I've noticed a growing trend among bloggers. Niggling at my nerves, causing me to think, this phenomenon is one that I think is a sad fact of today's culture.
Among bloggers, I understand the occasional "Let's be real; it's not all rainbows and butterflies" moments. The moments where you share bad news, or the moments where you just have to be real. But is there such a thing as being too real?
Lately, I've been bothered by several blogs I used to love. Obviously, I won't name them here, because that would be gossip. I've ceased to even follow a few of them, because it's one thing: depressing. There's a common idea among Americans today that you'll feel better if you simply "let it out." Vent.
I've come to disagree with that idea. Now, I've done it in the past, but now whenever I'm tempted to vent, I get a little bit... twitchy.
My favorite talk show host is Dennis Prager. He's an incredibly wise Jewish man with great values and an unbelievably intelligent mind. He's also got a very strong backing of enemies. The reason for that is simply because he is the opposite of what is taught. I listen to him while I get ready in the mornings, and I have begun to really think about deeper issues and I've also discovered a great love of politics.
All that to say, he made a great point on one of his shows that really stuck with me. I'm just going to be paraphrasing, but as he always does, it's important to make sure I am clear about who came up with this idea. It wasn't me; it was Mr. Prager.
His point was that in the 60's, mainly, there came about this new idea that there are no "should's." Life became a series of entitlements. People began believing that however they wanted to live was acceptable purely because they wanted to live that way. Regard for values became of less import, and feelings became the rule. Gone were the days of working and learning and living according to a higher standard, and instead, in were ushered the days of "happiness" and "feeling."
I'm going to state that I don't think it's wrong to feel. However, feelings are something we must reign in. It's great to have feelings, but they are not the rule by which we are to live. I, especially as a teen girl, struggle with this battle every day of my life. We can't completely disregard our feelings, but they are something we have to control instead of something that can control us.
But in this new era of feelings being the rule, there came about an idea that we must share feelings in order to be ok. I will admit that I am guilty of this. It's so easy to share all of your deepest emotions with your friends and fool yourself that it makes you feel better. But the only thing that makes you feel better is to put on a brave face and work to fix your own problems.
Now, as Christians, we don't have to do it alone. We have God by our side to give us wisdom and to take our burdens. And yet, why do I see so many Christian bloggers venting every sadness and every frustration right out on the internet?
Because the culture has a way of pervading. Even pervading into Christianity.
I'm simply saying, in all of this, that we must think deeply about what we say and to whom we say it. It's perfectly wonderful to have friends to put your greatest burdens on who will pray with you and for you. In fact, it's immensely helpful at times! But is it really necessary to tell the world about every problem?
Before I wrote my first post, I knew what I was getting into. I knew that I would write the good things, but that's mostly because I don't want the world to see the really bad. The really bad will eventually work out to the glory of God. So what's the point in venting? It comes off as fishing for sympathy.
Dennis Prager has an hour of his show called the "Happiness Hour." He's written on this topic and discussed it for years, and I've come slowly to agree with him. He says that even when we're feeling low, we act happy. This thought appalls the world. The world believes that if we are acting something we aren't feeling, then we are going to fill up with bottled-up emotions and finally explode.
Every time Mr. Prager discusses this point, I am reminded of this Bible verse.
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. Proverbs 15:30
This is a verse that I must preach to myself today; and I encourage you to do the same. There is no need to vent feelings on every whim, is there? And not only does a cheerful look bring joy to your own heart, but it does so for others. Imagine writing a depressing blog post and having someone read it who was already feeling down to begin with! Imagine if instead, that blog post had been a happy one full of love and encouragement and bright joy? It may have added some happiness to that reader's day, as well. Not to mention the fact that if we keep venting and dwelling on our discomfort, the discomfort only grows.
My goal in posting this was simply to make us all think about what we say. The culture has begun to believe that it doesn't matter because no one is allowed to judge anyone else. But I beg to differ. We as Christians must put on the joy from the peace Christ has given us and display it to the world; because they are, in fact, judging us. If the world only sees us at our saddest, are they really seeing us at all?