Social media: a minefield 10


Stepping into fieldsFirst, I want to thank each of you for being part of this listening community. Your interest and encouragement have buoyed me already. And your comments have been exactly what I was hoping for! Please keep them coming—there’s an opportunity for you to share at the end of this post.

 

Stepping over the fence

It took me a long time to wrap my head around the fact that, as an author in today’s culture, I would need to enter the world of social media. I mean, sure, I had been checking Facebook from time to time, and once in awhile I’d post a picture on Instagram.

But creating a website? (Thanks, Sarah and Dave Jenkins, for your invaluable help!) Tweeting? (Thanks, Amanda, for explaining to me that Twitter is not to be used as a verb.) Setting up a Facebook author page? (Thanks, friends at NCC Publishing, for pointing out that readers may enjoy a page that doesn’t include the latest pictures of my grandsons.)

I think the reason I was slow to step over the fence into social media is that I sensed danger. My instincts told me this new territory might be a minefield, each misstep catapulting me into pride, or insecurity, or misplaced priorities, or skewed perspective. My worst fear? That in all the commotion my Shepherd’s voice would be muffled.

 

A timely warning

Veterans of this field have already learned this, some the hard way. Right as I was about to step over, I read an article by one such veteran, well-known pastor and songwriter Glenn Packiam. Packiam writes, “I quickly learned that social media has a dark side.” After reading his summary of both the benefits and the dangers of social media, I decided to set up a couple of safeguards for myself:

  •  Refrain from checking Facebook, Twitter, my website, or emails from my iPhone.
  • Try to check these things only twice a day from my computer.

I’m telling you this because I need the accountability. It’s not easy for me!

 

It would be easier…

…to avoid the social media minefield completely. It’s what my gut wants to do. Two years of writing a book was difficult, but it did have a blissfully private component where I could reside safely in my own good estimation of myself. However, I know my Shepherd is asking more from me.

So, Good Shepherd, I resolve to stay in this field as long as You ask me. I will walk with my eyes glued on You, knowing You lead well. I will dance if You play the pipe. I will crawl bleeding on my knees if thorny paths cripple me. I will rest on Your rock when You bring me to waiting places.

Each offering You ask from me—each blog, each post—I will release to You freely; You will not have to pry it from my fingers. I will not go searching to see what You’ve done with it.

And, though I’ll pray fervently for good fruit to come from my offerings, I won’t name the produce and I won’t set the parameters. What do I know of such things? Your ways are higher than mine.

 

Not empty words

I know that these words are only so much bravado if I trust in myself to carry them out; they’re empty without my Shepherd’s enabling. But the Good Shepherd is also the Great Enabler. There may be some injuries in this field, but by His grace I’ll recover to follow His lead, my eyes fixed on Him all the more.

 

Now, it’s your turn

Have you found hidden dangers in social media? What has your Shepherd shown you about them, and how has He helped you overcome them? Would you please share below so that we can all hear from each other and be encouraged?

 


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10 thoughts on “Social media: a minefield

  • janice burdsall

    I can feel the tension you describe and have seen some of the ups and downs you talk about in your “Social media: a minefield blog”. There are many great pros and cons in social media but I believe that in short time, you will have it down and be blessed beyond what you could ever imagine. The connections, encouragement and support from people around the world will amaze you. Always be open to who God would have you connect with as the world is at your fingertips and God is opening doors for the Body to be crossing paths and be there for one another.. in His perfect timing. God bless all you do as His messenger and servant :-)

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Janice, the hopefulness of your comment is so encouraging! That’s my prayer for this website—that it will be a vehicle for the body of Christ to encourage one another. I know that is the exact purpose of your website, and it’s so good to hear from one who has been in these fields longer than I! May God continue to prosper your work for Him!

  • Melissa Stadtlander

    I agree with you, so hard to step over those fences even when we know He is calling us! Thank you so much for encouraging us to follow Him no matter where He leads, to minefields or green pastures with brilliant purple flowers! :) I haven’t found any dangers in social media that I can share but I sure see how it could be dangerous and become more than it should! But I love your intentional heart to seek Him so earnestly before you embraced this new season, that blesses me so much and inspires me to intentionally seek Him before I hop over fences unaware. Your honest and open heart before us will encourage anyone who has struggled or has the potential to struggle and give them hope! And as He so faithfully does- He will speak as we listen together…thank you!

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Thanks for seeing the big picture in all of this, and for the sweet encouragement too! It’s all about seeking, obeying, trusting. Humbly being aware of the things that can trip us up, yet not being afraid to go where He’s calling. And counting on prayer warrior friends to see us through. Couldn’t do it without them. :)

  • Linda C. Brown

    I, too, began a FB account to keep up with my kids/g-kids. But to minimize what I found to be a growing “addiction” to FB, I re-arranged how I see postings on my Timeline/Notifications. Then I enacted a personal “rule” that works for me: I seldom check it in the evenings and not at all on weekends.

  • Lucy

    I once read that social media is the “front porch” of people’s lives. Often social media is an avenue for people to share just what they want you to see. It is often dishonest and deceptive. I think limiting the amount of time we access our social media, whether Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc., allows us to spend time reading, spending face to face time with our loved ones, and like you’re encouraging us to do…listen to the shepherd.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      You’re so right, Lucy! Social media can be a front porch for sure, and that can be really good but also really bad. It keeps us connected in ways we might not be able to be otherwise, but it can shield us (and distract us) from the face-to-face heart conversations with our loved ones and our Shepherd. Thanks for your reminder that nothing can take the place of that. And thanks also for the reminder that we need to be honest in whatever we communicate, whether online or in person. I really appreciate your intentionality in following your Shepherd–it encourages me.

  • Diane Page

    I only do facebook and my premise was to keep in touch with my Christian friends and family. Well, not all of my family are Christians and sometimes I cringe at the comments and posts that I receive and wonder what my friends think about when they read them. I struggle with what to do. I want to be a light to the non-Christian family members, but……..where is the balance? I am praying for guidance on this struggle. God knows my heart, I want to be a light, but I don’t want to discourage those Christians who are struggling either. Just waiting for His loving way.

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      I started doing Facebook when my kids were in college and everyone kept saying, “I heard that Daniel [or Jonathan or Amanda] was doing …” I didn’t want to be out of the loop. :) Had no idea then what a big social community it would end up being, and I’m glad for it! Diane, your perspective is so like Christ (“just waiting for His loving way”). It sounds to me like you do have the balance you refer to. Your friends know you, and they know you care about your non-Christian family members. We get it. I am blessed by your desire to be a gracious presence of Christ toward Christians and non-Christians alike.