First, 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?