Recently I wrote about slowing down, resting, and not getting so caught up in the machine of platform building. (I know: it’s a conundrum. We have to do it, but there are times that wholeheartedly pursuing it fractures our hearts). In response, my author friend Ronne Rock sent me an email detailing what she calls her “social media liturgy.” What she wrote was so profound and helpful, I asked her permission to share her words with all of you.
She tells of her WHY:
I love the creative expression of words (and writing is instrumental in all I do)—and I was growing to hate them. I savor long-road walking with people as they navigate gritty, war-torn hope—and I wanted to turn it all off and simply disappear. Most days, the red flags of anxiety waved wildly. You see, I don’t shut down when anxiety spikes. Instead, I spiral up. The strengths within me to create, connect, and achieve come unhinged and mix with that anxiety to create a deadly stew of hyper-vigilance, hyper-focus, hyper-activity. I can’t turn it off until I crash. My prescription isn’t for everyone. But most days, it works well for me.
Ronne has curated a rhythm to her social media life:
So, what does my social media road look like right now? It is a structured, curated schedule that allows my brain to focus on specific themes, rhythms and – for me – a single story each week. Now, that curation of content spans six days a week. But again, there is a rhythm to what is shared. And that rhythm is comforting.
Finding that rhythm has allowed me to set aside time to plan, write, schedule. It’s given my heart and head some breathing room too. And focusing on a story a week lets me invest more time in considering that story. I’ve likened it to church and embracing a liturgy.
What I’ve found is that—at least for me (a gal who is required to be on social media vocationally)—finding a rhythm and liturgy for personal social media (which has been a lovely space for my ministry as a long-road walker and mentor) has been healthy.
She begins with time with Jesus:
As for structure, my mornings are spent with Jesus and coffee (as they have been for years now). That space is about prayer, reading, studying, journaling. Some of what comes from that space will be shared publicly, some is shared privately as the nudge of the Holy Spirit leads, and some remains between the Lord and me (He does with it all as He wishes). As of late, I’ve returned to slow journaling—pen on paper rather than the speed of a keyboard. My muscles ached for weeks as I learned to write in longhand again. But as they relaxed, so did my soul. I look forward now to the time invested in writing down those prayers, thoughts, ideas. The pages even reveal when I am truly present and when I am distracted.
Then she curates this liturgy:
Once or twice a week, I set aside time to then contemplate it all, and prayerfully consider what it is He wants me to share. From that comes photos, videos, captions, Canva images, and such. I do what feels organic to my voice and am no longer compelled to chase every trend. I use Later and Creator Studio to schedule things—and I batch schedule at least a week at a time (so I can reduce the amount of time I’m tethered to my phone or laptop). During that planning time, the Lord has also been good to bring to my remembrance past things that are in the pages of my journal (OK, so it’s a combination of Evernote and a notebook, but whatever). And there have been rare moments when something urgent steps into the picture and I feel a strong leading to adjust. Of the 30 or 31 days each month of personal reflection, only 8-10 days usually make it onto any social platform.
She gives another practical tip:
Oh, and I deleted the follow/unfollow apps, and quieted the stories of those who tell me the only way to have value is through chasing trends and building my platform in order to attract the attention of people who might consider my words worthy. I appreciate tips, don’t get me wrong. But the noise of the crowds can deafen me to the voice of the One who crafted my voice in the first place and knows how He wants to amplify it.
And then this gem of advice:
One thing that was honestly was quite liberating (and helped to make the transition a bit easier) was when my wise friend Jessica Herberger said the clock didn’t need to dictate was posted on IG. I had been caught up in the immediate for years, thinking that the only post worth sharing was a post in the moment. I lost so many moments trying to capture them with the perfect photo or caption. And when I’m working internationally, a lot of what is shared is more immediate (as it is used as a communication resource for friends, families, and donors back home), so I carried that into my personal life. As a person wired to find connection in everything and to ACHIEVE (the day starts at zero for me), that “must share now” pressure was rough. It’s easy to feel as if there will never be enough. You guessed it. There’s the rub that bumps up against the rhythms even now.
She finishes with this last bit of hope:
And that is perhaps the most important lesson I’ve been learning—in the stepping away from the immediate and finding a liturgy and turning down the volume on cultural demands and such. The enough. Embracing the enough that’s enough for me, letting go of expectations that haven’t been placed there by the Lord at all. I’m learning. Still learning.
Whew! Can you feel the joy already? Has this brought you some rhythm, perhaps, and some comfort? How have you curated a liturgy of social media? How have you incorporated it into your life in a peaceful manner? I’d love to hear what you’re doing.
I’m quite humbled that you would share my words here. As I wrote, I know my prescription isn’t for everyone…but perhaps it might spark a bit of creative hope in the heart of someone who is a bit purpose-weary in their writing journey.
Thank you for this much needed reprieve, Ronne!
Social media, through blogging, is my lifeline. I would be so lost without it.
I can’t breathe without the pain
that’s been by God ordained,
but through blogging I remain
with message still unstained
by a lonely run of time,
driven to a black despair;
these readers, yea, these friends of mine
show daily, and they show they care.
They put me back upon my feet
in times (like now) I’d love to quit,
and in their loving words I meet
the Spirit at the heart of It
that bids my praise, though I’ve no answer,
to love my God amidst my cancer.
So grateful you’ve found community here, Andrew.
Mary, I’m up to my a** in alligators. Walking is almost impossible, breathing just hurts so much… but this community makes it all worthwhile.
Thank you for sharing this, Andrew. Thank you.
Ronne, thank YOU, for being a voice of clarity in a chaotic world.
Off topic, but Andrew is in horrible pain right now and asked for prayers.
Thank you for sharing this. I am praying!
Wendy L. Macdonald
Thank you, dear Mary & Ronne, as this post validated some of the practices I’ve been doing for several years now.
Each morning while I have coffee with Jesus, I write (with a real pen & homemade journal) during my quiet time.
Your words about not giving into the pressure to share in the moment encouraged me since I literally share poems I wrote almost a year after they were written. When I tried to share “in the moment” it lessoned my peace.
For anyone else reading Ronne’s words, I wholeheartedly recommend finding a similar path that works for you. It makes social media fun and your life more balanced.
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
P.S. May God grant comfort and pain relief to dear Andrew.
Your words are an encouragement to my soul, Wendy. Thank you!
Such encouraging words and a terrific practice, Wendy.
“letting go of expectations that haven’t been placed there by the Lord at all”
If we all did only this much….
Wendy L Macdonald
Amen, dear Lori.
Blessings – Wendy Mac 🕊️
Yes, I agree, a great quote.
I am still learning…
Janet Holm McHenry
Nice, Mary! I do something similar. I start with my read-through-the-Bible reading for the day. From that I create a meme (in 3 formats, which I post on these locations: my Bible Girls FB group (with that day’s reading), FB profile, FB author, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. With the meme on some of those spots I also post a reflective micro-blog. I schedule postings the day before. So . . . I’m basically blogging daily, but it always arises from what God teaches me from his Word. It’s become a rhythm that has made me a better, more productive writer.
I love that it flows from your daily time with God, Janet.
Our soul does love the calm of rhythm, doesn’t it?
I agree, it’s preachable.
Thank you for this. I’ve been beating myself up that I’m not building my platform as fast as I would like. It’s become a task for me rather than a delight. May the peace of God keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Yes, perhaps if we viewed it as a delight, we’d be more free!
Thank you for the blessing in the midst of the confession. Thank you!
Wow. This post feels like taking a long soaking bubble bath. I recently finished the current version of my spiritual memoir and have been studying the next steps of writing a book proposal. “Platform, Platform, Platform has become a pounding refrain as I move through my day. I am now going to take a breath and view this time as creating a life-giving liturgy. Thank you so much.
I hear you about the drumbeat of platform.
That drumbeat can be deafening, indeed.