Facebook is one of the most amazing and worst phenomena of the century. It’s fed by self-absorption and breeds insecurity. But it’s like a real life SimCity. On Facebook, you can create your own world. You can control your image—create a persona—show yourself as an athlete or a socialite or a rock star just with the pictures you post and interests you like. It’s a world where it matters very little what you are like in person—everything has to do with presentation. I’m guilty of it. I’ve definitely untagged myself in a photo or two. I like putting up funny quotes from Ellia. I feel better about myself the more likes I get. I somehow never post the things that show how I could easily win the worst mom of the year award.
Facebook pushes us further into a belief that we aren’t lovable unless we can prove ourselves. It’s the lie that we can’t get affirmation unless our highschool friends think we didn’t get fat or people think that our spouses are at least as attractive as theirs. The newsfeed breeds discontent. Instead of being more connected, we feel disconnected. We’re becoming more isolated by investing in false relationships. We’re losing touch with real intimacy by spending our time trying to impress or compete.
But it’s not Facebook’s fault. We live in a world where it’s easy to hide. We don’t have to be deeply understood when we can tweet our every thought. Words are cheap. We share our thoughts, but not the ones that really matter. Not the ones that keep us up at night.
Every thing in our culture cries out for transparency. It’s never been vogue to admit failure, weakness and feelings of insecurity, but in a world of overexposure, it’s even more shameful to fail.
Have we forgotten what it is to be human? Have we forgotten the foundational truth that we live not by hyper-controlled image but by grace?
The Christian subculture is no different than the plastic Facebook world. We’ve withheld life-giving authenticity from a world dying of thirst. We cover up, we transfer someone to a different life group, church or ministry. We talk about babies and careers and embroidered backpacks and we don’t talk about sin or pain.
We go to lunch with people who are dying inside and we never touch their disease.
And when we deny authenticity, we block healing. We know better. We know that becoming whole requires transparency. We never give life a chance to even take root in our souls if we aren’t honest.
How can growth happen when we suffocate our hearts? Many of us are killing ourselves in an effort to protect our image.
We need authenticity to in order to breathe. It is our sacred path. Authenticity exposes the great need for mercy and the incredible gift of grace. It helps us see the one who cuts through the plastic to rescue the treasure in us—the treasure we’re afraid to nurture.
But if the world needs anything, it’s someone to be honest. Not in the crass, vulgar, real-for-the-sake-of-shock-value type of honesty. That’s just another image game. But the kind of honesty that leaves us exposed—the kind that renders us defenseless, naked. The kind that leaves us in desperate need of the comfort and change God wants to give.
Our hands are too full of our own self-obsession to experience grace.
What if you and I became a picture of authenticity? What if the church is the world’s only hope for seeing something real? What if we cared more about being transformed and moving toward deeper peace than figuring out who’s better than us?
The goal isn’t to set a trend in honesty. The goal is to show the world Jesus. And we can’t do that if all of our efforts fall into the vortex of superficiality. Hiding feeds the darkness. Light exposes the ugly, but light also brings healing. I want to care more about becoming who I’m meant to be than controlling how I’m seen.
And our willingness to show the cracks in our hearts invites the world to be healed.
Jesus said it’s not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. Our friend groups, our schools and churches are full of people who can’t admit they’re not well. And when we admit weakness, when we lay down the god of image, we not only open ourselves up to life-altering freedom, but we pave the way for others as well.
We can be the voice that reminds the world that there is more—more than what I can prove and more than getting recognized for it.
Life is in reach. We just have to be real enough to take it.