In the words of Regina George from Mean Girls, “Stop trying to make fetch happen”.
I would like to suggest something slightly different… “Stop trying to make ‘Christian Influencer’ happen”.
Here we go…
It’s been over a year since my last blog post. I had massive writers block, moved twice, unexpectedly grew an original meme instagram account, landed a writing agent, and was deemed a term I never even knew existed - “Christian influencer”. It has made for some interesting times. I’ve observed and been a part of the LA scene (I was actually born here so #notatransplant), I’ve made a ton of new friends, and I realized there is something uncomfortable in Christian circles I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
People started to hit me up to advertise their e-courses. Nothing wrong with that, right? Well the e-courses turned into requests to promote people’s books in exchange for gift cards, wear overpriced merchandise in exchange for followers, and basically do anything possible to make a buck or two in the name of Christian marketing. I said no to all of them. I became slightly known for saying no. I had people talk about me behind my back, telling someone on a podcast that I need “church and Jesus”. The irony of this is that this person was one of the people I had said no to advertising their products. I’ve come to learn no one is immune to insecurity, and saying no is so powerful that people take it upon themselves to feel personally rejected. Someone once told me that our initial knee-jerk reactions in life are often our child selves coming out. I feel this. Deeply. It’s smart to wait a little bit before garnering reactions because we can let our kicking and screaming pass and find our wisdom again. Enough with preaching, let’s carry on.
I started my blog in 2017 with one of my best friends, Sammie. We wanted to open up dialogue about controversial topics so we could all better understand each other. She went on her honeymoon and I accidentally wrote my first meme.
I soon learned I love writing satire and comedy because humor opens the door for dialogue on heavy topics. The memes hit. People loved them. They especially loved the ones I wrote on being single and dating within church. I just wrote about my life. People could relate. My following grew and so did my anxiety. I had a hard time balancing the art of not caring what people thought while also trying to stay liked by the bigger names in the Christian world. I saw how the second someone came out saying something controversial, people usually chose a side and did not mind tearing someone down, forgetting they are in fact also human. The people pleaser in me was challenged when I was the trolling target for dumb memes. Some Christians take Christian memes very seriously. Let it be known…lol.
Nevertheless, something in me changed when I experienced my first real trolling. I actually felt like I was doing something right. The need to be liked or approved slowly dissipated. I felt freedom. Real freedom. I didn’t actually care what people thought anymore. This is not to say I never struggle. I’m human, but I got on my knees and asked God what HE thought. He’s the only one who matters. People are people, and social media is going to disappear at some point. Who are we left with when we don’t have our following?
We know social media is a highlight reel. Don’t think Jesus didn’t understand. Jesus was very famous. He experienced fame. The Bible says he did yet He always chose to do things differently than how people told him He should. He wanted to glorify the father. When I let go of the desire to glorify myself, I experienced real, lasting freedom.
So, I suppose this post is more for people who have been given the responsibility of leadership. I’m not against e-courses, selling merchandise, promoting books, etc. We all need to make money and I’m all about promoting things you genuinely believe in. I’m against the bs of pretending to be someone who genuinely cares about people when we actually just care about promoting ourself, making money, and using people’s vulnerabilities to self-promote. We can’t be people who do that. We just cant. We need to let go of the need for validation through the hashtag #Christianinfluencer. We need to stop and take a look at ourselves and ask, “Who am I really doing this for?”. I’ve watched famous people keep secrets. The secrets come out and the weight of the fame is too much for them to bear.
Jesus never intended for us to bear something only He can withstand. The people who bear fame by handing it over and surrendering to the path God has for them are the ones the fruit stands true.
God help us. We need you. We need grace. We need to let go of our need to be famous to be successful. We ask you to help us see our true identities in being exactly who we are, with or without the trolls ;).
Be human. Receive God.