Show of hands. How many of you, like me and Tara, have a running #thingswecan'tshareonFacebook list?
That list includes hilarious slip-ups, memorable comments, and intimate things that -- on one hand -- we immediately want to share when they happen for the inevitable reactions we know we'd get. But then we remember in the nick of time that we have reputations.
Filters are kind of important. We use them for drinking water, air purification, and for internet content. They protect us primarily from bad stuff getting in. But they can also protect us from overexposing, venting, or damaging our personal image.
As I was working on our 2020 Christmas letter to friends and family this past December, trying to whittle the year down to some of the major events worthy of recounting, I was reminded that there are so many precious moments that Tara and I share. So many inside jokes and silly memories -- things that still make us belly-laugh when we recall them, but things that only we would truly find funny, cute, or worthy of recounting. They also happen, in many cases, to be things that would also be deeply embarrassing if they actually made their way onto social media...
And all of them are things we wouldn't trade for anything.
We live in a world that abides by the creed, "Pics or it didn't happen." So we share everything for the validation. We overexpose because we live for the likes. All of our experiences feel more legitimate and exciting when they're community experiences. We video and share our kids' special and embarrassing moments, because we like to know that we're not alone in our parenting struggles. We broadcast our "failure to properly adult" to reassure ourselves that other people are lazy and irresponsible too. Every nook and cranny of our lives, no matter how ugly, can become spotlight avenues for exploring our sense of self-worth.
Thriving off of the opinions and reactions of others might fall into a Type A personality block in the sociologist's book, but in biblical terms it's actually called the fear of man (Prov 29.15) and it can truly undermine our worship of God and our ability to properly love, value, and serve the people God has placed in our lives. After all, instead of using others to stroke our own egos, our primary objective as Christians is to model the missional mindset of Jesus, which is to serve (Mark 10.45).