If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to Instagram it…? | In pursuit of sharing REAL

Our souls were not made for fame.

I’ve been hearing that on various platforms, from various (famous) Christians, like Emily Freeman, Jon Acuff, Ann Voskamp, Louie Giglio and John Piper. I think they’d be the first to admit that they weren’t the first to think of it. It’s God’s ancient holy beautiful truth: that we exist to make Him famous. We’re not wired to shine light. We’re polished to reflect it.

Then Scott Sauls tweeted this the other day and it made me think about our culture:


It’s true that we can’t escape the culture of the cyber globe. Our reality has a kind of digital doppelganger and it’s ok. It really is. There’s so much grace and goodness in how the Internet has blown open gospel access like nothing else in history.

It’s also true that we can’t escape the way Facebook and other catwalks make mini-celebrities out of everyone. Social media hinges on sharing, but sharing isn’t always caring. Sometimes it’s daring, glaring, tearing apart, baring too much, wearing too little.

So I’m taking a real time, real world, honest look at my motives for what, when, why and how I post what I post – because I want my online legacy to be a shout out to the world for the fame of His Name.

Some thoughts, then –

We share to validate

Like, if we don’t share it, did it really happen?

God shares every second of our lives. He’s been there, is there, will be there, for it all. The good, the bad, the embarrassing. He corroborates every story, confirms every emotion. He is our legitimacy because no matter how wide our web of connections, it’s in Him we live and move and have our being. Our sharing should affirm that we find our validity in Christ.

We share to treasure

We share because it feels like permanent experience storage. We share to bank memories in Google where they live happily ever after for as long as there’s an Internet. We share to give thanks, which is brilliant, but the permanence we’re looking for doesn’t happen in the sharing. The permanence happens in us – in the thanksgiving – because thanksgiving changes us, irrevocably. Our transient sharing should point to our permanent hope – where our treasure really is.

We share instantly

As it happens. In the moment. Which is fantastic because in the moment is where we should be living. But we need to live well with the tension that though instant characterises our culture, it doesn’t characterise our God. Christine Caine talks about how God doesn’t Instagram us into Jesus lookalikes. He develops us slowly. Intentionally. In the dark room, sometimes for decades. Forging in us the image of Christ. Character is never instant. It takes time, and obscurity.

We share constantly

And yet there’s a time to draw away. Rest. Trust God to capture the snow leopard moments. Jesus didn’t always engage with the crowds.

We share to convince

– ourselves and others – that life is beautiful.

Life is beautiful. All the time. And life is also hard. Um, all the time. Blessing and hardship aren’t either/or. Mostly they run parallel. We should give thanks in the midst of difficulty because Jesus promised that we would have hardships and abundant life. Both are true, concurrently. And nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Our sharing needn’t be a pretence of perfection, or a pity party. Our sharing should be us keeping it real, to the glory of God.

. . .

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Tracy Rees UnsplashFeatured image: Tracy Rees unsplash.com


  1. Interesting thoughts. I know this is about your experience and motives for sharing but thought I would add mine. I share to keep connected to people who matter -who seem to want to share in my journey. But calling or texting 50 people with updates on illness – is way too exhausting ( even email is). Just as I guess you see writing as a kind of therapy, my social media is my blogging therapy really. Yes maybe I over share at times but trust He uses my wobbly stuff as well as when I am occasionally brave to encourage even one other person. I know how many pray and support through this link and hopefully glory goes to God even in debates or doubts The many tears are kept between me and god ( and Peter and kids) but I also think so much of how one responds to the stuff you shared today depends too on personality types too! Thank you as always for making me think about God and life and tough stuff. I have though become aware of trying not to Instagram every moment because sometimes that makes you miss them!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely Terry…! I’ve just been convicted about missing moments with my kids particularly, because ironically I’m trying so hard to capture them. So even just taking photos for me sometimes is a distraction. Now and then I intentionally leave my phone behind so that I can just store all the moments in my mind and heart. Love your sharing, and sharing the journey with you always! Much love


    • That is so very true. One day I knew I was unable your capture a full moon and stood there in awe. Was better than sharing. Like a secret treasure. Also in the bush where most cameras cannot do justice to the experience- we do have a real addiction to capturing moments. Sometimes fabulous sometimes definitely more important to be PRESENT


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