Posting positive sayings and pictures on social media is by far the one of the most embellished forms of a lie I think I have ever seen. Do I have your attention? Yes, what I said is something that I’ve been observing for a while. Every day I wake up and flip through any one of the social media accounts I am registered with, and I have noticed that there are numerous people that post pictures of text with inspiring quotes written on pleasing scenery. There are also some people that I have followed and personally know that will share information or media on Facebook or Twitter that also seem to be nice, but what’s the purpose? Even now, I see that there are people gaining significant influence as neo-philosophers in a world that is consumed by all things social media, and why? Why do we have the desire to promote ourselves the way we do? Why does it seem that our words outweigh our actions? I want to write briefly about my perceived notions on this topic, and how it ails the able, and weakens the weary.
To be clear, I want to say that this blog is simply a transcription of thoughts, ideas, and observations made by me, Andrew. I have grown up in middle-class America and have lived a comfortable life for twenty-five years. If there is anything I need help with, I have plenty of family, friends, and acquaintances I can reach out to for help. I want to provide a disclaimer for specifically this post also- In the previously mentioned paragraph, I need to acknowledge that I am guilty of my own accusations. I have posted inspirational thoughts, quandaries, and supplementary information about being a “good Christian,” or “good person” in general. What I am writing about is an epiphany that I have had in recent months that I would like to share in hopes that you may consider some re-calibration in your act(s) of charity.
The Church I attend every Sunday has just recently helped me to bind together many thoughts that I have had about caring for others. I attend 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Ga, (The BEST Church in the World) and this past weekend, Senior Pastor Kevin Myers began talking about how the church plans to help children not only in our own community, but also in distant parts of the world.
Throughout his sermon, I found myself wondering about what it means to help others. I feel that I truly began to think about what it means to be helpless. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, it would seem as though most people my age… have the mind to be helping others, volunteering their time, and making sacrifices. However, I don’t feel that this is the case. Our world, which is now entangled with social media and the compulsion to constantly produce some means of exposure or promotion for our self, has caused us to think that we are good people. Though I am not condemning the encouraging words or inspirational excerpts, I am saying that they have the potential to make us think we are either doing something or being somebody that we actually are not. Hypocritical is the inspirational post when it it’s followed by inaction. REAL help is sacrifice. Nope, no lambs here… it’s our time we must give. Yes, our time.
Keep in mind we now live in a world where the margins of time are being shaved to within fractions of seconds, a world where the iPhone 4 becomes an antique in the matter of a year, a world where we’re too busy to make a simple phone call; instead, we text. I want to help you re-format how you manage your time. I want you to ask yourself when the last time was that you helped someone. No, not holding a door, not “paying it forward” at Starbucks. No. I am talking about a sacrifice- Something that isn’t about you. After all, other than a nice gesture, what is “paying it forward?” Is it just a way for us to pump up our ego for a moment? Could it be a way to justify that you’re righteous, and a person that makes sacrifices?
I am calling you out just like I have called myself out. Honest time: I became a “Big Brother” with the volunteer organization BBBS Atlanta (Big Brothers Big Sisters) so that I could “help” someone. Initially, I wanted to see if I could be a better person. I wanted to make myself more rounded. I wanted too much for myself. See? I surrounded my thoughts and beliefs around me… that doesn’t work. I have found that volunteering your time isn’t a fairytale, it certainly isn’t convenient, and it sometimes isn’t fun. It’s a sacrifice, and I realized…that’s how you know you’re actually helping someone.
As I mentioned, Pastor Kevin Myers spoke about how he saved his marriage. I love his story every time I hear it. He says that one must “Mutually learn to out-serve the other.” Wow, how true is that? We truly need to know the feeling of forgetting about “me” or “I.” Please, let me make another confession- One of my most helpless moments was when I ran my car out of gas and had to walk a couple miles to and from the closest gas station. The feeling of vulnerability and aloneness is powerful. Laugh if you want, but until you know the feeling of people passing you by on the side of the road, take my advice! I thought about what kind of impact running out of fuel made on me, and now my only thought is “how might it feel to run out of food? Those that don’t have the means to feed themselves need your help.
As we approach the holiday season, I encourage you to think about how to legitimately inconvenience yourself. While I fully understand that our schedules aren’t conducive for it, make time to help someone who truly needs it. There are children who don’t need gifts; they need food. There are babies that don’t need a Facebook share; they need a home and a blanket. There are men and women who are dangling on the fringes of life that don’t need an Instagram quote, they need a prayer from your heart.
So, what does it mean to be selfless? It means exactly what it says. Without your self. In order to truly make in impact on someone else’s life, you have to momentarily disregard your multiple needs and think about the ONE that exists for someone else. I want to quote Pastor Kevin again by saying “many of us are focused on what we can’t do, we end up losing sight of what we can do.” Sacrifice your time and resources for nothing in return. No thanks, no recognition, and no social-media gloating. God gives grace, a gift with no strings attached. Spread God’s light and grace by doing the same this holiday season.
What you may find is that helping someone else goes full-circle. Stop pumping your ego. Pump your heart. Lead by example. We all have so much potential, yet we let it squander in the media-driven world where it will one day disappear like we will. Let your difference last. Make your impact on the spirit of another. That will last forever!