Whether you like her, dislike her, used to like her, or used to NOT like her, you definitely know who I’m talking about when I say: Taylor Swift. You also know that just over a week ago she released her new album “Reputation”. She is arguably the most famous pop star of this generation. Even if you actively try to avoid hearing about her, you can’t. I’ve often told people that during every significant event in my life since her debut, there has been a Taylor Swift song playing. Sounds dramatic, but it’s actually not! I could write a whole post on just that alone!
Being the “Swiftie” that I am, I couldn’t wait for her new album to come in the mail. Her choice in the release of her first single “Look What You Made Me Do” combined with the title “Reputation” for the album gave me and the rest of the world the impression that this album was going to be about revenge. But, when I played it for the first time I found something entirely different. The title “Reputation” is accurate, but the theme of the album isn’t just Taylor’s reputation in the media, it’s so much broader than that. It’s about all of us in this culture obsessed with portraying ourselves a certain way online.
If you post something negative about your life on facebook without the words “please pray for me” tacked onto the end, people will probably get mad at you for it or find it extremely annoying. Obviously, no one wants to see on their news feed that which should be reserved for people you are actually close with. Makes everyone uncomfortable. So, instead of doing THAT most of us just post our proudest moments, our best hair days, our prettiest meals, and of course our most flattering gym selfies. Posting on social media platforms is like putting our families’ scrapbooks on display for literally the entire world to see, except with more details.
And we like our “likes”. The attention and false sense of connection to others drives us into addiction. I’m guilty. It’s nerve wracking to be away from your smart phone these days. We want to be involved, we want to know what’s going on, we want to parade our lives about and show people how great and fine we’re doing even when we are falling apart. It’s comforting to us somehow, knowing that in the worlds of facebook, twitter, and instagram our lives look really great. Online, we create the kind of person we want to be and portray ourselves that way. And sometimes, others even twist that ideal we’ve created into something ugly and use it against us. Much in the way the media portrays Taylor as being a serial dater.
We as a society hold the belief that “If I don’t post it on social media, then it probably didn’t happen.” No one consciously believes this, but you know the feeling when something good is happening and you just HAVE to get your camera out so you can post it. I think that posting about things gives us a sense of permanence. It’s like we are writing a history book of our lives with deleted chapters and fake names. And we write it to be remembered…the histories of the glories of our lives forever preserved in pixels and data clouds.
We all have a reputation. Here’s the thing though, God is writing the actual history book. With real names and with every chapter accounted for and written out in black and white. Our preoccupation with our image and social media really points to a deeper underlying desire that we all have. We want to have beautiful lives and to be remembered. But, we forget that we are already remembered. Christ remembers us every day. Whether you’ve accepted Him or not. AND! He wants to make our lives beautiful. His beautiful looks absolutely nothing like our beautiful though. It doesn’t happen on our proudest days but on our humblest ones. Our idea of beauty is something that draws attention to itself, while His is in the little acts of faithfulness that only He sees.
I’m not shaming social media. This isn’t a battle cry to banish it from our lives forever. I’m a millennial to the core and I and think it’s a great tool. This is just a post for a moment of thought on the subject. I don’t think it should be as consuming to us as it is. Like, while you’re busy taking a picture of something with your smart phone, you’re forgetting to take a picture of it with your own eyes and store it in your mind. When we escape into our fantasy lives online, we start losing interest in our real ones. We want our likes from man so much that we forget to want the approval of a God who actually sees and knows everything about us.
Let’s become our real selves. Good, bad, and ugly because it’s all a part of a story to give God the glory! Your moments DO matter and they DID happen whether you post about them or not. So, take it easy with those post and tweet buttons! You don’t have to try so hard. ❤