A More Holy Version of “It Is What It Is”Aug 04, 2021
In this age of information and hyper-connectivity, I (Gem) often feel pressure to post all my grand exploits on social media. It can be tempting to think that everything we do is noteworthy (at best) or that we are the center of the universe (at worst).
We can feel the need to impress everyone around us at all times. There can be pressure to prove our lives have meaning, or that we are cool or funny or well traveled or interesting or . . . You get the idea.
This can be exhausting. Is it really possible for anyone to sustain a life where every day at least one amazing thing (sometimes more) happens that is worth telling hundreds of people about?
Sometimes it’s nice just to do something and not tell anyone. Like the old days when phones were stuck to the wall and there were no answering machines.
We used to be able to do things and not tell anyone unless it came up in our conversation with someone. You would bake a juicy berry pie and not feel compelled to take a photo of it. You would just sit down together after dinner and eat it, the only evidence being the purple stains on your teeth.
Adele Calhoun, in her book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, defines secrecy as “practicing the spirit of Christ reflected in hiddenness, anonymity, lack of display and the holding of confidences.”
Calhoun goes on to say, “Jesus was totally free. He gave gratuitously and graciously. He did not look for a return. He played to an audience of One—His Father. Secrecy stems from the desire to share confidences with God—to play to an audience of One.”
Secrecy can be a kind of fasting from attention for notoriety as well as a furthering of our intimacy with God.
A mentor of mine once said to me, “Don’t share everything. Some things, if shared, can lose their potency.” Things can be stripped of meaning when they are thrown to the wind for everyone to admire and comment on. Sometimes it is better to just let it be.
We often hear people use the phrase “it is what it is.” I haven’t always been sure I like that phrase, as it can lead to inaction or resignation. However, when it comes to secrecy, “it is what it is” is exactly what we are looking for. We can do something wonderful, amazing, self-sacrificing, or even mundane and not tell anyone.
It is what it is before God. He alone sees it. Our secret draws us closer and the potency remains.
There are many ways to practice the spiritual discipline of secrecy. One simple way is to be mindful of our time spent on social media and how the use of it may affect our hearts or the hearts of others.
The next time you have the urge to post something on your favorite social media app, try this:
- Leave your phone in your pocket.
- Stay focused on what is happening.
- If you are with people, really enjoy the moment in their presence.
- If you are alone, let the moment lead you into conversation with God and bond you to Him even further.
And don’t forget to thank God for this opportunity . . . this moment of beauty . . . this wonderful connection with your friends or family . . . or even a juicy piece of berry pie.