Isn’t this the “thing” these days? Going viral? Yep. Log on to Twitter and you’ll see a list of #trendingtopics on the left side. Log on to Facebook and you’ll probably see the same video posted by many of your friends, or liked pages. It seems going viral is a very important achievement in the internet’s 30-second fame era.
When I was in high school, if you went “viral” it didn’t mean anything good. Although that was probably not the word used back then (and I’m NOT that old). I went to an old-fashioned Episcopal school, where uniforms were used. Your uniform skirt had to be right above the knee or under it and it had pleats that needed to be thoroughly ironed. Your shoes needed to be of a certain type, completely black and accompanied by regular white socks (no frills on them). You couldn’t wear any jewelry besides a regular watch, no nail polish or makeup, no heavy perfume and your hair accessories needed to match your uniform (either red, white, blue or nude). Yes, it was a very strict school. And I hope it still is.
They were not only strict with the dress code, they were strict with language, behavior, cleanliness, even the way you sat at your desk or walked. If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend at school you both had to have written permission from your parents and all the teachers had to know about it. If they caught you holding hands and you didn’t have boyfriend/girlfriend permission..uh, oh..you were in for some trouble.
I was a well-behaved student most of the time, my household was very strict as well. But I wasn’t perfect, and some rules, well, they were just plain ridiculous to me. Why couldn’t I wear makeup? I have always had these prominent dark circles under my eyes, the hereditary ones that don’t go away no matter how many creams you apply. And they made me feel insecure about myself. Teenage girls and insecurity? Nah! That doesn’t happen! So I was always applying concealer and trying to make it go unnoticed. I was also addicted to Chapstick, especially the berry-flavored ones. Some of them even hinted color.
So one day, I got in trouble for wearing Chapstick (not real bad trouble, but for a girl who never go into trouble, getting into the tiniest problem at school was the end of the world). Our math teacher in the 8th grade, a very handsome gentleman from Spain on who all girls had a crush on, caught me wearing the berry-flavored-hint-of-color-substance on my lips, and came up to me and said, “You shouldn’t be wearing makeup. Take if off please.” And of course, I did. Who wouldn’t want to be publicly scolded by the handsomest math teacher in the world?
Nowadays, I see all different kinds of trouble…tougher kinds, and yes, even some jaw-dropping ones. The “devices of the devil” as one theater director I used to work with called them: mobile phones. Ah, yes. These little tiny devices that make your life easier but that can also make your life a living bad dream. They record conversations, the written and spoken types, they store photos and videos, and some of these, NEVER go away.
Do you remember diaries? I used to own one when I was about 12 or 13 years old. It even had a lock in it. My mother used to tell me “Hay cosas que se piensan y no se escriben.” Which translates to “There are things that you think, but don’t write.” What she wanted was to protect me from publishing my thoughts in something that could become public and subject myself to the scrutiny and judgement of others.
Social media is the world’s biggest diary. But I find that nowadays, it doesn’t have a lock..either because the social media platforms prefer it that way and keep on changing your privacy settings without telling you, or because the users prefer it that way. You scroll down your Facebook news feed and find all these beautiful girls taking almost nude to nude pictures of themselves, thinking that only their “friends” will see them. But, how easy is it to “Save Picture As…” and put it out there again?
I’m ashamed to admit I was one of those girls. I suffered from self-obsession (or complete and utter insecurity and abandonment of Jesus in my life), so you would find pictures that did not adhere to decency rules on my Facebook page. Now, I’ve never had a model-type body, nor sick pack abs or anything that great to showcase (LOL), but the way my face expressions were, or the clothing I was wearing wasn’t necessarily modest.
So, some of you will probably be going “Whatever!” Right about now. “Don’t be so uptight girl!” “We all do this, it’s not a sin!”
Let me tell you a little bit more…
You’ve heard the expression “Bad publicity is still good publicity.” You see all these Hollywood actresses walking around in almost-there dresses and prancing their awesome bodies around, and you secretly think, if I could only have that body. Now, I’m not going to judge them. But I will judge myself. All my past rebellious behavior, wearing skimpy clothing to clubs, posting pictures of me in skimpy clothes (or less than classy if you’d rather call them that) attracted all the wrong types of attention to me. All I wanted was to find a wonderful man and marry him. Instead, I attracted all the guys who wanted to be with me but not marry me. And they hurt me…pretty bad. I had so many broken hearts that God had to work on me for quite a while to mend all the brokenness and make me whole again.
I went viral. I had a very bad experience with one guy who publicly posted private information about me, my family and friends on a website, passed it along to all of my friends, Facebook friends, and even co-workers. I found out while I was at work, walking past a co-worker and saw my name on her screen, and then on all the computer screens. My heart sunk. I turned white. I ran out the door and sat on the stairs and cried in despair. I called my best friends and they had also received the link. My life had gone viral, my entire private life up till then.
God protected me from any further damage, but He also allowed me to go through this to learn my lesson once and for all. I had trusted the wrong person with my secrets. I had attracted the wrong person into my life, because my social media portrayed a girl that wasn’t the girl I was. I thought that curvylicious was the right way to go, showing a little bit of skin here and there didn’t hurt anybody. Clubbing every weekend was fun..who cares if I drank and took pictures of all my party scenes? I was young and I had to have fun. Boy was I wrong. I’ve come a long way since then.
I’m not judging the club scene, I’m not judging the alcohol, the selfie-taking, etc. I’m judging myself and where that got me. It got me hurt, deeply. If you’re not a celebrity and you’re not making any money off of bad publicity…it’s just that, bad publicity. Your name will be going around, it will go viral, and you WILL NOT feel good about it. (And to clear things up, I’m not condoning bad publicity even if you make money off of it, I don’t think money makes it any better.)
You want to go viral in a good way? Be a virtuous woman.
Woman, I URGE you to read Proverbs 31:10-31 and follow in those footsteps. Print it out and LIVE by it. Here’s a small part of it:
Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised. Give her the reward she deserves. Praise her in public for what she has done.
Go viral because you respect the Lord.
Go viral because honoring God is respecting yourself.
Go viral because you work hard.
Go viral because you serve others.
Go viral because you speak with wisdom.
Go viral because you LOVE God with all your heart, your soul and mind.
This week’s challenge:
Go through your social media, photos, videos, posts (whenever you have some free time) and discard any posts, photos, videos that you think aren’t honoring God, your spouse, your family and yourself. Don’t do it because you’re old-fashioned or you have a stick up your butt. Do it because the future you will thank you later. Take it from the future me judging on the past me.
Remember, you may one day be President of your country (or one of your children) and all the skeletons you have in the closet WILL COME OUT.
Oh, and also, if you see any pictures/videos/posts on MY social media that you believe aren’t honoring God, myself or my family and friends, PLEASE send me a message about it. It’s always good to have our backs watched over. (My mother does this all the time…but you’re more than welcome to as well.)
Have a blessed week!