I think it’s safe to say that I am not the only one who gets encouraged when people like my social media posts and choose to follow me. I would also confidently say that I am not the only one who gets her feelings hurt sometimes when people write mean comments and choose to unfollow me. When I think about likes and follows, many things come to mind, but one thing in particular is the word inconsistent.
I remember one time I was streaming an Instagram Live and I had someone tell me that I was hideous and mere moments later someone else tell me that I was beautiful. I laughed a little bit to myself because I just thought about how confused I would be if I took both of their comments as truth. Within a matter of seconds, I would have gone from thinking that I was hideous to thinking I was beautiful.
If I believe deep down that I am defined by what people have to say about me, then I am setting myself up to constantly wrestle with what is actually true about myself.
My mother-in-law once shared with me that there are times when we need to be rubber and other times we need to be a sponge. She said that there will be times when I hear words from people that I need to let bounce off of me and not take ownership of. At other times, there will be words people share that I do need to receive and heed. If I don’t have the discernment between when to soak up words versus when to disregard them, I could very easily take hold of words and opinions that are not mine to keep.
I believe we do this a lot on social media. We are sponges to every positive comment, every follow, and every like. But because we are sponges to these things, we also soak up every unfollow and rude remark. When we believe that our identity is associated with whether we are liked and followed, we are living for the approval of people. We will post only what we think everyone will like. We will dress only how we think everyone is expecting us to dress. We will say only what we assume everyone is desiring for us to say. If we do this for too long, we will end up exhausted and unable to even recognize ourselves.
Seeking to please every human is a burden that we were never designed to carry — an expectation we can never possibly meet. This is why it is so important that we know what God says. Walking in accordance with God’s Word keeps us steady in the midst of unsteady opinions.
When we get wrapped up in what people are saying about us and find ourselves willing to conform for the approval of people, we must pause and be honest about who we really want praise from. We cannot live for the approval of God and the approval of people.
Jesus said something in John 12:42-43 that catches my attention. To set the scene here, there were some authorities who believed in Jesus, but out of fear that the Pharisees would kick them out of the synagogue, they stayed quiet about their faith. In verse 43, Jesus said of them, “For they loved human praise more than the praise of God”.
This stops me in my tracks. People wanting to be liked and followed is not new. A couple thousand years ago it showed up in a synagogue and today it shows up on social media and in a myriad of other ways. People are going to like you one minute, and people are going to unfollow you the next. That is not a question. But the questions are: Does the approval of people hold more weight on your heart than the approval of the Lord? Do the words of people hold more weight than the words of God? Do you believe your worth is summed up in what people have to say about you or in what God has already said about you?
Let’s all sit with that today.
– This article is written by Emma Mae McDaniel. Emma Mae is a lover of Jesus and people, an author, and a speaker. Emma travels throughout the country speaking at conferences and retreats to be a messenger of God’s Word. Through social media, YouTube, and her podcast called “Have You Heard?”, Emma seeks to glorify God and invest in the lives of thousands worldwide.
God is the only One who gets to identify who we are. In her new book, You Are: Realizing Who You Are Because of Who God Is, Emma Mae breaks down thirty labels that women of God struggle with ― either because we think we deserve the “bad” labels or don’t know how to embrace the “good” ones.
This book helps you understand that God knows who you are: You are talented and inspiring and brave; you possess both confidence and tenderness; you are protected and gentle and amazing. Interactive elements guide you to embrace your value and place as a woman of God.
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Giveaway open to US addresses only and closes on 8/5/22 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
Thank you much needed!
What a wonderful article, Emma Mae! Thank you.
I loved this devotional today! I think it’s message can also be applied to areas in our lives outside of social media too: things our family, friends, or coworkers say about us. It’s certainly a message I need to soak in and hear this morning. I am on a journey to begin only living my life as who God says I am, not who the world says I am.
This sounds like such a helpful tool. I have been struggling with this lately.
Thank you for the reminder to always look at ourselves through God’s eyes. I especially love the illustration of the rubber and the sponge— Lord, give us the wisdom to know when we need to be each of those.
Lisa Wilt says
Your thoughts on the variability of social media and comments people make remind me of something I read years ago in the book, Jesus CEO. The author used the picture of a person with one foot still on a dock and one foot in a boat to describe serving both God and man. The picture shows how unstable we can be. We only need to be concerned about what God says about us!
Jennifer Smith says
Truly, there is nothing new under the sun!
The need for approval, acceptance and accolades runs deep in this sister’s heart, but the Lord is tenderly revealing the bottom line about that: it’s an idol that He says has got to go!
Thank you for speaking the truth in love, and with power today!
Dawn Ferguson-Liitle says
Emma thank you for what you wrote. So true what your Mother-in-law said. Sometimes we need to be a rubber and rub out of heads and hearts things people say to us that are not nice or hurtful. We at time it good have to be like a sponge soak up the nice things people say about us. As they will make our hearts glad. Remember them in our hearts. Thank God for them being nice to us. But it can hurt if by someones words it can hurt. We have to stop and say to ourselves what would Jesus do. I have said that often in my life to do with the saved and the unsaved. As they both types of people have hurt me with their words. I especially thought the saved person would have the knen better and not been so hurtful. Especially when I know I have done or said nothing wrong. As I was only making a point why I couldn’t do something. They hurt me with their words by their reply. So I did the right thing didn’t get into a depate about it or say to them. Your reply to me only explaining why I could not do something was not nice. As they are the type they have answer for me. Then then that could cause rows. I know Satan would have wanted that. I just prayed for them as God to help me forgive them and I moved on. But how easy it would have for me to say words back to them to let them know they hurt me by what they said. But just as easy to give it to God like I did. When it was a person close to me that not nice with words they are not saved. I was hurt by what they said to me. But I knew to do the same thing as I did to person that was saved that should have knew better because they were saved. I prayed and asked God to help me forgive them. I had in both opinions when said to me by one saved person and one not saved. To keep steady and not let what both said to me get to me or annoy me and hurt me. I did what God would want me to do is pray for them and forgive them. God I knew when I did that was smiling down at me saying Dawn you did the right thing in both theses cases. As every time if you had not when you see the people. It would make you not love them or want anything to do with them. But that wouldn’t have be right. God said look at all the people did to my son Jesus. He still showed them love he didn’t retaliate. We the saved are to do the same. I glad I listen to God. As when I see them or chatting to them what they did I will never forget. But it doesn’t annoy me any more. I am glad. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx
Sonia-Rose Lyle says
This is a timely read. ❤️
It is so easy for us to take to heart the things said to us and about us. We have to use God’s wisdom in discerning what to internalize. I would be very interested in reading this book. Thank you for a chance to win one!
Karisha Gillenwater says
LOVE this today. It very much resonates with me.
Krystal Killy says
So true, especially with women. Everyday I’m trying to be the best version of me I can be. For my boss, my co-workers, my husband, my kids, my friends, my parents, my sister, my brothers…. It can all be so overwhelming to be liked, then to add social media on top of it. We all wanna be liked. But we do tend to put what others think about us over what God thinks. It’s a hard path to not walk. Thank you for these reminders today!
Love this!! It’s challenging to not be too spongy! 🙂
Y’all have a great day. Thanks for your uplifting posts!
Kateri Burnett says
This article so hit home with many of my friends and me. We have been on YouTube for many years, and the many people who have posted mean things about us have been huge, But I have done my best to be the person God has wanted me to be. I have let these people say their things, and I move forward and hang on to the positive comments. If we let the negative run our lives, we will fall on the wrong path. I try to be a positive lady and pass that along to others as they go through the negative comments. I know that some people are hurt, and they release their anger on others, not revealing what they are doing, and then others just don’t know any better because of their home life. God has been a huge part of my life in the last 25-30 years, and the older I get, the more I learn.
Thank You for this I have passed the article along to others that might get help from it.
I only live for the Lord!
Janet Williams says
Thank you Emma…and Thank you’re mother in law too! I love the rubber and sponge. It kind of takes the power out of the judgement of other people’s perception of us. I will pass those words along to my daughter….young in life, marriage and mommy-hood!
I’m so grateful for God’s guidance in wisdom. It’s so precious as I continue to age in life and His word \0/
Thank you for this reminder!! Such a loving challenge to consider where we gain our sense of value from.
The only person I need to live for is Jesus. Dear God please help me to work as you would want me to for your glory and purpose
Nancy Ruegg says
Important truth here, Emma. Thank you for the reminder that “walking in accordance with God’s Word keeps us steady in the midst of unsteady opinions.” You’ve reminded me of 1 John 4:1–“Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” He helps us with the discernment process also, IF we ask. There’s my point of weakness: I can get wrapped up in a comment and forget that important step of bringing it to my Heavenly Father for testing!
I love the thought of being ‘rubber’ or a ‘sponge’ a different times! I’m going to remember that advice for my teens.
Just what I needed to hear.
This is such a timely and encouraging message!
Kathy McKinsey says
This is so important.:)
I used to be very concerned with what people thought or said about me, but a few years ago I grew weary of being a people pleaser and realized how tiring it was to live that way. I also learned that it is better to be who God created me to be…an original and unique creation who brings different gifts and talents. When I seek to please people am I not telling God He made a mistake in creating me…I decided pleasing God is far more rewarding and when you know God unconditionally loves you…I think it is a no-brainer as to who we should be seeking to please! Your book sounds good…I hope it touches and helps many women and God bless you!
Kayleen Fuller says
Loved this podcast episode. I used to be a people pleaser and it was exhausting. This one really spoke to me especially the ball and sponge analogy.
Loved listening to you this morning
JA Gralinski says
Would LOVE to win a copy to share w/ my daughter who is struggling with faith and making some poor life choices but was always very spiritual growing up.
Beth Williams says
People are fickle. They like you one minute then you are on the outs. That is super hard, especially for young people. I admit that I enjoy it when people like me. You may often hear me say “If you don’t like me the way I am then talk to God. For He is the one who created me this way.” It’s my way of thwarting the naysayers & haters. I’ve no time for the approval of man. It is God’s opinion that counts in my book.
This is so true. Social media has made the world a bit more chaotic and distracting from our true source of love ❤️