Religion wasn’t something that I had ever given much thought up until I found myself attending a Christian university where you could usually find someone being prayed over or discipled in your local coffee shop on any given day. Somehow, in the midst of the crazy confusion that was freshman year, I made the decision to dedicate my life to Christ.

All of a sudden there was this constant pressure I felt to embody the life of the perfect Christian woman: Humble, always joyful in everything, well-versed in theology, able to pull out a Bible verse to fit any situation, and a willingness to share my faith everywhere. Everywhere.

As I began connecting with my classmates on social media, I noticed that many of my new friends had statuses that constantly proclaimed their most recent God-granted epiphanies along with bios that read, “Running on the power of coffee and Jesus [insert emojis here].” This was usually the case regardless of whether they were typically found in church on Sundays, frat parties on Saturdays or, better yet, both.

I found that my social media networks had become a pulpit from which I was being preached at by those who didn’t practice their teachings themselves. I found myself basing the value of my religion on how many people knew of my good deeds. I found that I was comparing myself and my relationship with Christ to those who appeared to be the holiest of holy from behind the screen when they were doing nothing more than putting their best “faith” forward. I had transformed my Christianity into a platform from which I showcased only the best traits of what I had to offer.

So what happens when your faith is reduced to nothing more than a badge on a profile?

It becomes a competition of who can portray themselves as the best Christian; who can post the most photos of themselves participating in service opportunities, or holding an underprivileged African child on their hip as they gaze off intently into the Kenyan sunset. It bases the worth of your faith on the number of likes you get rather than who and what you believe in.  

When did the attention that we get from others begin to dictate the amount of effort we put into our beliefs? When did we start acting as if we were judged based on what’s in our profiles rather than what’s in our hearts?

It’s okay to serve others while leaving your camera at home, and it’s not necessary to document every nice thing you’ve done for all to see. Instead, why not show your Christianity by the way you live rather than the way you post?
There is nothing wrong with displaying your faith on social media. It primary purpose is to be able to share who we are with others easily. The problem comes in when that’s the only place it’s ever found. Don’t let your identity be limited to what fits in a 170-characters-or-less biography.