Why We Need to Keep Some Secrets (and the Two-Edged Sword of Social Media)

I thought because I’d finally retired from teaching Elementary School this year I’d be virus-free without all those Kindergartners around.  But no, I am at home on a Sunday morning with a sinus infection while my husband is off to church. Ah, life.  I was looking forward to some quiet time ALONE (Plan A) to catch up on some writing (all the ideas!) and blog posts (yes, ideas!) but alas, there is a friend of ours on my front roof with a nail gun going and a compressor humming; it’s only 9:30 in the morning.

R doesn’t go to church.

He promised my husband he’d finish the window project they started last Saturday. He did not say he’d be coming on a Sunday. But there’s a Seahawks game on television this afternoon and he wants to finish in time to enjoy watching it.

So I made ‘adjustments’, (Plan B) and sought some peace and quiet on our back deck.  Since it rained last night it’s a little chilly and wet out there. Not to be deterred, I grab a blanket from the closet, wrap myself and settle in the deck chair to listen, write, journal.  But then the crows. There is no bird noisier than a crow. (Well, perhaps a blue jay).

Plan C-Currently I am typing on my makeshift ‘desk’, a smoothly sanded, unused piece of shelving propped across my lap inside on the couch where it’s warm. And semi-quiet.

I wanted to post a status on Facebook to share my woes with the world. Sort of an, “I can’t get no respect-Don’t you feel  sorry for me-Isn’t life hard?” kind of thought, so the world would know what I was going through. My world of Facebook, anyway.

But I decided against telling everyone and thought I’d just tell you. (Aren’t I sly?)


I’ve heard many Holy Spirit nudges when I’m writing lately about “keeping secrets.” Not a hide-things-in-the-dark kind of way, but in a way that honors the whole of my life.

It is easy to curate for others what I want them to know and see, to give the impression that I think deep thoughts and live in quiet beauty (which is what Instagram is for). If I ponder a Scripture that speaks to me or find a photo on my morning walks I like to share that with the world to edify others and add a little encouragement to their day.

But it’s not the entire picture of my life.

Facebook didn’t hear about my husband’s fall from a ladder last week that left him with a concussion and a trip to the emergency room. No, my immediate family and close church friends walked with me through that, held me up in prayer and cried with me.

Nor did I post the story about my son’s family van blowing up on the highway, leaving my daughter in law stranded, unable to get my oldest grandson to school. And how they were without a car for a week, shuttling said grandson to and from Middle School, managing life with four other young ones, oh, and getting my son to work.

Which happened within twenty-four hours of my husband’s concussion.

The blown up van story has a miraculous ending which I’m not able to share because it belongs to my son and his family (look for a Facebook update soon).

My husband’s concussion resolved quickly and he is back to being himself, praise God. Even better, we have friends with power tools and noisy compressors to assist him in his roof-climbing endeavors.


But here’s my point:

If I splash an hour by hour account of my days on social media for the world to see, people might get the idea they actually know me. Assumptions could be made, gaps could be filled in, conclusions would be drawn. Combined with my thoughts on Twitter, a selfie with a friend on Instagram, or my Facebook feed, sharing everything from deepthoughts about Costco shopping or a quote from a book I want to impress you with, you might think you know everything about me.

However, unless we’ve spent a considerable amount of time together, this is an incomplete picture of who I am.  We might meet in person for the first time and jump right past the pleasantries and small talk because it seems like we’ve known each other forever. Nobody likes that; a forced or insincere intimacy, familiarity without a foundation.

That is the two-edged sword of social media and the power of the Internet. We are connected sometimes in meaningful ways across the miles and around the world. Folks are ministered to through the words we write or the words of others. Prayers are lifted and answered, miracles are shared, hearts are healed.

But the up close and personal parts of who we are? The day-to-day, heart-to-heart reality of our complex lives? That can’t be uncovered in a thirty-minute click-through with a mouse. We are richly woven, clearly flawed, remarkably redeemed people.

And multi-faceted. Each turn of our lives towards the light reveals something else about us and our world. Like gems in a treasure chest, there is much that can be discovered when we dig in and get to know each other. And we all long to be deeply known, which takes a lifetime.


Let’s use our virtual connections to draw us closer so that one day perhaps, when we meet in person for coffee or at the park, we will begin at the beginning. Not just with a “How are you?” but a “tell me about your world”, then commit ourselves, with those whom God has sent us as ‘kindred souls’ or friends along the way, to take as long as is needed to unbury that treasure.


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16 thoughts on “Why We Need to Keep Some Secrets (and the Two-Edged Sword of Social Media)

  1. High Five! Well said Jody! I’m the same 🙂 I share little bits mostly on IG because I’m an undercover photographer in my mind, so IG is my personal photo album so that I will remember, sometimes I dont even use hashtags, because its not always for others, its for me. I also am a low-profile person, I believe strongly in humility and integrity. Both of which I personlly feel are lacking on social media, it truly is a “selfie” world, of this is what I’m doing, I’m so good, this is where I’m giving today etc etc. This is just something I’ve seen and it’s so easy to fall in to that place, and then yes people think they know you. BUt they don’t. I’ve realised the people making the most different in the world and in mine, are the people who usually dont have social media or dont post regularly, perhaps they too busy living or loving. Thanks again, much lv!!! Aliyah

  2. You make a great point here. I don’t have a Facebook account, but I do agree with your perspective. Social media is a double-edge sword for sure.

    1. You’re right, Jennifer…and I have to be careful how to wield that social media ‘sword.’ Thanks for reading.

  3. There is something to be said for having a part of my life that is between me and God.

    I cringe at the expansive display of ‘transparency’ .

    Get to know me first, then I can share my inner most

    1. David, I’ve been wary of the ‘expansive display of ‘transparency” myself. I’d rather reflect Jesus the best I can than hand people a mirror and say, “Look at me.” thanks for reading.

  4. Such a week you’ve had — I’m sorry! Yet out of your frustrations and concerns, you culled wisdom and insight: “We are richly woven, clearly flawed, remarkably redeemed people” who long to be deeply-known. God used your words to remind me: the people I’ve met and continue to meet in our new hometown of Cincinnati are treasures — every one. He’s given me the privilege to dig in and discover.

    1. Thank you, Nancy. I’m thankful I’ve met you myself and know that your new friends in Cincinnati will find YOU are a treasure, too!

      1. Aw, thank you Jody! I, too, am so grateful for the opportunity to experience the treasure that YOU are.

  5. I appreciate this post, Jody! Thank you for writing us from your Plan C place. 🙂

    And I’m glad for the two divine rescues your family has recently experienced.

    In addition to the godly (virtual) discretion you espouse (and I second!), this line stands out for me today: “We are richly woven, clearly flawed, remarkably redeemed people.”

    1. thank you, Laurie. I’m grateful to be ‘woven’ together with such a rich friend. 🙂

  6. Carol Wilson says:

    Yes, the delicate balance re’ social media. I know personalities enter into this, but the benefit of holding thoughts & experiences close seems to be more & more under-appreciated. Thank you for this post Jodi. And Carol, I appreciate your comments, too.

    1. Oh, Carol, well-said, “the benefit of holding thoughts and experiences close…” That is it. Thank you, friend.

  7. Carol, you said it well, “Oh, to know the balance of sharing our journey in ways that help others, and being circumspect about our journey.” It really is a delicate balance, a lesson God speaks to me on a regular basis. I so appreciate YOUR insights, too. Happy to be on this journey with you.

  8. well, Jody, you knew I would love this, didn’t you? Have you read Ruth Haley Barton’s book Sacred Rhythms? She talks about wanting to be with ourselves (soul) but why would our soul come out of hiding when it knows we’ll tell everyone all about everything? Some things are sacred between us and God, us and other and some stories are not ours to tell, as you said here.

    Oh, to know the balance of sharing our journey in ways that help others, and being circumspect about our journey. Some of the things I don’t write about are because I haven’t lived them yet. What I would share ON the journey sometimes changes as God works in layers and touches me with new lessons. Rarely is a new insight complete on the day I get it. It is often a process.

    so thank you for sharing this.

    1. These words of yours, Carol, touched my spirit and brought tears to my eyes: “What I would share ON the journey sometimes changes as God works in layers and touches me with new lessons.” OH, YES! And so beautifully expressed, too. Praise God for his gracious, patient sowing of insight, wisdom, and clarity, even after we’ve turned the bend on a life-experience.

      1. I want to say Amen to both of you, Carol and Nancy. And I want to cherish the word “circumspect” as a clue to cultivating godly discretion. And patience, God’s, beyond precious as we try to communicate in a timely and loving manner. Thank you both.

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