Vanity of Vanities

“John D. and 24 others like your status.”

“Barb S. and 10 others +1 your photo.”

“Greg T. and 6 others commented on your post.”

“@someone_special favorited your tweet.”

Do these statements look familiar? If you’re registered with one of the big social networks, you are probably bombarded with alerts like this throughout the day. And if you’re like most social site butterflies, you get a euphoric kick when people comment/share/like what you have to say. But do you place too much importance and value on your social media success?

We live in a time where legitimate information is often overlooked by the latest funny meme, viral video, or animated GIF. It’s much easier to “like” or retweet the funny and absurd, while quietly passing over everything else — especially if it doesn’t make us smile or laugh. After all, we live in a time of “TL;DR”, where something too long or boring is deemed not worth reading. If it doesn’t immediately catch our attention, it’s not worth our time.

And if we do share worthwhile information, it’s often overly inflated in an effort to make ourselves and our lives appear perfect: A picture of last night’s culinary creation, A status update of how cute and wonderful our kids/spouse/parents are, or a humble-brag of our latest achievement or project.

The danger of this is of course placing too much value on what others think of us. It’s a bit like high school all over again. We put in a lot of effort to look good, fit in, and be popular. In short, we’re becoming more and more vain. It all reminds me of the opening from the book of Ecclesiastes:

“Vanity of vanities…vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

When we place too much value on our own image and value, it’s plain and simple vanity. It doesn’t last. It is shallow and empty. It’s meaningless.

Here’s the good news: There is someone who doesn’t care how popular we are on social sites. He’s genuinely interested in who we are and what is going on in our lives (even if it’s not all perfect). He does more than just “like” what we’ve done most recently. He loves us unconditionally in all circumstance. He is Jesus.

Thanks be to Him for loving us in spite of all of our imperfections, shortcomings, and vanity. His love for us is unchanging and unending, regardless of how good or bad our circumstances.

Next time you go to update your social status, take a step back and consider your own vanity. Are you focusing and placing too much value on what everyone else will think of you? I challenge you to be honest with yourself and your friends. After all, true friends, like Jesus, will love you regardless of the popularity of your social status.

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power… to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.” Ephesians 3:17-19

(Author’s note: Today’s post is written by guest author Anthony Hessler, creator and owner of Typographic Expressions, “artfully crafted typography-based designs.”)
Photo is Far too much time on Facebook by Steven Mileham
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2 thoughts on “Vanity of Vanities

  1. Very good insight…. my brother and I had a “like” contest for Our pictures of our dad on Facebook on father’s day. I lost. Even as I was going down fast with way less likes we both laughed…knowing just what Anthony said is true. Funny though I’ve never thought about the emphasis we put on that stuff. I do feel a little rejected if I don’t get comments or likes sometimes. That’s so ridiculous of me!

  2. Thank you for a good reminder. As a Christian blogger, I find myself struggling often with that vanity (a.k.a. pride). Our motivation can so easily shift from trying to share the gospel to seeing how many likes or views or retweets we can get. I too am thankful for God’s forgiveness and blessings despite my pride and vanity. Thanks for an insightful article.

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