We’ve all done it. I pull up to the pick up line to pick up my kids from school and I can see my friend in her car waiting also for the bell to ring. Phone in my hand, I send her a text “I’m watching you” and she immediately looks around trying to find me. I have a big grin on my face and we both laugh and wave. It’s fun, we smile and then move on.
Another scene: I get upset at the person who almost ran over my kid in the parking lot. Phone in my hand, I post on facebook how people are so inconsiderate, I get several likes throughout the day, I feel justified in my emotion. It’s informative, I feel better and then move on.
Another scene: My child’s coach benched my kid for her bad attitude. Phone in hand, I post a rant about how it’s about the game not about winning, how some people take their public positions too seriously, and how I am taking my kid out of sports forever because the system is rigged against girls. I get several likes throughout the day. I feel justified in my emotion. It’s passionate, I feel better and then move on
There are so many other examples of these “scenes” I can give! As a very wise woman once told me: “Anna, you feel things very strongly.” Madam, yes I do! Some people call it passion, others soul or having convictions, or just plain emotional. And there is nothing inherently wrong with having strong feelings about true things. But there is something wrong when you have to constantly let someone or, in many cases, everyone know about your feelings.
Our phones are in our hands constantly. Even when my teenager is grounded from his phone, he “just wants to hold it” and know it’s there. Our phones and letting people know everything has become our comfort blanket. The time to sit and pause when we feel something strongly gets shorter every second. Even when our kids do something sweet for us, we don’t even take time to relish in their act of love. Can I confess: I’ve even asked my child to “redo” that act of love so I could post it on line. The beauty of God’s world, the cute things my children do, the romantic whims of my husband, the great Bible study I read, an elevating time during prayer, and even when I am sinning in my anger – I lay out for all the world to see.
Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart”. Luke interviewed Mary for his gospel (Luke 1:1-3) because there is no other way he would know that she “pondered about things”, unless she told him. What was she pondering? We can only guess. Maybe it was about her delivery of Jesus, about what she though when she held the Savior of the world, about what she felt when the angels glorified Him, what she sensed when she heard the shepherds exclaim in joy and awe, or her gratitude for the gifts of the Magi. These precious moments were private, as many other things should be. We must fight the temptation to post or text quickly. There is nothing wrong with posting cute things, or how the Lord has blessed you. All I am advocating is that we take the time to treasure these moments in our heart. To ponder over our pain or the unjust done by others and seek out comfort through prayer, through Bible verses and even through sound advice from a trusted sanctifying friend. To think through our persecutions, our trials and our struggles in the light of the Gospel and our testimony. Maybe even to take the time to thank God for those blessings or pray for strength to be a good Christian witness. And maybe, even to talk to our kids and thank them and hug them for not being little heathens that day.
I Thessalonians 4:11-12 says, “. . . aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and . . . so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” When non-believers see our posts complaining, ranting, venting, or “just saying” we run the risk of ruining our testimony. We fail to act properly. As Christians we should first run to God, our spouse and then maybe to a trusted friend before we tell the world our feelings – especially if we are experiencing strong feelings.
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Don’t get defensive when another brother or sister corrects you in love. What a paradox, we want everyone to know what we think, but do not want to hear what others have to say about what we think. Prepare yourself for reproof if you forget yourself while in the throws of passionate reprisals. And we should be careful not to be tempted to get in on an unloving rant, or like the self-righteous post.
My dear brother or sister, I say these things because I am preaching to myself. I am so tempted to share my anger, my joy, my pain, any and all of my feelings. There is no wisdom in this.
Proverbs 17: 27-28 says, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Philippians 2:14-16 says, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”
“I wish there were less stars in the sky”, said no one ever. Let’s be stars.