blog friends · church · facebook · faith · real life friends · theology

Facebook, Narcissism, & Philippians 2

 

I have never been “popular.” Throughout school, I had friends, sure, but I certainly was never high up in the ranks with the rich kids, the cheerleaders, or the prom queen types. I had a core group with whom I ran around, and I even eventually married one of them 🙂
 
In college the pattern continued: not “popular,” but I certainly had friends. Grad school was different. The first round of schooling yielded a simple three friends (we were in a brand new program together), and seminary, the second round, produced three or four more “good” friends.
My friendships inevitably faded as I moved away. With one major exception, there were not fights, or blowups, or cataclysmic events that ended our friendships. Mostly, my friends and I drifted apart as I moved from state to state to state. I am fairly confident that if I ran into the vast majority of these people nowadays, we’d laugh and smile, and we’d share a fun memory or two.
My two best, and longest lasting, friendships originated at my childhood church. I am still close to these women today, even though we live miles and miles apart. I think there’s definitely something to be said for basing your friendships in Jesus.
I’m old enough (snort) that electronics didn’t play a role in my relationships until after I was married. Yes, my husband and I emailed one another every day while we were dating and engaged, but that was it. And that was super private.
In the past few years, I have struggled with the combination of friendships and, let’s say, social media. On the one hand, I have “met” some wonderful women whom I consider dear friends through this very medium of blogging. We are friends on Facebook, and we walk alongside one another on this path of (adoptive) motherhood.
I know what’s happening with friends far away, and who needs prayer right now. Little kids grow up in pictures and funny anecdotes.
On the other hand…
On the other hand I have seen a level of rampant narcissism that literally (yes, literally) turns my stomach. And it is the worst, unfortunately, amongst people claiming to be Christians. It’s one thing to crow about yourself 24/7, brag about your beauty, your brains, your marriage, and post selfie after countless selfie if you don’t claim to be a follower of Christ.
But…Philippians 2:3 says “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourself.” Loving Jesus, being His follower, does not translate well, when you are puffed up and full of yourself. It’s sickening, actually.
When you post picture after picture during your “date night with hubby” at an expensive restaurant…how does that fit in with Philippians? (as a side note…put down your phone and spend time with your husband!)
When you take a new picture of just your face every twelve days…or every twelve hours…how is that exhibiting humility?
How honest are you being if everything you post is a brag or a boast designed to show off your perfect kids…perfect life…perfect house…tons of money? Or even worse…to do nothing but complain about your kids, your life, your spouse?
It just makes me sad and sick.
Recently I unfriended? defriended? a number of people on Facebook. Anyone who regularly complained about their children or spouse, or shamed their children, was nixed, as were people I don’t see on a regular basis. I also took the plunge and deleted the links to everyone from our former church who fit those categories, hadn’t contacted us, or was obviously falling for the false doctrines.
It was hard, but it was definitely the right choice. I don’t feel dread or anger anymore so much when I log onto my account.
But I certainly miss the days when I didn’t really know how narcissistic and self-obsessed people were. 😉

3 thoughts on “Facebook, Narcissism, & Philippians 2

  1. So I just checked, and we're still friends, which is good 😉 …. Because this whole post just makes me want to say AMEN. Of course, I'm not reading it until nearly a month later, which may also say something about how much I hang out in social media, lol! However, I WILL say that I do count you among those dear friends of mine that I rarely cross paths with in real life but am so deeply touched by the online posts of. So keep up the good work, mama!

    Like

  2. Elizabeth – I *totally* want to share pictures of my adorable kid, too. But I'm also starting to struggle with what is mine to share, and what is his. I find myself asking for his permission, lately. And sometimes he will say, “Put this on Facebook, Mommy!” I want to protect him, though. Even though my security settings are pretty stringent, I don't want his images out there for the whole world, you know!

    Amypfan – AMEN! You are my friend 🙂 And I read your posts and just feel exhausted!! I have no idea how you are even upright after this semester, let alone coherent enough to comment on a blog. I hope this semester is a little more…kind? less stressful? whatever you need!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s