According to Google, we are now checking our phones 100 billion times a day! Then perhaps more surprising, 93 million selfies are taken each day. Hate the duck face all you want, we know you’re pouting those lips and posting it to Instagram.
What’s more, “selfie” became the Oxford English Dictionary’s “word of the year” in 2013.
Did you know that young women aged 16 to 25 years old spend an average of five hours a week taking selfies?[i]
If you’re younger, it may be difficult for you to understand, but my generation, growing up in the 80’s we would not have ever turned a camera on ourselves. We actually hated getting our picture taken.
The worst day of school for me was picture day! It was the only day I’d ever bring a brush, not a comb and try to tame my buffalo hair-do into controlled fluff. There was only one shot. And when they said, “One, two, three,” it didn’t matter if I were in a half smile or had spinach in my teeth. They’d take the picture, and then I wouldn’t even know what it looked like, for weeks, or even a couple of months. If I didn’t get money from my parents to buy the stupid little packet, I wouldn’t know what it looked like until it came out in the yearbook. In 6th grade, I had no idea it was picture day and was wearing my gym clothes, a ratty sweaty grey shirt with my name scribbled on the front. That picture defined my entire sixth-grade year. It was horrible.
Things have massively changed. Today, we can take a picture of ourselves, and put a filter on it. We can change the color, the lighting, the shading, make it black and white, soften it, brighten it, take away red-eye. You can edit and remove a double chin. If you’ve got a zit back when we were kids, you had to pop it and hope for the best in a picture! Today we can edit it out. Here is the filtered me I want you to see.”
I need to acknowledge that today’s Social Media and Technology are blessing for relationships. But at the same time, there are some challenges we need to be aware of.
I want to highlight a few then focus on one specific in this post.
How Is Social Media Changing Relationships?
We have the power to do friendships on our own terms We decide to accept or reject people with a click of a button! We can hit “like” or not. Is this post worthy of a keystroke?
Social media is a major cause of discontentment. All we see is people at their best: winning an iron man, at a party, at the lake, on vacation, having fun! We think – I’m missing out! I’m a loser, I have no life compared to all my friends!
Here’s where I will spend some time today:
We want to filter all communication.
Let’s say the phone rings, back when I was growing up (in the 80’s), I actually didn’t know who was on the other side, and to find out who was on the other side, you actually had to pick up the call.
Today when the phone rings we have the blessing, or the curse, of being able to see who it is, decide if we want to talk, send it to voice mail, listen to the voice mail, and then decide how to respond. With a text or at all? Because we stay in control, we desire to filter communication and call the shots.
This is not just a modern-day problem. It’s been a problem that’s been going on since the beginning of time.
In Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve did their own thing and turned from God. The Bible says that they were ashamed because they were naked, They covered themselves with fig leaves, and they were afraid, so they hid.(Gen. 3:7-9). They also hid behind excuses and blame. They used filters: “I don’t want you to see the real me.” We all do this, whether in social media, or in other ways.
In 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 Paul refers back to a story from the Old Testament, in Exodus 34 that illustrates this.
Paul explains when Moses ascended to the top of Mount Sinai, received the Ten Commandments from God, and came down the mountain, that his face was actually glowing! The glory of God was on his face. So Moses put on a veil or a filter when talking with the people. Wow.
I always thought, “He did that to protect people from seeing the glow, the brightness was a distraction. But actually Paul explains that he put on the veil to keep them from seeing that the glory was actually fading away. He put a filter over his face so they would not see the truth. God’s glory was fading from his face. Moses was trying to cover up the fact that his glow was fading. Not good for a leader. “We are watching you get dull!” So he did like many leaders do including me, preferring for others to see our strengths as we try to hide or cover our weakness.
2 Corinthians 3:13-18 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Paul was showing the Corinthians that Christ; and the New Covenant was superior to the Old Covenant. Whenever the Old Covenant is read in the synagogues, the unbelieving Jewish people cannot see the truth because a veil is there. A veil was covering their eyes from seeing the truth of who Christ is. As we habitually become so used to living behind a veil, filtering everything, the veil actually keeps us all from the truth and from Christ.
What we all need is to live UNVEILED.
The problem is we like our veil. We’ve learned, and become very skilled at, how to filter our lives, and show other people the “me” that we want them to see.
By nature, when we are insecure, when we don’t feel good about ourselves or when we sin, rather than confessing our sin as the first response, by nature, we tend to hide and to put veils on to filter or hide our lives.
What veil are you wearing? What image are you trying to portray in your life that you’re not?
Social media trains us to put our best self out there. For example, you may portray yourself as, “Super Mom.” “Hey, look, here’s a picture of my kids-with-matching-back packs and lunchboxes. Here’s how I decorated their room! Here’s me at dance with my kids when, in reality, you feel guilty because you’re overwhelmed, overworked. You feel like you don’t have any friends or a life. You feel like you’re not a very good mother. But for the world, here’s “Super Mom!”
Or you might be the dad at the park: “Here’s me” click! “With my kid at the park. Look, I’m pushing my kid on a swing. I’m Dad of the Year. I’m a great dad.” When, in reality, you feel like a failure as a dad, because your kids are really an interruption to you. You’re not always engaged with them, you work too much, and when you’re with them, you’re not really with them because your mind is somewhere else. But, hey, “Here’s the dad I want you to see.”
You might be “Workout- Girl” – “Here’s my protein shake. I’m getting in shape.” The truth is, you just ate a whole bag of cookies, and you worship regularly at the altar of Blue Bell. “But for all to see, here’s my protein shake! I’m getting in shape.”
“Hey, I’m a Spiritual Giant!” “Here’s my Bible open to Leviticus chapter 14 with my cup of coffee. I’m so spiritual,” when, in reality, in the back of your mind, there is an ongoing secret sin that you have still not confessed to anybody, and it haunts you, and it makes you crazy. But, “Hey, here’s the spiritual giant!”
It might be the obligatory anniversary picture: “Here I am with my sweety, best friends forever. I love my honey bunnie! We have a great marriage,” when, in reality, you don’t have a good marriage, at all. But here’s the “me” I want you to see.
Why do we do this? At its core is a fear of showing the real me.
Have you noticed some people post a lot if negativity and hurtful things? They spew conflict, anger and emotionally vomit out there for all to see. What’s behind the veil? Behind all that griping and complaining is hurt. “Does anyone care?” “If I keep you at a distance, maybe you won’t hurt me.”
How about this? Have you ever been with someone and all they do is keep checking their phone? There is a new term called “Phubbing” Phone snubbing. What’s behind the veil? It’s fear. “I don’t know how to have real communication. I fear silence or authenticity. And when I get uncomfortable, I’ll turn to what I feel more comfortable with, my phone.” It’s a veil.
In the next post we’ll examine, How to remove the veil.