someone Under the Bus. I always ask myself before posting, how is this going to make ____ kind of person feel? Our motivation for posting on social media, as an ambassador of Christ, should be to brand Jesus well. He would not gossip, stir conflict or division among the church, but would seek to edify to lead others to live more holy. Pray for God to give you a heart of compassion, sensitivity for others who are struggling through trials.
  • Set Aside Seasons for Refreshment. When Jesus was walking on earth, doing ministry, he modeled for us what it looked like to stop and refresh in communion with the Father. We need to make sure that we have regular time being refreshed in His word, in prayer, and in communion with Him for our personal growth. You cannot give what you do not have. Setting aside either a season for a sabbatical from social media, to be refreshed and renewed, or taking a couple days off regularly are healthy disciplines. If we do not pace ourselves, we will hit burn out.
    Exercising Self-Control onI want to leave you with a brief quote to reflect on from a very well written article I found when I was in the midst of writing this letter to you. It is written by Set Apart Girl, in her article entitled “How Often Do We Miss His Heavenly Agenda For Our Day Because of Wasting Countless Hours on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.”

    She writes, Facebook walls and comments, twitter, and even personal blogs are often breeding grounds for idle chatter, fruitless words, frivolous notes, showing off of wit and personality, and exalting our own thoughts and opinions instead of God’s thoughts and opinions.

    My heart has never been to create idle chatter, if anything at all, my mission is the opposite. Because my heart is to edify, but also to keep my first jurisdictions in check, most of the time, I only have time for a quick Facebook post or tweet. Creating images for blog posts is not my forte, plus it is time consuming. However, my goal is to be a blessing to you.

Our Personal Story:

There was a time about 4 years ago when Isaac and I had a deep conviction about not participating on social media.  We were concerned about the potential addiction that seemed to tempt other people. From the outside looking in, it seemed to be a fake world that was simply put, a waste of time.

I began blogging back in 2006, but had absolutely no acquaintance or awareness of the blogging world or social media. Then in the fall of 2011 my husband and I had a branding expert look over our business and he advised us to join the movement. He urged us that we were, in his opinion, committing business suicide by not being on social media. It became very apparent that Facebook was not going to be just a fad, and that Twitter was not a trend, but that this social networking was in fact becoming a part of the world in a very real way. We had a choice to make. We could either stand firm in our first conviction to not engage, or we could embrace the reality of the coming generations , be intentional, and set boundaries.

Starting out with baby steps, we joined the dominating Facebook together, with the heart to exercise Social Media Accountability within our Marriage.   The first few weeks on Facebook, were interesting to say the least. I found myself struggling with judgementalism and feeling a sense of betrayal from those who acted differently with me than what was portrayed on Facebook. My heart often ached as I scrolled through my newsfeed, witnessing people arguing or even attacking one another for their beliefs. The people pleaser in me wanted to delete my account in fear of stirring controversy just by living my life. Let’s face it everyone has an opinion about everything these days. Just posting a picture with my brood could create controversy in a world that preaches that children are a burden, rather than a blessing.

Then my husband once again led me with vision. Let’s be a light. 

I have been wanting to share with you all my purpose on social media–my mission. I want to share with you why I have an author page and a community page for Redeeming Childbirth in addition to my personal page, and why I feel more comfortable posting from my heart on those pages. I want to share with you what to expect from me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter and WHY.

Click on the image to Pin with Me!

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Click on the Image to Journey with me on Instagram!

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My Personal Mission Statement for Social Media Engagement and Participation:

Commitment to the Lord: I am aware, that as a proclaimed Christ-follower, I am an ambassador of Christ. {Eph. 6:20; 2 Cor. 5:20-21; 1 Cor. 11:1} My actions, which are reflected in images, and the tone as well as the content of written words I share all reflect upon how others view my Lord. I am a confessed sinner, born again and made a new creation in Christ Jesus my Savior; therefore, I live free from the burden of perfection seeking. I commit to do my best at representing Jesus and take responsibility for exercising my influence for His glory and not my own.

My Mission in all Social Media is ultimately to point others towards Christ, to bring His name glory, to use the gifts and talents the Lord has given me to edify, exhort, and encourage the Body of Christ, and to actively participate in the Great Commission through proclaiming His word.

Six Objectives to Focus On: {Click2Tweet}

  • To clearly indicate what is my opinion. I recognize that in all that we write there is an element of opinion, inspiration or perspective as molded by our world view.
  • Commit to surrendering my agendas and opinions before God’s throne.  I commit to my readers, to do my diligence in separating what is my opinion from what is His truth in a clear manner.
  • Not to add to the noise, which already exists. We live in the Age of Information and my deepest struggle and concern is adding to all the noise that is already in existence. Noise distracts us from God, from our relationship with Him, and my heart is to, in some way, encourage you and lead you to Jesus. I pray that after reading a post from me, you would be prompted to close down the computer and open your Bible and pray. I pray that you would be led into prayer with the Father as we redeem social media together, joining together in spontaneous prayer. I do not want to distract you from God, but rather live out what my name means, which is Messenger of God, Bringer of Light and Truth. 
  • To fear God, not man. What is posted is an overflow of what the Lord teaches me through living life in reflection of God’s sufficient Word. By inviting you to join me on social media, I am in a small way inviting you to see into part of my soul. After all that is what community prayer is: a glimpse into the soul of the believer. What God is whispering to me to share with you, and sometimes what He burdens upon me to pray for {even in the middle of the night}. When I post an image, please know that I am sharing part of our life in hope that it sets an example of Christ’s work in our life. Anything good I have to share is not because of my works, but the work Christ has done in me {and my family}. When I share the struggles we have walked through as a family, or a married couple, or as a mom, know that it is for the purpose of wanting to redeem the ugliness of my life and to allow the Lord to bring beauty from those ashes. My heart is never to brag, or impress you. But I often worry what others will think. I worry that they judge my heart intentions. And in my sin, I confess, I have aloud this fear to prevent me from sharing things I know God was clearly prompting me to share.
  • To model and teach my children responsible online use and intentionality. My husband and I are very verbal about teaching our children the concept of being a light wherever you go, being a missionary wherever you are. Social Media is no exception. I want my kids to know what it is that I am doing when I am online. It is another form of accountability in the sense that if it wouldn’t be ok for them, it shouldn’t be ok for me. The reality is that with the online learning industry currently experiencing unparalleled growth, some of our children might be working from a computer. Because of that reality, I need to model for them being intentional, talking with them about the WHY behind everything, every post, every prayer etc… I love it when my kids join me in praying for families who reach out in need of prayer. That is when the ministry becomes generational.
  • To virtually mentor sisters, who are looking for encouragement and guidance as to how the gospel is lived out in our everyday lives. My heart in sharing some of what our life is like through instragram or Facebook, is again, not to brag, but to mentor you virtually as you watch from afar. My prayer is that regardless of our humanity, you would be inspired to think out of the box of your experience or expectations of yourself. If you are running yourself ragged trying to keep up with Mrs.Jones, I would ask you to evaluate if you should be on social media at all. We are NOT to compare, or to put others on pedestals. The only one that deserves a pedestal is Christ. I am an ordinary wife and mom, just like you. I struggle in many things, just like you. I do dishes, clean up after sick kids, pray over children at night, fall asleep from complete exhaustion when my husband wants my attention… just like you. I don’t have a perfect marriage or family. However, I am very familiar with the Titus 2 call for the older women to teach the younger women. Which is why I began the Redeeming Childbirth page: to disciple women through the childbearing season and offer encouragement in the Lord to seek His unique path for them and their journey toward motherhood. Pregnancy and Childbirth ARE the bootcamp for the Lifelong Labor of Motherhood. My heart is that these young women would begin the journey mindful of and reflecting upon what God is teaching them along the way. 

    “They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5
    Recognizing I am an older woman has taken some getting use to, but my teenagers keep reminding me that I am more than qualified. lol

THE BEST VIEW-3Click the image to download your FREE Mission Statement Questionnaire PDF!

Common Questions

Why do I have so many Facebook pages? I have a personal Facebook page because it is required in order to have the others. My personal page is where I am connected to all of our family, which all happen to be long distance {even international} and old acquaintances. I don’t post there nearly as frequently. When I do post, it is always with a purpose behind it. Whether that be to update family with an image, or teach, exhort, or encourage like-minded friends. But since the launch of my first book, Redeeming Childbirth, that has also become a place for me to meet other like-minded believers and encourage one another in our online ministries and businesses. It is through my personal profile that I run, contribute, and learn from  different private groups, such as the Private Redeeming Childbirth Mentoring Group, a Christian Homemaking Community, and other Blog/Website Related Mastermind groups.

The Hardship I Face on My Personal Facebook Page & a Prayer Request: I feel compelled to share with you that because I have many non-Christian contacts in my personal network, I feel restricted in what I can share there. Out of a desire to not stir or engage in controversial quarrels or debates, there are many things I don’t share there. I am confident that my call in this noisy world is to try to redeem social media and be intentional about sharing what is on my heart, what I am learning from the Holy Spirit through out my days as a disciple of Christ, a wife and a mother. But I have not felt led to do so there.

As odd and backwards as this may sound, I feel much more comfortable sharing what is truly on my heart, mind, and soul on my public page here. This isn’t a ploy to get you to like my page. I am just being honest about something I have struggled with for a while. I have found that my closest friends are also those who, because they know my heart intentions in my writing, they have been in support of Leaving a Legacy, and the impact God is having in people’s lives through it. Therefor, most of my closest in-real-life friends do comment and engage over on my public page {as well as in person}. I know for many this is not the dynamic they have, which is why I intially felt prompted to write and share with you on this topic.

To be honest, those who aren’t Christians and don’t believe sin exists would probably not choose to read a post filled with a prayer about the sanctification of marriage or motherhood, where I share the real deal ugly stuff I realize about myself and how God redeems it. Most of them would not “like” the page because of how Christian I am in the biblical application principles I share on mentoring, marriage and motherhood. So I feel safe to share there as the Lord leads knowing that if someone has “liked” the page they are agreeing that they are in some what of alignment with what I share. There is acceptance because of agreement and unity in Christ alone.

Sharing this with you has been a challenge for me, because to be perfectly honest, I am uncertain if my approach to my personal page will change in the future. I am constantly trying to hold all of these pages in the social world with open hands toward the Lord. Some might say, “that’s ridiculous, you should feel comfortable posting whatever you want, it’s YOUR personal profile.” And while I do agree with this statement, I also have hope that a subtle and gentle witness might be effective with those I love deeply, but who don’t see life through a biblical worldview. Simply posting pictures that reflect our families education decisions could lead people into a judgmental tizzy. It’s amazing that just by living our life the way we feel called right now, can become a reason for others to justify not listening to the truth God impresses upon me to share. It is enough that I feel I have to apologize for having chosen to leave a profession of ministry to be a stay at home wife and mom and defend my intellectual competence to those who are educational elitists. I also have no interest in engaging with argumentative people. The word is full of scripture that warns us not to bother discussing with certain types of people on topics that will not create unity. {see 1 Timothy 6:3; Titus 3:10; Prov. 13:20} I pray for these friends and family members that stereotype Isaac and I based upon our lifestyle choices and how many children we have gladly received from the Lord. And I would ask you to pray for me also, as God placed them in my life for a greater purpose as well.

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” Romans 16:17

On a side note, please feel free to pray for the Lord to reveal His desire for me with regard to my personal page and how bold he would have me be. It is a constant thing I give back to him, because I deeply care about those I know. So to not engage in the comments would be difficult, but I simply don’t have the time required to do so well, and so it would seem to be fruitless.

Our Call As Ambassadors for Christ:

If there is one thing you take away from this post today, my prayer is that it is the call to be intentional Ambassadors for Christ everywhere, including on social media. I don’t want you to feel pressure to be perfect. That is not my intention. It is in our weakness, that God is strong. I simply want to expose this simple truth and ask you to join me in being more intentional with what we post. So who is with me and ready for the challenge?

Would you like a free pdf of a Social Media Mission Statement Worksheet? Leave a note and your email in the comments and I will gladly send you one.

What is Your Social Media Mission? Your Purpose? Can you imagine what a bright light the church would be if we all chose to be more intentional in our status updates. I would love to hear what God is impressing upon your heart with regard to Social Media! Leave me a comment!

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I know we have covered a lot in this post. But I couldn’t bring myself to split it up in separate posts simply because it would loose it’s aroma, the integrity of the mission behind it.

Lord, I pray for myself and my brothers and sisters who are on social media. I thank you for the opportunity that we have to partner with you in the mission of the advancement of the Kingdom of God. May we all fully embrace our personal responsibility for branding you well. Lord, impress upon our hearts the desire to be a light for your glory through every image we post and every word we write. Convict our hearts and reveal to us where we have sinned against you and others. Help us to have the courage to repent and confess our sins to one another and seek accountability for the future. I ask you to protect us from the temptations toward sin. We recognize the battle we are in: the battle of opinions, words, images, and more. Help us to stand strong and to not loose hope as we purposefully serve you through our interactions. Keep our hearts pure and help us to model for our children what engaging in the social online world can look like when it is done on purpose. Help us to have self-control over our fingers as they flow from the opinions of the tongue. Impress upon us the desire to live our lives sold out for you in every area, including social media. Encourage my fellow writers and speakers out there that desire to be a light for you, encourage them today and myself as well. Help us all to encourage one another with the vision that we are building up and strengthening the church. Amen

Can I challenge you on 2 things:
1.Choose to encourage someone of social media today. Use your influence for good.

2.Choose to be more intentional about watching what you write, whether it be in your personal status, in a comment thread on someone else’s, or on a ministry page post. Slow down, pray and ask yourself: is this edifying? And if the person who wrote the post is truly in sin, or has offended you go to them privately.
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