She logged on, thinking it was no big deal. The fake profile was a joke at first, but she was surprised by the attention that came as a result. For a girl who had always felt unloved and unnoticed, this attention pulled her in each time she entered her username and password.
I have heard this story several times recently and everything in me wants to respond to it. I could get going on the 20 items in my inbox and change the strings on my guitar that are begging for it, but I can’t move on until I get this one thing off my heart.
Girls, is your online life…honest? It always begins with innocence, as a joke, or a funny idea you came up with during a sleepover. Create a fake profile on Facebook or some other social network, and see who wants to befriend you.
The first couple of requests make you laugh, and it feels like everyone wants to be at YOUR party. But the next request is different. The guy is cute and looks familiar. And somehow a conversation develops into a friendship (or friend-lation-ship). Despite the fact that friendships have to be based on truth to be legit friendships, you are pulled in. Pretending now has advantages, on the surface. You can get to know people easier, right? You are freer to speak your mind, say what you always wanted to say but never had the courage to.
What happens next?
Your heart speaks up, and says that you know this person well, but the truth isn’t always found in your heart. You weren’t honest in the beginning and neither was he (most likely). Any relationship built on a lie is bound to end in failure. So what? Just move on. Right? Not exactly. He asks to meet you, and you leave the conversation for a few days to think about it. Do you shut down the profile or take a chance with your risky acquaintance? Our greatest enemy is the thing that seems ‘good enough’, when the right choice is turning to a completely different path. Carefully think through what could happen if this person turns out to be dangerous, controlling, and unstable…
Too many girls fall for the trap of creating an online personality that doesn’t reflect who they are at all. It’s easier to be someone else, than to be confident in who God has made us to be. You can never have a happily-ever-after if you don’t begin with honesty-here-and-now.
So, what now? Whether or not you’ve found yourself in this situation, now is a good time to take inventory. And clean house if necessary.
1. Look at your profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…everything), and ask yourself “is this me?” “Am I trying to be someone I’m not?”
2. Say farewell to “friends” you don’t really know (and let’s be honest…if you haven’t met them, why are they your friend online?).
3. Invite your mom or dad (or an older sibling) to know your online life. All of it. It takes courage to allow some light into your house, since you might discover it needs be cleaned out. I promise, you will breathe better in a cleaner, fresher space. Honesty in our lives before our family and friends gives us the peace we can’t truly live without.
One of my favorite passages comes from Ephesians 3:17. Paul’s prayer for us is that we would be rooted and established in love. And that we will have power, together with all believers, to fully grasp the love of Christ. You and I need roots that go deep into the soil of God’s amazing love for us. No earthly relationship will ever reach this divine depth that our hearts are meant to find. We will always feel unsettled, insecure, and alone, until we sink deep into this soil.
Girls, establish your everyday life – online and offline – in the love that Christ has for you. Let it change the way you log on.