Week 26 … Halfway through 2021!

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Proverbs 31:30

Did you ever hear anyone speak about how many followers they have or how many likes a post got?  I have and there are times that I feel a twinge of reality; I will never be there. But you know what? That is not my life. Today I want to speak about popularity and friendship in a personal way because this is a broad topic and like many many of my “teas,” the subject of popularity from a Biblical perspective could fill an entire book. 

I decided today to tell you where I am with this popularity thing. I am not popular, but I have a circle of friends that enrich my life and bring pleasure to it. Sometimes I struggle with lack of online popularity. I have considered shutting down all-together but I cannot. 

God has given me the ability and burden to communicate to women, to encourage the women that He has directed my way. I deeply know I am supposed to be writing and communicating. When I consider the value of one person, I know that what I am doing is important if only to one person. 

Several times while my Harry was ill, and since,  I did back off and considered quitting. As Harry would often say about quitting: “God would not let me quit.” This is how I felt about this writing and communicating thing. And so I continue, leaving the results to Him. I remember one Sunday morning, when I was in the throes of praying for peace about whether I should continue on or not, three women came to me. None of them knew I was considering dropping my blog. Their words gave clarity to God’s leading. Quitting was no longer an option.

As an individual, I am intensely private and a bit of a loner. I do not need to be surrounded by friends everyday. I know they are there and when opportunity and friends meet, I relish every moment. At the encouragement of one of these friends, I am working on a hospitality book now. God wants to bless and enrich our lives through hospitality, both giving and receiving. 

My Proverbs 31 Woman. She is well-known but not always popular. Oh the things I have heard said of her, often derogatory, but I like her! She is aware that favour is deceitful. Popularity is not always what is seems. Sometimes when people seem to like us they may have hidden reasons, deceitful reasons. No doubt, as she ministered and served her family and community, she had some level of popularity, but surely that popularity caused jealousy in others. She did not allow herself to be swayed by deceitful favour, because she recognised it.

By establishing who I am, a woman that fears God, I can share friendship freely without great fear of being harmed. I have some of the most remarkable women friends in my life and this has been one of the blessings of ministry and traveling. Many women do not know that I write. My writing may not be the tie that binds our hearts. 

I never set out to grow followers, so much that I may not give an acquaintance the opportunity to “like or follow” me because I do not want to chance imposing on a relationship. If the Lord wills, in time or by chance they will learn.

Some of my friends are not online, or not online much. How wonderful is that? The internet has been a great tool for our family in ministry. Realising that was the sole motivation for my learning to use computers. I am glad I did. Technology is a wonderful tool, but it is important to use it correctly. 

I love checking my Instagram feed to see what my friends have been up to, the ones that are on there. I am not on Facebook and they tell me that my popularity would increase greatly if I joined.  Perhaps, but I am not going to do that. I have never sensed that this is God’s will for me. I believe it has been God’s will for others that have used it to His glory. 

It has been said that if you have just 1 genuine friend, or 2 that you are way above average and very blessed. I am not popular, but God has given me several friends that I trust implicitly and some that have been friends for half of my life. Perhaps this is why popularity does not matter to me, much. It is natural for us to want others to like us. It is encouraging when others want to be part of our lives, but remember, with that comes great responsibility to followers. That can keep us away from the One we claim is our First Love. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.  Revelation 2:4

If you feel encouraged by likes or followers, I’d say enjoy it! I would love to have more than I do, but I feel no validation by how many people “like or follow” me. Likes and follows tell a small part of life’s story. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  Ephesians 1:6   Most days, “being accepted in the Beloved” is more than enough for me; some days it is not. Fortunately I have learned to replace lies with truth relatively quickly. 

The Bible teaches that in order to have friends we must be friendly and I can tell you: That works! I love people and learned early in life how to find good traits in absolutely everyone. My daughters have learned this too and I see that they have friends that truly care for them. 

I think of popularity as being a dishonest characteristic at times. Deceitful, if you will.  If you doubt this, consider today’s “Cancel Culture”which has become quite popular. Does its popularity make it wonderful? Obviously, no. This may be one of the best examples showing the fragility of popularity. People that crave popularity are devastated when it is diminished because they have allowed themselves to be validated by it. 

I’d choose a good, sturdy friendship over popularity any day.  Friends bring a regular diet of joy, comfort and encouragement, even when you do not think you need it! That is the blessedness of friendship.

On some level I fear popularity. The Bible teaches that the world will love us if we are of the world. God has chosen me; I am a pilgrim, therefore I cannot be popular with the world. It is, indeed, a positive sign if you are not popular in a big way. I have thought about this because the most popular people I have personally known have either non-existent relationships with God, or rather sketchy or poorly defined relationships. Often this is a picture of those trying to be popular with God and man. It is not going to work. We must choose sides.

Endeavouring to trust Him with every area of your life says that we trust Him to surround us with the people that will be best for us, and truly, those we need.

In closing, let me leave you with this thought: If you are trying to live a holy life unto God, you will have to make some hard decisions. There are few people in the world today that will be comfortable with those choices, made silently. Your life will reflect a different way of living. You will be an example of a believer and that is what we are called to. That is what the world really needs, far more than popularity.

CRUMPETS:

With Populariti-Tea, a 4th of July Crumpet!

Independence Day this week! Celebrate! We are a great nation founded upon Judeo-Christian values. I saw a post that India put on Instagram explaining how she is doing fun teaching session about the United State’s beginnings. Here is a picture of 3 of the tools she is using to teach. They are for the children, but I suspect you’d enjoy them just as much. Celebrate with the children, but let them know how our independence was won!

India telling about how she is helping the children to love and appreciate America!
America’s Story – Adventures in Odyssey “Patriotic American Stories – Liberty Kids “The 4th of July”