Here's what I've learned...traveling in the social media realm is a difficult space to exist in. Until I created the ONION PEEL, I was never much of an online connecter. I had a Facebook account that I rarely ever posted on and when Don died, I completely extricated myself from it. The last thing I wanted to happenstance across was anyone's idea, rumor, or inquisition about his self inflicted ending.
So, I lived almost the entirety of my life with no posting, liking, tweeting or sharing of my daily activities. My philosophy was that if someone was doing life with me, then I would share any newsworthy information with them personally - through a phone call or text. My free time was about making popcorn and watching movies in front of my fireplace or going to them at the theater in the pre-COVID days. I was relaxed. I was peaceful. I was content.
Enter the ONION. I always knew I was going to tell my story. From day one. But if you would have asked me through what means, I would have resoundingly said on a stage, speaking in front of people. But in my wildest analysis, I never thought I'd have a podcast and certainly not a following on a dance app (love you TikTok)! BUT, here I am.
Over the past 10 months, I've learned way more than I've ever wanted to about the various social media platforms and the specific personality that each one has. And in the process of my education, I've found my screen time on my phone increasing by a ridiculous 200%.
Gone are the days of binging NETFLIX and casually running household errands. In their place, exists headphones, microphones, dance moves, direct messages, marketing videos, editing software and advertising strategies. And I find myself being consumed by the call of the wild online world. I'm like a Pavlov dog, as soon as that notification buzz is signaled, I reach for my phone as if I was a gun slinging outlaw at a showdown.
What has happened to me?
Where did I go?
How did an intangible universe become so critically tangible?
In the beginning of the great 'PEEL', I had shot out of the canon like a rocket! My words reached unlimited heights and each day was filled with kudos, testimonies, and followers biting the ONION faster than I could peel it. It was like living on a constant high. God was using me to change the world and it felt AWESOME. And I began to expect my continued fame. I mean, seriously, I had waited 6 effing years for God to start using me and my story. HE had shut the door so many times before when I had tried to step out in front of HIM. Finally, this step into the pantry to grab the ONION was given the go and HE launched me into my purpose with HIS full blessing. So, unconsciously, I had concluded that I deserved HIS favor because I had been faithful.
But suddenly, the fame monster not only began to level off, it became more difficult to tame. Slowly, silently, negligently, I started to become character dependent upon my social media "success" (sound familiar...check out my podcast episode 'The Purge"). If my follower count went up, then my mood barometer went up, too; lots of episode listens, lots of happy feelings; increased views, increased personal worth. And then, the illicit number counts of listens, follows, views, shares, likes started to slow...drastically. It became harder to keep the train moving at full tilt and I couldn't shovel the coal fast enough. I would stay awake night after night, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Why had the engine decelerated so quickly?
My mental health was starting to waiver. I could sense that I was flirting with old mindsets and behaviors, but I couldn't seem to stop them. And before I realized it, I had my self worth completely wrapped up in my alleged lack of accomplishment. I started comparing myself to other mental health advocates and hope inspirers and found myself on the down side of the coin. They all seemed better, greater, bigger than me and my ONION. Why am I even trying to help others? I'm putting in all this effort, all of my time into what? And, as my follower count seemed to cease and assist, I thought, maybe God was trying to tell me 'it's done'. Why else would this HOPE locomotive be stopped at the station? Maybe, I just wasn't capable to go the distance. After all, the other engines were cruising down the tracks at top speeds. Clearly, I needed to reevaluate. The world of social platforms was beginning to derail me. It was taunting me in it's perfectness and telling me that I wasn't good enough. And that wasn't its fault. I was the one who was believing it. I was the one who was allowing myself to be sucked into this black tunnel. It was my mindset that assumed my downtrend was my failure. I was the one who lost sight of purpose.
As I pondered my precarious situation with a friend, something came out of my mouth that was no less than a lightening bold from God. In the middle of my analytical spew with her, while I was self flogging my personhood and trying to figure out why I was becoming so depressed, I said these words...
"I just need to stop achieving and get back to serving."
And that was it. The moment that I remembered who I was and why The ONION PEEL exists. It wasn't about likes, tweets or shares. It wasn't about numbers of followers. It wasn't about success. It wasn’t even about being the best. It was about the same thing it's always been about...love. My heart's cry to want others to not live in hopelessness. Simple. Pure. And I had lost that in the confusion of the train ride through the social jungle. My engine had become stuck in the thick undergrowth of comparison and the complex vines of online truth and it wasn't until that machete of clarity cut through it all and allowed my train to continue forward.
I knew my story was given to me for a purpose. And it is my honor to share the incredible gift of that testimony. It is given to the world in love. And I pray that it reaches those who it is supposed to help and I hope that that reach is many. But that part is God's job, not mine. I am, simply, here to serve, the achieving belongs HIM.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
1 John 2:16
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.