Seeking Social Media Acceptance
Social media acceptance is a driving force in many people’s daily lives. There’s a need for approval. And with the internet, we can reach far and wide in search of it. For business owners, it’s important to be noticed in order to be successful. For individuals, acceptance has a value that goes deeper than money. Ultimately, we spend a lot of time and energy seeking it.
I’ve dealt with many inappropriate contacts while broadcasting on LiveMe.
Evil is Lurking
It’s frustrating making connections we hope are purposeful only to discover evil intentions lurking. Be aware. Darkness is intent on infiltrating where possible. As we pursue social media acceptance, we inevitably become targets. Satan uses others to reach us, attempting to bring us down. He uses our need for attention to hurt us or make us afraid. Hidden within a cyberworld, attacks, demeaning behavior, and violations of our moral space are rampant. Rather than joyfully growing in community as we intend, we become victimized.
So what do we do when darkness encroaches? I was recently sent a great article on steps we can take to be safer on the internet. Here’s the link: https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/the-empowering-internet-safety-guide-for-women/. Of course, The Empowering Internet Safety Guide for Women can be helpful to men as well.
Know That You’re Valuable
Additionally, we need to recognize our worth. If we focus on social media acceptance but fail to realize how valuable we are, we’ll struggle when inappropriately contacted. God created each of us intentionally. He loves us immensely. He sent His Son to die as a ransom for our sin, removing Satan’s hold on us. Knowing that we’re valuable in God’s sight helps us stand strong when darkness tries to intimidate.
Keeping our attention on God allows us to grow personally. We accept and care more for ourselves. Contentment is reflected from this powerful relationship. We become likable to those drawn to us by God. A separation of followers begins to take place that is organic and meaningful. We gain some and we lose some. Our social media acceptance will grow with the right followers for us. And, by seeking God’s wisdom and strength, we’re able to recognize and deal with the approach of evil attention calmly, firmly, and appropriately.
Seeking God’s Direction Gives Perspective
Seek God’s wisdom about questionable new connections. Keep Him at the forefront. Be obedient to His lead. He can see what we can’t and knows what someone’s intentions truly are. Also, He knows when we should offer kindness, even if we feel insulted. We could be the seed God is using to reach someone. Or we could be the one needed to hold them accountable. Only God knows. Ultimately, seeking God’s will can put our desire for social media acceptance in proper perspective.
Find your value in God, be genuine in your social media accounts, don’t let evil contacts disrupt you, and enjoy God-given connections. For additional reading on empowerment, check out my blog, Ladies, You Are Valuable!
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Shunned and mocked, beaten down and tormented, Jesus had reached the end of Himself and cried out in anguish to His Father. It was a moment of acknowledged separation, an emptiness, void of any possible peace or joy, and yet God ordained it. Actually, He orchestrated it. Nothing happened without His influence. Not one human decision was made in error. Not one.
There was purpose in the death of Jesus, the final unblemished sacrifice for sin. It was necessary. It wasn’t senseless, as heartbreaking as it is to ponder. Resenting the decisions that brought about His death is unnecessary. Comparing ourselves to those characters, assuming we’d make similar or differing decisions is needless. God was controlling the events and they played out as He intended. Jesus’ death immediately created freedom. Freedom for you and me. Freedom from fear. Freedom from the Spiritual separation that comes from sin. We will never lack connection with God due to our sin. Satan has lost all power.
Crown of Thorns
You may wonder why you suffer then, here on earth. Why is there so much drama, hate, hurting? Why has life been difficult? Why has tragedy struck and left you weary? Why have you felt empty and void of joy? Why are you struggling with simply taking the next step? Why is violence and fear dictating life? There are so many questions, so much confusion. If there is a God, then why? Why have You forsaken me?
Christ, in His anguished cry, released us from that very same feeling of distress. Never will any of us cry out and not be heard. Jesus’ death tore the veil of separation between the created and the Creator. Your cries will be heard and responded to. Have faith. Faith is the catalyst for direct relations with God. The Spiritual realm that once was separate is now ever present.
Reflect on Jesus’ behavior as the tragic event of the end of His earthly life played out. He never wavered from trusting God’s will, even unto death. His faith was strong. Believing in something unseen, faith, was actual knowing for Jesus. We can live like that, and in so doing, all the questions of why will be met and dispelled.
You are being drawn to Christ by God. Accept the invitation to embrace the Spiritual and supernatural life He has for you. Draw close to Him. It is a quiet, intimate, and deeply personal relationship. Talk to Him, ask His Holy Spirit to dwell within your being, and seek His wisdom constantly. Peace is in trusting God and His will for your life, and because of Jesus’ obedience, God will never forsake you.
Christ our King
Painting by Steve Bissonnette
I love purple, I thought as I sprayed the next layer of color on what I’d considered “my wall”. After years of expressing moods and coping with circumstances through graffiti, the original stone wall had transformed. It was a tapestry of what life had been for me. Struggling with disappointment yet again, I added to it. This time, however, I sensed something different upon final perusal. It felt heavy to me, my artwork. It seemed overwhelmed by all the changes I’d imposed on it. The art was there, but so was the reason for each stone of my internal wall. Although there were fragments of joy poking through and hints of peace that had lasted for short seasons, the anger, the rebellion, the hurt, and all they meant to me were on display.
My hand, the purple spray can in grip, fell to my side. I stepped back and looked, absorbing the colors and styles, thinking on each event represented. It triggered something in me, provoking tears to flow. They were not tears of anger or hurt though. What was this? Why was it making me emotional? I raised my arm and began spraying in a sweeping motion, trying to push away the uncomfortable sentiment that was threatening. My hand became heavy, and I dropped it to my side once more.
I turned away and moved to enter the house confused by my emotions. Upon reaching the door, I spun around and sat, looking at my wall. Suddenly, I saw something. Within the graffiti of my life, an image was becoming evident. It wasn’t clear, but I swore I could glimpse … Jesus. I blinked unbelieving. I didn’t know Him, but I knew of Him. He was someone who wasn’t there for me during my trials and tragedies. He was the one who I’d heard offered peace but seemed to withhold it from me. I must be bad, I’d figured over time, since He didn’t seem interested in comforting me. Either that or, just as others had, He found joy in punishing me.
Pain is Painted on our Walls
I’d been abused when I was young, been stuck with parents who fought constantly and didn’t care to know that I was being hurt repeatedly. I chose to find comfort in others and by other means. The guilt of that became a heavier burden than the very acts that wounded me. At times I found happiness, even luck on occasion, but most often I felt used and abused. Darkness, as seen in my wall, had been a great part of my life and who I was.
I stared into the eyes of Jesus there on my wall. He stared back, but the look in His eyes wasn’t condemning or wanting of something from me, looks I’d become way too familiar with. His eyes were pulling me in. I felt love. I felt comfortable in my skin. I felt free. The feeling was powerful. I was overwhelmed. Not as my artwork was, more overawed. I felt light, like a weight had lifted. I shook my head and looked again. His image was unmistakable and I was drawn to Him.
“Jesus, why me?” I asked aloud. It was me He wanted. I could tell. The pull was unmistakable. Why me? I was trouble. I was dirty. I was the very definition of unworthy. I was rebellious and discontent. Why me? Suddenly, the view of myself I’d come to resonate with didn’t matter, in fact, it wasn’t even real. In a moment, I was free. The original being God had created was alive, not hindered by the scars I’d clung to and labeled myself with. My internal walls were crumbling.
I looked past the image of Jesus and gazed at all the layers of graffiti I’d created over the years, and it struck me that the original stone wall would look beautiful to see. It would be soothing. However, there wasn’t a fix for the defacing I’d done to it. It’s as if the scars I’d struggled with were just as present on this original artwork that God had made, on me. I went inside and grabbed some other cans of color I had left over and returned to my wall.
After an hour of work I stepped back. The image was no longer hidden amidst the years of trials on display. Jesus was now on top of all of it, covering the graffiti of my life and altering the theme of my wall. His eyes were soft. Love truly flowed through His image, through the tips of His fingers reaching to touch me. The chills which consumed and the tears which cleansed lifted me higher than any drug, drink, or relationship I’d ever hidden in. My wall was no longer necessary. Jesus loves me.
The words “Christian parenting” may conjure thoughts of coddling and protecting. They may imply high expectations or an image of goodness, but I’m suggesting another view. God allows us to go through experiences that shape and mold us. We’re exposed to circumstances that ignite passion, leading some to make a difference for others. God shines through us in dark places that difficult times have brought us to. Our children, entrusted to God, will also endure difficulties for which we can’t and sometimes shouldn’t protect them from.
March 3rd was the anniversary of a piece of work I’d never expected to create. My first children’s book Little Birch Finds Peace came by way of a challenge. During an event, my husband said he’d like to see a new novel and a children’s book available within a year. I hadn’t been interested in writing children’s books, but I sat down and wrote this story. It was based on a real set of trees and was a message to me from God of struggle, growth, and trust. I’d wanted to imbed this within a novel some time. But since it’s publication, it’s proven to be a powerful message for both children and adults alike.
Painting by Hannah Forcier
God allows us to endure trials and times of hurt. We learn many lessons through them. Though we often live with the reminders of our past sufferings, beautiful things can be seen that wouldn’t have been experienced otherwise. When we grow in relationship with Christ, we grow to trust God and His will for our lives. It’s in that trust that we eventually can see the good that God has intended.
How can we patiently watch, though, as our children are being led through tough experiences? Little Birch was one such child, of a sapling sort, whose mother had to wait many years before seeing the blessings God planned. However, her faith never faltered. At least it didn’t waver enough to cause her to intervene. The story, ultimately, is a reflection of parenting. Not just ours but God’s as well. Our children are not our own. They are His.
After many years of weight, trauma, and hurt laid upon the life of Little Birch, God brought about beautiful days. He exposed purpose to him. The peace Little Birch found wasn’t due to a happy moment but was a direct result of finally trusting God. That same trust was something his mother already knew. By remaining separate, she was able to let God do His work in her little one. Ultimately, it brought Him to a deep sense of peace, hope, joy, and love. This is something we want for our own children, isn’t it?
There are times that we’re meant to intervene in our children’s lives. However, I believe it’s not as frequently or as obvious as we think. Christian parenting is by faith. We recognize that only God knows when we’re to step in and alter the course of events for our kids. We need to remain focused on Him, seeking His wisdom and direction. I pray that you diligently seek His will, step out on faith, and allow Him room to parent your children. Keep in mind that only He knows your child’s tomorrow, and that tomorrow may involve some powerful experiences today.
Enjoy the book release party through the talented eyes of my illustrator/daughter, Hannah.