Several months ago, I had the privilege of hanging out with some pretty fantastic teen girls during a sleepover. We ate like there was no tomorrow on pizza rolls and chocolate covered doughnuts, then all settled in on the couch to watch the best of Glozelle, and clips from Good Mythical Morning. We ended our evening (not really because the talks went on far beyond 2:00 AM) with a group discussion over current problems teen girls face, and how we can deal with them God’s way. Most of the problems were the normal, this-is-what-everyone-goes-through, issues such as acne, peer pressure, mean girls, self esteem issues, pressures of being sexually active, where to find “good” guys, the battle for popularity, and so on. But one issue the girls face is one that my generation slipped past. I sat and listened to some of them open up about the pressures of the problem, and how it affected their self esteem, and their ranking at the High School. What’s the problem? How many likes, retweets, favorites, and snapchats one receives ultimately decides their worth…..
I admit it. I laughed when they started talking about it. Not to make fun of them. Not because I thought it was stupid, or juvenile. I laughed because it was my first response to something that I, as a “woman” found to be so absurd. Why on earth would you girls think that the majority vote on social media should define your worth?! It was beyond my comprehension, so I asked the girls to explain to me what they felt.
“I see other girls’ Instagram feeds that have them acting like skanks and they get tons of likes. I post a cute selfie, or some really fantastic quote and I only get like, two likes! I want attention too! I know I don’t want the type of attention the other girls are getting, but it is nice to be noticed.”
“If I don’t participate in the “TBH” game, or respond to the other things like that, then I get shunned at school. I get approached for not liking what they wrote, or for not giving the person a compliment, or for not sharing. I don’t want to be left out.”
“I just want to know someone thinks I’m pretty.”
TBH…..Every time I see, “I’m bored, TBH, Like it uuuup!”, “Date Me, Rate Me, Hate Me.” , “Am I ugly? Be honest.”, and “Only real men would have the guts to comment on my post and call me beautiful.” I want to barf up my stomach contents. Seriously. Snap out of it girls! Do you really want to center your worth around these types of things? Is this what God wants you to center your worth around? Are the amount of followers and friends, and likes, and retweets you get on your teenage body and face going to carry your self-worth through to adult years when your body starts to sag, wrinkle, develop cottage cheese thighs, and gain an extra fifteen or so? If your outer image is all that you bothered to mess with, what will you think of yourself once all of that is gone?
Matthew 25:31-46, to me, is the most terrifying passage in the whole Bible. When the final judgment day arrives, Jesus will separate ALL people in two groups. The sheep from the goats. The sheep will get to happily frolic on through to the pearly gates. The goats on the other hand, they get a one way ticket to hell. Why? Because they missed the point on their purpose in life. Do you know what your purpose is here on this planet as a Christian? To serve your King. To serve others. To remain humble and choose the well being of others over your own. Your purpose isn’t about how good you look to others. It is not about how many likes you can get over a racy selfie. It is not about how many people you were able to get to play your TBH game. Life isn’t about selfies. Life is about service. It’s about being a slave to something greater, and about sharing this greatness with others. Many of us are slaves for sure, but we aren’t slaves to the The King, we are slaves to self-acceptance through the opinions of others.
“What can I post today that will get me the most likes?”
So what are you? A selfie-obsessed goat, or a servant-hearted sheep? Ask yourself these questions:
- When you see the self-absorbed selfies and compliment seeking posts on your feeds, do you play along or ignore them?
- Are you tempted to post these things on your feeds, or do you post these things, fishing for someone to take the time to compliment you?
- Do you seek the approval of others concerning your looks, and do you approve of others judging solely on their looks?
- Do you mask your need to be accepted by taking selfies with “inspirational quotes” as the caption, really hoping to get a few likes on your photo, not the quote.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you, sister, are a goat. And a goat is not what you want to be on the day of judgment. Goats get tossed out of the kingdom for being self-absorbed. Sheep draw their beauty from the One who created them, share that beauty through selfless acts, and get the golden ticket to a forever paradise.
I understand how tough it is being a teenager, and understand that this is the part of your lives where we all tend to be a bit selfish. I remember, I have been there and was one of the most self-absorbed teens out there! But eventually, Jesus got a hold of my heart, and I have been on fire for HIM ever since then. Don’t let likes consume you. Don’t let your value be invested in how many followers you have. Don’t allow the #likeforlikes to be your only source of confidence. These people are just another face in the crowd willing to “follow” and “like” anything they can, just to get someone to do the same! Is that what you want to build your worth on?
You are precious, dear sisters. You are valuable. You are holy. You are worth it. You are important. You have purpose. This purpose is not to see how many followers you can get, or how many likes you draw in from selfies and those silly, self absorbed, fishing for compliments games, hoping to get a few bites. Your purpose is to serve your King and Creator. A time will come when all of us, sheep and goats, will have to stand before the Holy God, and He will ask what we have done as His servants. He will ask us where we were when His people needed help, comfort, shelter, food, clothing, and a smile. What will your answer be?
“Umm…..let me think about that, but first….lemme take a selfie.”
Are you a goat, or are you a sheep? If your existence as a person revolves around what others say about you on a screen, you child, are a goat. If your existence revolves around sharing Christ’s love with others daily, you child, are a sheep. Don’t waste the days of your youth on childish games and self-acceptance through things you see on your phone screen. You were called to shine your light to others by living a life devoted to Christ, from youth, to the grave. You were called for greatness.
“And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.”
1 Timothy 4:12 (MSG)