Do you ever feel like media controls your life? Every second, a Snapchat is sent, a selfie is texted, a tweet is posted. We check our phones 20 times a day for messages or missed calls. We're checking out what's happening on social media, purchasing the newest smartphone, downloading the most recent hit, or playing the next best app. How about the media messages we are bombarded with on t.v., in magazines and newspapers, or when listening to music? Do you feel like it's information overload or filter failure? Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for the technology we have access to at our fingertips, but media messages can chip away at our self-worth with subtle messages like "you're not good enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty/handsome enough, strong enough."
With all the influences that vie for our attention every day, keeping our lives focused on things that are good and true is not easy. Paul says in Philippians 4:8-9 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Could it be time for us to examine what we're watching, posting, reading and listening to? Once we see something, our mind (eyes) holds onto it forever, because the things we focus on shape our thoughts and actions. The images are impossible to erase. But, we can choose! What would happen if we questioned every media message, obvious or subliminal, that leaves us feeling inferior? What if we challenged every thought, whether from others or ourselves, that tells us we don't live up to the world's standards? An awareness of anything that contradicts God's truth about us gives us the courage to reject those lies. When you are tempted to believe the lies, rest on the promise that you are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), that God has an amazing plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11), and that you are fully and completely accepted and loved (Psalm 136:2; Romans 8:38-39). In God's eyes, you always measure up!
Ask your teen...
What media messages cause you the most pain?
What lies are you believing about yourself?
What steps can you take to limit your exposure to the media?
How can you use social media to glorify God?
Challenge your teen...
Memorize Bible verses to say to yourself when you feel defeated by negative media messages.
Look up song lyrics and check for language and content before downloading.
Before posting on social media, ask yourself, "Would Jesus write this post?"
Lord, help us to see the value of people based on their hearts and not on their status, wealth or looks. Help us to be kind and helpful, rather than concerned with material things. Amen.