You might not realize it but in our digital-connected age, cyberbullying has become a major problem. And kids aren’t the only victims. My sweet, courageous friend Amanda has opened her heart to the world, sharing her story of weight loss and the bullying she experienced in her teenage years. Partnering with the KIND Campaign, Amanda has reached thousands of people around the globe, inspiring many others on their own journeys to better health and a more positive self-image.
In her brave openness, Amanda has once again been the victim of harsh cyberbullying. Today, the Maine Sunday Telegram published an article on Amanda, bringing her story to the front page of thousands of Maine households. I’m so proud of Amanda’s courage and faith in a world where people will someday choose kindness over cowardly hate. Please read her story here and feel free to share widely.
The Gospel emphasizes how God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. By sharing our vulnerabilities, as Amanda has done so beautifully, God can minister to others, reaching deep within us to those dark places that we try so hard to keep hidden.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
It’s so easy to make judgments about people we don’t know. It’s even easier to judge those whom we claim as friends and loved ones. And the more we judge, the more we build walls around ourselves, closing out opportunities to connect with each other in more meaningful ways than the superficial relationships so many of us cling to.
Has anyone ever shared something with you that made you take a huge sigh of relief and say, “me too”? I know this is the experience thousands of people have had reading Amanda’s story. She isn’t touting her perfection and easy success, making the average person feel incapable of ever reaching the same goals. She shares every bump, obstacle and negative thought. She isn’t pretending. And because of this honesty, her success becomes truly inspirational in a practical, I-can-do-this-today, kind of way. Go read her page and you’ll see people leaving comments about how they have taken the leap into publicly sharing their story because of Amanda’s example.
She’s not perfect. And neither are we. So why continue hiding behind our carefully constructed Facebook identities and Instagram-filtered lives? The more we hide, the more it becomes easier to judge and become those destructive cyberbullies spreading hate. When we step outside of our walls, we open up our hearts and that’s when God can really begin His work.
Let’s take a risk this week and share something real with each other. Choose something that you think others don’t know about you (hint: it’s probably the thing you try the hardest to hide). You can tell one person or hundreds. I’ll post mine on the blog later this week. If you’re into hashtags and such, use #ShareSomethingReal if you choose to share via social media.
If you’re scared, don’t be. Just remember what God has done through Amanda and draw on her example for courage. You never know who He might minister to through your honesty.