I have this really ugly, nasty habit. I have a few of them, really, like biting my nails and eating the lemons out of the drinks I finish in a restaurant, but this one is probably the worst.
Sometimes I compare myself to other people based on their social media sites.
It’s really easy to claim that Facebook is stupid, that you really don’t care if anyone sees what you post.
Stop it. Stop lying right now. If you are really telling me that whenever you put up a link to that last Youtube video you found amusing or finally hit “tweet” on that thought you fit into 140 characters, that you TRULY don’t care if no one in the world gives you a little recognition, I am calling shenanigans. I make this claim all the time, saying I don’t care if people don’t like me, but the moment I see that someone liked a status or favorited (or heaven forbid, actually retweeted!) something I post, I feel a warm, happy feeling of approval.
And I like it. I like it a lot.
It’s not like I thrive on this stuff. I promise you I don’t sit in front of my computer screen painfully crafting words together for all of the social media world to see and then sit with wide eyes and twitching lips to see who tells me that what I’ve created is good enough. I don’t HAVE to have this approval, it’s not like it is my life blood and sole purpose for living.
But I’ll admit, it really adds something to my day whenever I know someone gave enough care to something I’ve said that they were willing to take the time and energy to press a button that literally tells me they like it.
“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this, compulsive, need, to be liked. Like my need to be praised,” – Michael Scott, The Office
Each time I watch this episode of The Office and hear Michael repeat this quote, something inside me stirs uncomfortably. I laugh a little too loudly to cover it up. Maybe no one noticed how I squirmed in that moment, because I know no one else felt right.
Right? My cousin assured me once that I’m not as much like Michael Scott as I tell myself. ”Honey, you are so much more intelligent and educated and socially aware than Michael Scott. Oh good Lord, trust me,” she claimed, and I could hear her shaking her head at me as she laughed, lovingly of course.
I’m pretty sure more of us struggle with this than we admit. Everyone is thinking it, I’m just saying it! Right?
I’ve spent a lot of time processing/analyzing/freaking over/praying about why I care about something so flipping trivial as being liked. It doesn’t make sense really, except for in this season of my life, it plays into my desire to have every stinking thing I don’t have. I’ve walked through some hard seasons (anyone who has ever been a 16 year old girl can make this claim), but none have been so hard as the past year (oh shoot, let’s get real and vulnerable for the internet, y’all).
People do not like me, and I am well aware of it. I’m not stupid.
It’s not like I’m entirely alone and depressed and without anyone around me. I’m able to move through my day relatively unfazed by this fact. I’ve come to a place where I generally ignore it and focus on the good things instead: I know when a rumor is started out of self defense, I have a roof over my head and a family that loves me, I have a job that (barely) allows me to buy the occasional burrito, and I’m dating a guy who has been there for me through even my worst moments but loves me anyway.
Yet even knowing truth and ignoring the rest, when I am forced to come face to face with reality and have one of these rumors shoved in my face or one more person looks at me and tells me my idea sucks, I’m hit with a whole new wave of frustration.
I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked.
I have to be liked.
Great, now I really am Michael Scott.
In my time praying over this, I found myself turning to the same group of New Testament books I tend to favor. Sometimes I really like to be selective about the Scripture I accept. Some of it is REALLY nice, and really affirming. I love to read through Psalms and praise God for being so freaking cool and mighty and all powerful, and to be encouraged by how He loves me and roots me in His goodness like an olive tree. I can pass up the bits through Leviticus about laws and rules and forbidden shell fish. I generally skip the beginnings of books where you get a 5 page list of “and he was the father of this one who as the father of that one who was the great grandfather of this other one”. It’s pick and choose, really, in my eyes, but I know that isn’t how Scripture works. And God likes to remind of me that by tossing me the hard ones when I pray about things.
He tosses me gems like this one, which are the ones I like to clump in with the genealogies and shell fish, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important or true and applicable:
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you,” – John 15:18-19
Sheesh. It’s one thing to not be liked, but hated? HATED? Hate is such a strong word. Hate is the word that gets you a slap on the wrist as a child or is only applied to things like genocide and root canals.
No one told me when I signed up for this Jesus thing that I signed up to be hated, because let’s be real honest, I’m pretty sure I would have passed that one right up. But I didn’t pass it up, and I’m really glad I didn’t. My life has been a roller coaster ride through some wild, crazy, amazing grace ever since I allowed the Lord to pursue my heart. With that comes Scripture, all of it, and He assures us the path won’t be easy.
Love the Lord, reject the world. We’re taught it from the beginning. However, we really like to overlook the reality of that whole “the world hates you” part of it, and that is such a hard concept to swallow. We aren’t alone, though, and we never have been. The verse doesn’t lay out this hopeless sense of rejection and flying solo through this war of hate. Before anyone ever hated us, the world hated Christ enough to send Him to a sinner’s death on the cross, and if that isn’t a hate that outweighs hate of genocide and root canals, I don’t know what is.
Sure, I’ve hated someone before, but I can’t say my first reaction would have been to nail them to a giant piece of wood and watch them asphyxiate. That is an insane kind of hate, but that is the kind of hate that Jesus saw from the world before any of us ever saw hate from another human being.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will havetribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Thankfully, we don’t have to live with this hate forever. Rumors and lies and blatant disrespect are but fleeting vapors, the repulsive gaseous output of a lost and hateful world, but the Truth that comes from Jesus Christ is a solid, everlasting, priceless foundation. He is the Creator who formed me from my innermost being and breathed life into my lungs and wrote purpose upon my heart, and He is the same Savior who tasted the bitter sting of death to defeat Satan and save those same hateful people in that same hateful world that sent Him there in the first place.
And if Jesus took that kind of hate from the very people He came to save, I’m pretty sure I can live another day without a person liking my Facebook status.