“I praise you, God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14).
Ever since I heard those words spoken to me several years ago, I frequently reflect back on them.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Say it with me!
God is the creator of all things. Because God only knows good, everything He creates must be good. Since we too are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, we are good.
Growing up, I don’t ever remember being self-conscious of my body image. I was a hardcore dancer, usually totaling 15 hours a week in the studio. Dance was like my outlet. When school was tough, I could just go to the studio, unwind with all my friends, and move to the beat of the music.
One thing I became increasingly self-conscious about was my hearing loss. At the age of 8, I began to lose my hearing. Overtime I was diagnosed with bilateral progressive hearing loss. Each time I went back to the audiologist, I would either drop down several decibels or remain the same. It was unpredictable. Those bright and flashy hearing aids I chose when I was 9 and 10 suddenly weren’t as appealing to me as the clear, invisible ones.
I crawled farther into my shell. As I moved into high school, I expected that all the self-consciousness of middle school would begin to fade away. In the fall of my sophomore year of high school, I found out that I only had 6% natural hearing left in my left ear. This meant it was time to schedule my first cochlear implant surgery. I became more conscious of this disability that a) not many people seemed to have and b) didn’t even know that I had.
Long story short, I had limited to no support from the school I attended. It made a tough situation harder, so after my surgery, I withdrew. Eventually I transferred to a small Catholic classical school not too far from my home. This place was a God-send. I had the most amazing year. I grew in friendships and started to find myself. I became less self-conscious and more grateful for all that God had revealed to me during this time.
Fast forward to my senior year of high school. I am still in the school that I love and was proud to call my own. Part of the graduation requirement is to write both a junior and senior year thesis paper. For my senior year dissertation, I decided to argue for the use and observance of Theology of the Body in social media.
I wanted to recap and quote a little of my thesis here for you.
“Can the media actually help the spread and evangelization of Christianity worldwide? Take for example the many platforms currently available; churches can use Instagram to send out alerts to their parishioners. Other people who want to be good influences can post about positive affirmations from God and remind us to pray daily. Social media hasn’t entirely corrupted us, it is how you choose to use it that affects you. Social media enhances connectivity. Reaching out to the friend who lives on the other side of the world and letting them know you are praying for them is one of many ways social media can institute positive change. Social media can be
viewed as a gift, through the practice of the virtue of prudence. “Self-control is not needed because the body is evil—the truth is just the opposite. The body should be controlled with honor because it is worthy of honor” (Pope John Paul II, TOB).
Pope John Paul II teaches us his doctrine of Theology of the Body (TOB). One assumption regarding TOB is that it only talks about sexuality. While, yes, Pope John Paul II does mention sexuality and how it is to be used for good intentions, our sexuality begins with the dignity of the human person. TOB also expresses how God created each one of us individually. As human persons, we deserve dignity, respect, love, and admiration from everyone. This includes giving these to ourselves.
The reason I brought this up is to lead me to my next point.
I am a blogger, podcaster, and Instagrammer. I used to be very anti-social media. I’ll admit, over the years I found myself getting sucked into the false reality of the screen. You aren’t getting the whole picture - sometimes it’s curated to mask the truth. This past summer I decided I wanted to share my story with my growing audience. My hearing loss has always been a part of my story, and instead of being ashamed about it, I wanted to use it for good.
Every now and then I do find myself wishing that I had a body like everyone else seems to have. I wish my hair were a different color. Or maybe I wish I had the lifestyle of someone else.
When I started on this journey of social media, I recalled the verse I learned so many years ago. “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14). I am made in God’s image and likeness. I want others to see God through me. I want to lead others to Christ. None of the other things matter - not fame, not fortune, not success, nothing. I want others to know Christ as I do. And I want to see Christ in all others.
I have found social media isn’t all that bad. There’s a beauty, a light even, to sharing your story and evangelizing with others. It makes me so excited to see the lives of others and how they are sharing their journey with the world.
I want to leave you with some things to think about. How is God using you to lead others back to Him? Is He calling you to fulfill a vocation? Is He asking you to write and share your story with the world? Is He asking you to silently lead? Is He asking you to come closer to Him?
In the stillness of the night, He calls you by name. Hear Him and follow Him.