would Jesus be on facebook?

I mighta shoulda called this post Twirly Thursday (see Swirly Saturday), because I’ve got a feeling my thoughts might spectrum-hop, to put it mildly (and ambiguously). Hang in if you want. Check out if you don’t.

You may or may not have noticed that my posts usually go up at 12:01 a.m. (my time) and that this one is over 12 hours late. That would be because 1.) Nina’s Golden Birthday was stinkin’ awesome but totally tuckered me out. and 2.) I sat in front of my computer last night FOREVER in all kinds of anguish because I couldn’t crystallize a single one of my 1400 swirly thoughts.

There’s no way I can explain all that’s going on in my head (I wouldn’t do that to you if I could), but I do want to give you the smallest peek. Here goes nothing.

I’m overwhelmed. Six days into 2011, and I’m already in waaaaay over my head. Over-committed, over-stimulated, over-everything. This post is (supposed to be) part of a Read-Along for the book @stickyJesus, a Christian’s guide to sharing your faith online. We’re on Chapter 4, and I missed weeks 2 & 3. Boo. More on Chapter 4 in a minute (or six).

Then there’s the Your Secret Name Read-Along, and while I’m so excited that so many of you are hopeful and energized about how God is going to use this book in your lives, I’m already out of steam (don’t worry, I’m not giving up, I just need to pray for some passion).

Not to mention the stack of books I picked up at the library yesterday and the couponing I’ve decided to try, and my new-found desire to be a better steward of God’s earth (especially as it relates to bringing justice to God’s dear children who are oppressed). Then there’s Mail Month and Pay It Forward 2011 (a Facebook thing–had so much fun with it last night) and reading through my Bible again (this time in the Message).

And praying for the whole world with the girls and each praying for one of our kiddos in the orphanage each night and selling S-C-R-A-B-B-L-E magnets to raise funds for our Cambodia Trip (this potential trip is the thing that’s most lighting my fire these days).

And so on. AND ON AND ON.

Why oh WHY can’t I just calm down and focus on one (okay, a few) very important thing(s)? Don’t answer that. Although, I am currently accepting advice.

So, the title of my post. Chapter 4 of @stickyJesus is all about creating a buzz about something online. Getting people talking. And the best, most awesome thing we can get them talking about is JESUS.

Social networking AMAZES me, so much so that I’m working on a big project about it. Shoot, add another thing to my toppling pile. If I were to recount to you all the PHENOMENAL things God has done through my online relationships, I’d be here forever and a few days. I love, love, LOVE the internet.


On today’s post, Michelle (leading the Read-Along) asked if Jesus would be on Twitter. If he were walking this earth in 2010, would he take advantage of social media to reach as many people as possible with the Good News?

I have my doubts.

But you know what? I also think he came to earth when he did for a reason. A lot of reasons, but I think one of them was to purposely be on earth before the whole technology thing went wild. I’m not sure why, but that’s what I think.

I knooooooow that the whole online thing can get out of hand, but I also believe with everything in me that the internet is a powerful, powerful tool for sharing Jesus in a way that just wasn’t possible even 10 years ago.

And if I had to sum all that up in just one word, it’d be this: tuk-tuk.

And if I had to sum up this post with minimum swirl, I’d say this: I know God has given me many talents and passions for a reason. I know he has given me a fairly sizable online platform for a reason too. But apparently, what I don’t know is how to find balance and moderation. Maybe moderation’s not the right word. I don’t want to live a life of moderation. I want to go all out, to empty myself on behalf of the poor and lost.

I just can’t go at it at breakneck speed and in 500 different directions.

So help me. Let me glean some of your hard-won wisdom. Tell me this:

1. How do you balance all the passions God has given you?

2. How do you keep from being overwhelmed and over-committed to “good” things?

3. How do you make sure that you’re using your online presence for Christ and being as effective as possible?

Thanks, friends! Come back tomorrow for a post that’s half-as-long!

28 thoughts on “would Jesus be on facebook?

  1. Christine Beach

    Dearest Marla, I’m so thankful for the internet. I would have never met you had it not been for the internet! And, I’m extremely excited about your family going to Cambodia! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sending much love and blessings your way, Sharon

  2. Mandy

    1. How do you balance all the passions God has given you?

    Now very well. My pastor preached a message on how we should pick one or two things to do for God and focus on doing them with excellence. After nearly having a breakdown this past fall from stress and lack of sleep, I finally narrowed things down a bit. I gave up a ministry I LOVE, and God called someone else to take it over. It was hard, but I’m starting to enjoy life again. Burn out stinks. And I’m starting to do better at the two things on which I’m focusing. I know I made the right choice.

    2. How do you keep from being overwhelmed and over-committed to โ€œgoodโ€ things?

    See answer to question 1. But I keep reading all these good books and wanting to do MORE.

    3. How do you make sure that youโ€™re using your online presence for Christ and being as effective as possible?

    I struggle with this a lot, because I want to hide from critics. I’ve been trying share my blog with people when appropriate. I’ve been trying to be others-focused on facebook. I try to comment on people’s posts and tell them I will pray for them – and then actually pray. It’s nice to be able to demonstrate Jesus’ love online. I think Jesus would be on facebook. I think he would love people on facebook.

  3. Nina

    1. How do you balance all the passions God has given you? I don’t. It’s a problem.

    2. How do you keep from being overwhelmed and over-committed to โ€œgoodโ€ things? Is such a thing possible? If it is, I’m incapable so far. It’s a problem.

    3. How do you make sure that youโ€™re using your online presence for Christ and being as effective as possible? The concept of using my online presence for Christ is new to me, so I’m working on that. Participation in your read-along is one step toward that. So thank you for that opportunity!

  4. Pingback: Marla Taviano » radical experiment with a twist

  5. Sharon Meekins

    Dearest Marla,

    I’m so thankful for the internet. I would have never met you had it not been for the internet! And, I’m extremely excited about your family going to Cambodia! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sending much love and blessings your way,

    1. Marla Taviano

      Thank you, Sharon!! I am SO glad I met you too!!! Your little treasures have been mailed out. ๐Ÿ™‚ THANK YOU for being so excited about/supportive of our Cambodia trip!!!

  6. Bill Brown

    I’m with you girl. Trust me it doesn’t seem to get any better the older you get. I’m over 60 now, a geek so I totally get where you’re coming from on the whole internet/facebook thing. So for 2011 I decided that I needed to go back and do an in depth study on the book of James. I could just sit in my chair each morning before I go to work and read it, maybe even journal about it but I decided to make myself accountable, so created a blog and put it on my Facebook page to get other people involved. Commitment. If I don’t have that I tend to do something for awhile and then slowly other “more important” things creep in and before you know it I’m not doing the thing I wanted to do in the first place. I love what Kary said about understanding what the yes’s are first. Then the no’s come naturally. So I guess this year I’m going to carefully and prayerfully make that yes list. Maybe you can do the same.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I love the book of James! I tried to read through the whole Bible last year and got a little behind. (shocker) Starting James tomorrow, and I’m excited.

      And not to make you feel old but I just realized that I’m closer to 60 than 0. I think I just had a minor panic attack. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for your insight, Bill!

  7. sandee

    wow…just reading that made me want to take a break with a cup of coffee and some knitting…lol…or a breath. ๐Ÿ™‚ I know your feeling….I am not in that at this second, but have been and sadly maybe again in such an intense overwhelmed over committed time. My “parent tutor” coached me on saying no no no…lol.. and suggested I read. YOu don’t have to make everything better…book. But heaven forbid that I would suggest a book to you. grin.

    1. How do you balance all the passions God has given you?

    I told someone once that I thought I was ADHD with God, or ADHD spirituatlly. To be honest. I have had to let somethings go. Set somethings aside for future (perhaps), and leave somethings to others. The need is great, but God does not need ME to answer all of it (or too much of it.) I need to focus in my yard first. (Your boundaries have fallen for me in pleasant places). The four kids I am raising, my parents, and my job to provide for them. I also need to care for myself…some rest time, a good nights sleep…that was the first thing to change, before any of the rest of it. Then…for a season say no. Get the sleep and yard together first. then see where you branch out. How long that season is, depends on your yard. Just my thougths,,still learning and working through this.

    2. How do you keep from being overwhelmed and over-committed to โ€œgoodโ€ things? By choosing best things. If I “heal” the world, but lose my children’s souls (or my own) because of frenzied, overwhelmed, tired momma, than I have lost the most precious. Jesus focused on 12, while the whole world was dying in sin, he focused on 12. The need is great, but we disciple a few…the ones in my house, in my hard. The good things have to be pushed aside. I let in a couple things that nourish my soul, creativity..to care for and restore me….but the other good has to stay on the table….for someone else to collect.

    3. How do you make sure that youโ€™re using your online presence for Christ and being as effective as possible?

    Ann Voskamp shares about this so well. I don’t think you need to focus on being effective as possible. Let your online presence just be you..and extension of you. If you were meeting a friend at a coffee shop to chat, with no set agenda, you would not worry about if you were going to be as effective as possible in your conversation. You would greet and share and relax and whatever is on both of your hearts would spill out. There would be enough calm and space that the whisper of God would come in. You would share with your friend what God has been speaking to your heart, or that you have been so busy you cannot even hear Him and does he speak….and she would share what is concerning her right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ann talks about how our stories speak the Word of God into each other..the word made flesh yet again, as you share and I see how God is working it out in your life and I share mine…etc. I love that.

    Maybe have a post where you ask your online friends..whats on your mind, what you talk about…or what has God been saying to you lately. Just an idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry I wrote so long. But have just been coming out of a season like this myself…to talking to myself in this one too.

    Ann has a part 1 and part 2 if you want to read it:


  8. Amy

    Hi Marla,
    Did you ever do the Beth Moore study A woman’s Heart? She talks about pruning things in your life, even the good things. Anyway, although my thoughts aren’t as swirly as yours and I wouldn’t consider myself an idea person like you are, I was a person who said yes to a lot of things, when I should have been saying no. Well, then Abigail was dying and died and I had to say no. I needed to just be, to be still. I said no to a lot of things, people, activites, etc. As God has been healing my heart, he continues to have me be relatively still, but it has been so good Marla, because I am so much more in tune to the things I am suppose to say yes to and to the things I suppose to say no to…whereas before, it was more my emotions, the feeling of being obligated or my desires that would drive my answer. As you know, sometimes I get frustrated with the stillness, and my yes’ may not be all that flashy, exciting or fun, but I know that He has me right where i need to be and i think for the first time i really know that my yes is God’s yes and not my yes. I love you and all your swirliness. Praying that you will know what is God’s yes for you. xoxoxo

  9. Brooke

    i love that He works in ways that aren’t always known to us. i love that He picks the perfect time for everything. and i’m thankfully i don’t understand it all. i don’t want a god that’s as small as the scope of my mind.

  10. Natalie

    Such wonderful questions, Marla! I struggle with balance and focus, too. I love to serve, to be involved in what God is doing, to use my gifts for His glory but I also tend to go in 5 million different directions. There are so many wonderful opportunities to serve but we aren’t called to all of them, I’m realizing.

    Over the past year, I’ve intentionally slowed down. I want to serve Jesus but I want to do it with excellence- not in a rush. I want to be where He will use me- not everywhere I think is good.

    It’s a work in progress! Case in point: I signed up for your Secret Name Read Along- got the book and audio book and everything. When it started, I almost tried to squeeze it in to my schedule- even though I knew it would create stress. But I caught myself- praise the Lord!

    So, am I missing something good? YES! But I have to trust that He has something else good for me right now. And that book is not going anywhere. When it is time, I will glean what He wants me to glean from it.

  11. Mary

    praying for your friend! i feel like i live in a constant state of overcommitted. there are too many things i want/need to do and miss out on a lot of other things. one of my “resolutions” for this year (if i ever get around to blogging about it) was to be still. and to be intentional in what i do. i’m still not sure i completely know what that means for me yet, but hey, it’s a start!

  12. kary oberbrunner

    Marla….As always thanks for your honesty.

    A few years back I discovered something that helped tremendously. I learned that until I spent time with God understanding what He wanted me to say YES to, then I never knew what I should say NO to.

    By creating a YES list then naturally everything else is a NO unless God specifically tells me to take it on. Here is my YES list (see below) or here http://www.karyoberbrunner.com/faqs/

    This approach helps people who tend to say YES to too much and then get burned out, stressed, and/or unable to fulfill their committments. (like how I used to be).

    While Iโ€™m sure that you and/or your cause are worth it, because of the my limited time and the unlimited requests I get I probably wonโ€™t be able. I am committed to finishing well and I hope to hear from the Lord, โ€œWell done, good and faithful servant.โ€ As a result, Iโ€™ve developed my core commitments, which I refer to as my Magnum Opus (Latin for โ€œmy greatest workโ€):

    1.A faithful follower I will not sell out (theologically) or burn out (spiritually). I will love Jesus as a Person to experience not a product to export.

    2.An evolving husband I will continue to study Kelly in order to know what makes her tick, what concerns her, and what dreams capture her heart. And as a servant-leader, I will choose to love her unconditionally.

    3.A dynamic father I will be present โ€“ emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. My three kids are the first and foremost disciples in my life. If I lose it with them, quite simply I lose.

    4.A loyal friend I will invest in a few relationships that will be mutually authentic, accountable, and transformational.

    5.A progressing writer I intend to keep writing as long as God lets me keep breathing. I want to stretch myself as a writer being published by the best in the industry. My books will be true to who I am and what I am passionate about.

    6.An influential leader I will leverage my currency to be a voice for those who canโ€™t find theirs. I will lead with a high level of emotional intelligence, celebrating excellence in others as we settle for nothing less than our best.

    7.A synergistic partner I will continually join others who are on the mutual journey realizing that together we improve and together we accomplish more than we could ever alone.

    8.An authentic teacher I will be true to my craft and who I am as a communicator. I will continue to transfer truth in a redemptive manner filled with grace and compassion.

    9.A transformational coach I will pursue a few individuals at a time who show promise as leaders. Most likely these are people who are in desperate need of someone to invest in them by giving them the gift of belief.

    10.A life-long learner I will never stop exploring, engaging, and enjoying the world around me. I will be a student of culture and by my discernment demonstrate that I love God with my mind.

    11.An innovative creator I will not be content as a consumer. Since God is the Creator and I am created in His image, I choose to contribute by composing works of thought, action, and idea. These works will not relish in the mundane, the predictable, or the path of least resistance.

    12.An unconventional thinker I will choose to venture into unexamined avenues and unexposed ideals. I will commit to transcending the status quo by not settling for settling.

    13.A healthy life I will maintain a habit of fitness by exercising three times a week. Understanding that quality of life is holistic I will not neglect the physical.

    1. Marla Taviano

      Great list, Kary. It still seems overwhelming though. That’s a lot of things to do and be!

      I love this–“I learned that until I spent time with God understanding what He wanted me to say YES to, then I never knew what I should say NO to.” And plan to take it to heart.

  13. Becky Roode

    I totally get where you’re at…especially as I sat here this morning “committing” to a book read that will be year-long (several book choices to read over the course of the year, so not quite as daunting as having to have something read by a certain time/date). But as I wrote about it in my journal I actually wrote, “Because I’m not doing enough already?”


    Sometimes the “good” stuff has to go back in the “Things to Do” drawer until you have time OR you believe that it’s the right time according to what God would have you do. I have “big eyes” for 2011, but I have to remember that if I try to do too many things all at once that I will burn out and then end up dropping out and I hate being a quitter. Plus I want to do things well and in a manner that would be pleasing and glorifying to God. So I have to think whether or not my doing certain book reads/clubs, ministry opps, blogging, bible studies, etc. will actually bring glory to God or is it more about what I want to do. Also, if I burn out on so much “good” stuff, does that really bring Him glory. So some things get done now & others wait until later & if some things never get read or written it may very well be because it wasn’t God’s will for them to get read or written however “good” they may have been.

    BTW…I’m preaching to myself here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Marla Taviano

      Hope you didn’t mind me listening in on your Sermon to Self. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Becky! I seriously might clear out one of my desk drawers and make it a literal “Things to Do” Drawer.

      1. Becky Roode

        I inevitably will overwhelm myself with books and bible studies…IT WILL HAPPEN.

        So I make a list of the studies I would like to do and the books I want to read and just take my time. In fact, I just made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t buy anymore books until I get through my current stack (do you know how HARD that will be?). And I’ve had a list of bible studies for awhile…all in good time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Jen Hanson

    Thumbs up for facebook/internet/tuk-tuk!! That was soooooo cool to be a small part of and to watch take place. WOW!

    I have no advice for you because I’m in a little canoe not too far from your boat.

    Someone asked me what I was focusing on in 2011 and I said James 1:22. But then I was thinking – MY GOODNESS there is a lot to read/act on in the Bible – where do I even start? So I’m feeling your post big time!

    Umm… speaking of swirly, I have no idea where I’m going with this except to say – I can not wait to see where God takes all this passion you have! It’s gonna be awesome and inspiring I’m sure. Yep. That’s all I’ve got for you, the end.

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