Thursday, May 9, 2013

An Insta Confession: Why I Check My 'Likes'

Okay, I do it. 

I feel silly admitting it, but.. 
my guess is you do it as well. 

I often check my 'likes.' 

When I post on Instagram, if it hits a magic number of 'likes,' I feel accepted and loved.  If it doesn't, I feel rejection. It's stooopid, but sadly true of our social media driven culture. 

This morning I posted a pic on our YL club Insta account. I thought it was clever and worthy of a 'like'...it only got nine. And one of those was mine. BTW, never 'like' your own picture, it's an automatic deduction of cool points. 

I recently read this blog post for parents that was helpful in explaining this phenomenon. 

Sarah Brooks writes, "We're no longer in a world of handwritten "circle yes or no" notes between two people; kids are living social lives on a completely public forum. Have you considered that your child is given numerical values on which to base his or her social standing? For the first time ever your children can determine their "worth" using actual numbers provided by their peers!


Your daughter has 139 followers which is 23 less than Jessica, but 56 more than Beau. Your son's photo had 38 likes which was 14 less than Travis' photo, but 22 more than Spencer's.

See what I mean? There's a number attached to them. A ranking."

And if you think they don't actually pay attention to this stuff, read the hashtags on these photos."

At Campaigners last week we had a 10 minute discussion about how you need an appropriate ratio of Twitter followers/following.  

Following more people than are following you = Loser status.

I'm a pastor, a Young Life leader, and I have a wife and kids that love me well...and yet I still look for approval from Instagram 'likes.' 

Why?

Simple answer, as hard as it is to write...
spiritual immaturity

In Romans 12:1-2 Paul writes, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Eugene Peterson translates it this way in The Message, 
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

If we want to lead our middle and high school friends towards being transformed by Christ, we too must experience that transformation. We must take our everyday, ordinary lives and place them before God as an offering. We must become well-formed mature disciples of Jesus.

We're addicted to being connected.

We've traded connection with our Creator 
for connection with created things. 

We've become well adjusted to the world.

We're searching for affirmation in silly places. 

We've been lured down to the culture's level of immaturity. 

How do we change?

Through spiritual disciplines. 

One thing we can do is give up looking at our 'likes,' and instead, 'fix our eyes' on the One who liked us enough to die in our place. 

To whom will you look for affirmation today?

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