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    4 Things to Ask Yourself Before Posting Something to Social Media

    Your best friend ignored you all day. Your latest crush sent you flowers. You got a terrible grade on your math test. You and your best friend just took some really cute selfies. What’s the first thing you probably have the urge to do? Share it all through social media.

    Social media outlets like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter make it incredibly easy to broadcast to the world (or at least our corner of it) exactly what’s happening to us in real time. But as a Christian, how much should we show and tell? What’s better off left unsaid?

    Before you post your next selfie or send your next sentence, remember the word HEAL. What does that mean? It means exactly this: ask yourself before you share if your post or pic is Helpful, Encouraging, Affirming or Loving.

    1. Is it Helpful? You found a great joke and want to pass it on, but you have to admit it’s not exactly clean. Your math teacher is the worst and you’d like to vent about her online. Or maybe you want to promote a crowdfunding site to help raise money for a family trying to adopt. Before you post, ask yourself if what you’re about to share is helpful.

    Is it helpful to your reputation, or are you about to share a little too much? Would it be helpful to a fellow Christian, or could it be helpful to someone who doesn’t know Christ? Proverbs 15:4 says, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.” Put your online influence to work in a way that would help anyone who sees your posts (including you!) want to be better, do better and feel better.

    2. Is it Encouraging? Are you about to post something that might hurt someone’s feelings? Are you putting words out there that cut anyone down, including yourself? Stop before you post and look at your photos with a critical eye. Would your friend in the picture be embarrassed? Are the clothes you are wearing too revealing? Are you about to gossip about someone else?

    Make sure your motive for sharing is to encourage yourself or someone else. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”

    3. Is it Affirming? To affirm something means to state something positively, maintain it as true and to uphold and support (according to Dictionary.com). Who are you affirming—upholding and supporting—in your social media outlets?

    Are you affirming your love for Christ? How many of your posts and photos support other Christians or Christian ministries? Be bold enough to post your favorite Bible verses, uplifting quotes, and positive thoughts and prayers of your own. “Like” pages that show what you believe. Your texts, pins, posts and pics can take a stand and show off your love for Jesus. 1 Timothy 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” There are certainly tons of witnesses on social media every day. You are joining in the “good fight” when you use social media to support your faith.

    4. Is it Loving? If you’re super mad at your parents and immediately get online and tell your friends on Facebook or Instachat what jerks they are, are you demonstrating love? On the other hand, if your mom made a special lunch for you today or you had a great heart-to-heart with her last night, a kind text, heartwarming quote or a quick post on her page can show her how much you care. Next time you’re about to go to your favorite social media sites, aim to be loving to all. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble.”

    The Internet can be a great place to give and receive kind words, pretty pictures and uplifting messages. But when your negative thoughts and feelings fight hard to spill out online, remember that a little sharing goes a long way. As Proverbs 10:19 says, “Don’t talk [or post] so much. You keep putting your foot in your mouth. Be sensible and turn off the flow!”

    PI Girls, what do you think about this list? Do you ask yourself any of these questions before posting to social media? Will you now?

    Natalie Gillespie
    Natalie Gillespie is the mom, stepmom and adoptive mom of nine kids, as well as a best-selling author, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of "Into the Light: My Journey from the Glare of Hollywood to the Glow of God's Love" with Nicole Weider.

    12 COMMENTS

    1. This is a really good way to remember to be kind on social media websites! Often, in this technology inundated world, we share details of our lives that, if you really think about it, might not necessarily need to be shared. There is some truth in John Locke’s Tabula Rosa because if we surround ourselves with encouraging and uplifting things, our daily lives are going to be generally more positive! But, if we always post things that confuse, annoy, and even anger us, are we really uplifting everyone who’s reading our posts? I think that social media is one place where Christians should shine as different than the rest of the world. If we just think about our words before putting them online, we will be showing the light of Christ to the world!

    2. I really like this article! I am learning to post with right motives and to share what God has put on my heart to lift someone else up. As this is processing still in my life right now, I’m happy I read this! HEAL – 😉

    3. This is great! Definitely really helpful. I gave up social media (aka Instagram and Facebook) for Lent, and it’s been great because I’ve had so much extra time and some quality moments to think about important things in my life.

      I’ll definitely apply HEAL, simply because I KNOW that I don’t demonstrate my faith enough on social media. It’s awful, and I know I can do better. It all matters with who I want to be. <3

    4. This is a very interesting article–but I also wonder to what extremes it ought to be practiced?

      I often find myself “turned off” by many Christian pages, because their messages are so forcing that I don’t like them lingering on my page: “share if you agree!” “like if you want God’s love now” “1 Share=1 Prayer” or a particularly distasteful one “God sees what you’re doing right now, so you should share and prove your love for Him”. It comes off with a forced implication–saying you must feel obligated to share because a Christian can only express their beliefs by sharing or liking this one photo. It almost perpetuates the idea most people have about Christians; that we’ll force our ideals upon you until you finally oblige because of our force, not because you’re in any ways willing. I think that God would rather us share because we enjoy the story or want to spread that prayer or scripture, not because it says that we must in order to prove our Christianity. I’m firm enough in my beliefs enough to know that God loves me regardless of whether or not I share that photo saying he only loves me if I do, but I don’t want to imply to someone else that it’s absolutely necessary, in the same way that I don’t share rude or distasteful content because it may imply that those sorts of things are acceptable.

      Care to share your thoughts on this?

    5. ill admit, i get the urge to just pour out my emotions online. however, as a writer, i tend to do it in a more coded way…transform the feelings to a beautiful piece of poetry. or i use my posts as though i were advising myself. in that way, help not just me but anyone else going through something similar. however though, about a week ago, something very personal and sensitive happened. i was tempted to post about it. and i did. made two coded posts on fb. however i admit, i was too emotional and i knew further access would make me post stuff that would hurt me and those i love. so yea…my Facebook account has been blocked for a lil over a week now. better safe than sorry 🙂 (it also helps to have my elder bro on fb. he does not hesitate to pm me”what was that? take it down.” love my big bro. ^_^

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