Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Lovebook

I've blogged enough about how fed up I get with Facebook.

But over coffee with a friend, the topic turned to Facebook and I realised that I was not the only one discouraged by narcissism.  My friend and I talked about how or even if we could change the Facebook culture of "Look at me....look at me."  We admitted we often succumb to the temptation of gaining attention for ourselves while neglecting others.

Then the answer came from Facebook itself.

The 30 Day Facebook/Lovebook Challenge was created by a guy called Scott Stirling.  Here's an extract of what he wrote on the Lovebook page:

So much of our lives, especially on Facebook, is all about us. Heard a message (twice!) by Penny Webb at Riverview that got me thinking; its time we focus on others instead of ourselves.
So starting at the beginning of next month, I will be taking the challenge of updating my Facebook status with a positive, true and encouraging comment about somebody else who I know. They'll be tagged in ...the comment, and if you agree with the encouragement, like it and/or comment on. One click at the encouragement multiplies. One click that could change someone's day, or even their life.
It'll be a different person every day, for 30 days. Here's the catch; I challenge you to do the same. One status a day that's not about your own status. One sentence a day where instead of posts that boast about ourselves, we 'love on' other people.

So, inspired by Meredith, who completed the 30 day challenge, I began to write less posts about myself and more about others.  This is not to blow my own trumpet.  Encouraging other people is so easy, yet so difficult at the same time.  I have not done the challenge on consecutive days.  In fact, I've only done 19 days so far and I started in July.

I've also realised that Satan will do anything to stop Christians encouraging others.  He has got in my ear so many times, whispering to me to give up.  At first I was only going to do seven days, but I felt God speaking to me to keep going and do the full 30 days.  So here I am, up to Day 20.  These are some of things I've been hearing from Satan that I've wrestled with along the way.

"You won't encourage that person.  They hate attention.  They'll get embarrassed and then hate you for drawing attention to them on Facebook."

"You hate it when people don't reply to messages, Sarah.  You know some people will not care less whether you said something nice to them.  You're wasting your time."

"You'll look like a tryhard suck.  Save yourself the embarrassment."

"But think of all the comments and likes you could get if you wrote about yourself."

It's strange that something so small as writing an encouraging post about someone on Facebook has turned into such a spiritual battle for me.  Every time Satan whispers his lies, I've had to grit my teeth, declare them to be lies, and remember what God says in His Word.

Galatians 6:9-10 is such an encouragement to me.  We must not grow weary in doing good because we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  God never promised I would see this harvest.  He never promised that people would feel encouraged and thank me for it.  Although the temptation to seek accolades is always there, I have to remind myself that love and obedience is never a waste of time.

So when I hear that voice telling me no-one will ever be encouraged, I hear another one rebuking it.

"But what if they are?  What if someone was really down and your words lifted their spirits?"


bettyl said...

I have never felt open enough to post personal stuff, but that doesn't make me any better than those that do. Good on you for your encouragement and not giving up. I hope more take up the challenge. I shall pass it on!

Annette said...

so how goes the battle today? what choices are you making to be a better encourager?

Sarah said...

Thanks Betty. My Lovebook statuses usually consist of just saying that I appreciate their friendship (and list some of the qualities in particular i.e. kind, thoughtful, encouraging) or congratulating them and wishing them well with something (new baby, engagement etc). I don't include anything that was shared in confidence and it's usually in response to something they wrote on Facebook themselves.

Hi Annette, I think each day that I do the Lovebook (which is not every day), I have to make the decision to pray and listen to what God is saying. So if I feel His Spirit prompting me to speak encouraging words to someone, I want to do it even though I may have some fear.