Time for me to get vulnerable and make some unattractive confessions.
Ugh… where do I start?
I want to write on a very common, very tricky issue that many of us may be able to relate to. Even if you’re not in a relationship, you’ll understand the struggle I’m addressing.
First off, my stance on this subject is by no means meant to chastise anyone who may be perfectly alright with the material I’m writing about. I’m not here to tell anyone what to do, because the correctness of this topic isn’t set in stone. I think it’s different for everyone. But for me, and possibly for many others, Social Media may be a very slippery slope and a danger toward the sacredness of our romantic relationships.
Let me break this down from a personal standpoint.
In the Beginning…
When Zachary and I were just starting out in the realm of a relationship, it was very quiet. There were a variety of reasons for this, yes. But also, there was no desire to be loud about it. I know from my point of view, this relationship was something so precious and sacred to me that why would it be anyone else’s business, anyway? Why would I want to expose this to outside eyes and opinions?
And just in general, I was too content with enjoying the intimate privacy of it to give a thought to who can I share this story with?
Then there came Comparison…
This is the part you can all appreciate. The Facebook relationships. The adorable couples photos. The cute public conversations. The public complements. The boasting. More pictures. Those couples who just look perfect together, who are obviously head-over-heals, who make it look beautiful through the internet lens we look through, and get all the oohs and awwws and likes and shares.
And it’s an ugly thing to admit, but there is jealousy.
Even if it isn’t jealousy in the form of aspiring to be like them, there can be jealousy in the form of “but my relationship’s just as happy and wonderful- if not more- I need to share it so they can see.”
Yeah, I feel really ugly-hearted right now.
Our initial Intention…
It was very near to the beginning when the whole topic of changing Facebook relationship statuses came up. And our mutual agreement at the time was that making it “Facebook official” was completely unnecessary. The world didn’t need another one of those. Making it Facebook official wouldn’t make a bit of difference in the reality of the relationship for us.
I remember Zachary expressed this sentiment found in a meme you may have seen before:
This was something personal and precious. It was to be protected and allowed to bloom on its own in God’s perfect timing. This wasn’t the world’s. It wasn’t even ours. It was God’s.
We wanted to avoid the ways of the world. We didn’t want to be like those couples who were plastered up all over your news feed, only to be broken up and plunged into a different, equally-as-advertised-relationship two weeks later.
We knew where we were headed, we knew we intended to last. The world and its applause wasn’t relevant.
I lost focus…
Life happens. A lot of spiritual attacks all at once, wearing down over a long period of time. Me slipping into relying on my own strength instead of drawing from God’s. Flailing for secure footing on something that was certain. Beginning to lean on my boyfriend as a crutch and seeing him as a source of happiness instead of walking hand-in-hand with him and looking to God as my source of happiness and security.
Guys, it happens so slowly. It’s happens so easily. Guarding your heart and keeping your guard up against the Enemy is so much more serious and important than you think. The Enemy is out there to steal, kill, and destroy. He delights to corrupt the designs of God. Believe it or not, he does target you. He makes battle strategies against you. Make no mistake. If your intent is to honor God, you are a target. You’re a threat and he will attempt to thwart you in the most subtle of ways.
I’m emphasizing this (probably sounding like a crazy lady) because I don’t think enough of us take the devil seriously enough. “He’s got bigger fish to fry than me.” No. Realize your value. Realize the severe importance of the plan God has for you. Satan hates you. What God has intended for you scares him to death.
So cleave to Jesus. And don’t you let go.
All that to say: I lost sight of what our relationship was and how sacred it should be.
I fought Zachary’s still-steady resolve that no, we were not going to throw this up on Facebook. I fought this with rationale and justification and private rebellious thoughts. “What, are you embarrassed of me?”
Honestly, he’d have had every reason to be embarrassed of me. I was childish.
I’m seriously cringing right now.
Getting my Heart Right again…
There is a difference between the innocent sharing of pictures, and sharing with the intent to gain praise, admiration, and to show off.
Instagram is my social media platform of choice. It feels more personal to me, I have a smaller circle (many of whom don’t even know me), and it’s just a simple and pretty place to keep memories in the form of pictures.
However, I’ve been struggling with my usage of it lately.
Sure, I like things picturesque. But I have recognized the check in my conscience many times, and can tell when I am posting something with less than pure intentions. Sometimes it’s to impress people. Sometimes it’s to keep up with other people. Sometimes it’s out of vanity. And sometimes it’s to display (okay, show-off) my relationship publicly in a way that is not at all with the intentions of protecting and keeping it sacred.
There are some things I am having to ask myself before posting.
- Why am I posting this?
- Is it true, noble, lovely, pure, encouraging, and pleasing to God?
- THEN is it true, noble, lovely, pure, encouraging, and pleasing to God with the INTENTION of pleasing God and not just looking spiritual in the eyes of your viewers? (This one’s the kicker.)
When I find myself in a wrong perspective regarding my relationship, it’s important to get back to basics with the foundational questions.
- What is the intention of our relationship?
- How does this relationship honor and glorify God?
- What must I remove/change in order to keep the Enemy from having a foothold?
- How can I invest in it and give more of myself to the honor of God?
I know the answer to the very first question. I know that we both agree that the purpose of our relationship is to bring glory to God, to follow His purpose and plan.
The next questions, however, can be really hard to answer. And depending on what’s going on from one time to the next, they may have different answers. I’m always going to have more things to work on. There will always be new heights God has decided we’re ready to face.
The struggle for me with Social Media is ongoing. This is not something I am done wrestling through. But I am coming back to center in realizing that, for me, Social Media is a temptation to be dealt with very carefully. For me, this is a weakness geared toward my pride, my tendency to seek validation, and my craving for approval.
It’s all selfish.
I need Jesus. Thank God that I have Jesus. And He’s changing me.
We need to recognize our weaknesses and submit them to God. Social Media, until I have uprooted the weeds that tempt me to use it wrongly, can have no place in my relationship. Because I want to honor Zachary, to love him purely, and if the best way to ensure I do that is privately, so be it.
Thank you for suffering through my long posts, dear reader. It is my ultimate intent and prayer that through this blog, I can share the struggles, lessons, and joys in all their messy beauty to bring glory to God and help & encourage anyone who has gone through similar experiences and revelations.