I received my second Covid vaccine yesterday, and I am a little out of sorts today. I’m not complaining really, my arm is sore and I’m feeling very tired. I fully recognize the gift of science and the ability to help our world return to normal, as well as the protection for my own health and wellbeing. However, I’m not used to sitting around much, but I don’t feel like doing much else today. If I’m tired, I sleep, but I’m not a napper, are you? Other than reading my Bible study verse of the day before I get out of bed in the morning, I rarely carve out a lot of time to just be. I don’t generally sit around with a book I really enjoy until bedtime, but like the rest of the world, I will scroll through social media or play a quick game on my iPad at lunchtime.

Did you know that 45% of the world’s population uses social media? That number seems so high to me, but my 84 year old mom uses it, my young 9 year old friend uses it (with supervision), and I like keeping in touch with friends across the world, living vicariously through their pictures and stories. Popping up more and more through social media though are advertising and “pages you might like”. Do you start watching, or click on the suggestions? Do you spend time looking at the ads curated just for you? Why? Do you find that just because you and a friend talked about her playing Mah Jong, that you get ads to play Mah Jong on your device? Do you read the news stories chosen by your social media platform? Do you listen to everything every one of your friends post about politics, health, food, fashion, etc? Do you use the platform to voice your own opinions or criticize other’s opinions, or do you keep scrolling? Who influences you?

Influencing has become big money for businesses. I had a friend in grade school I wasn’t allow to invite over because she was a “bad influence”, and encouraged to be around those who were “good influences”. Because home decorating shows show beautiful makeovers of older homes, do you run out and buy the paint color of the year? Do you throw out sentimental items because the home organization shows tell you it’s better to live without them? People become subject matter experts online based on the number of followers they have, and by making you think you can be happier, if you follow along. In the Bible, the book of James 1:14 says “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Beware of those “influencers” that make you think happiness is is solely based on self, to truly influence the world, look beyond those trying to make a quick buck, and help lift someone else up through thoughtful conversations, kindness, and selflessness. Because, as James continues to say in chapter 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” In other words, be a positive influence in a world filled with influencers peddling their own agenda.