There has been a lot of talk recently about personal branding on Social media sites and I do believe that it is something that Christians should take seriously. At the same time, because we live in a self-obsessed (selfie) world, we Christians can also get caught up in the trying to brand ourselves the way the mass media does.
Not all branding questions will help you, however, below are four branding questions to avoid and what questions to really answer:
- What Image do you want to present to others?
This is usually the kind of question you get in a branding exercise class. On the surface it actually isn’t a bad question, however, if the image you are hoping to present is not what you know you are, then I would suggest that you change the question to:
a. Is the image you present to others congruent with who you are before God?
God is the one we should fear above anyone else. In today’s image conscious world, it is easy to be more concerned about how we are being perceived in the world than how God (who knows us and see us for who we really are) perceives us. We are never going to be perfect, but God does want us to have a broken spirit and a contrite heart towards his will and the things of God (Psalm 51:17). Is the image we portray to outsiders far ahead of who and what we really are inside?
- What do you want other people to think about you?
This question is not a healthy question simply because we will never be in control of people’s way of thinking and answering this question will get you into the trap of people pleasing. This question empowers others and unfortunately the truth is that people are fickle. The question we should really be asking is:
b. What is your understanding of how God views you?
How God views us is a place of security. When we understand that God loved us even before we turned to obey him (1 Jhn 4:10), we will find security to the extent that even when we mess up, we know and trust that God still loves us. Now, God expects us to obey him because even Jesus said, “if you love me you’ll obey my commandments” (Jhn 14:15). The answer to the question is that God loves us. If we all have this as the bedrock of our understanding of God, then I am sure that more people will not see the reason to take their own lives. Shame is a very powerful obstacle to our thinking and being secure in God’s love and finding reassurance from the cleansing power of Christ’s blood should help us reframe our understanding of how God views us.
- How are you going to supply your needs?
This is a question that can only be answered from the understanding of who you think is really in charge of everything. It is easy to take this answer from the fact that if you don’t work how then can you provide for your needs? This is somewhat true as that is what the Bible teaches. The challenge comes from who do we depend on to open those doors for sustenance. Jesus challenged us not to worry and that as long as we make the Kingdom of God our primary concern, he will provide for our needs, so the question really is:
c. Who is really in charge of supplying your needs?
Our understanding of who God is, is the challenge here. Do we believe he is interested in making sure that you are taken care of as you focus more on his Kingdom and others? When we are more preoccupied with trying to maintain a good image and trying to present our image in a packaged fashion, it is difficult at the same time to trust that God is big and powerful enough to also meet our needs. This becomes more of a faith and trust issue. God will take care of your needs when you align yourself with his will especially in the area he has gifted you to be of service to others.
- How would you like to be remembered by everyone?
In the “selfie” world that we now live in, it is possible to have thousands and even millions of people following you on social media simply because you’ve been able to present yourself in a particular way. But the real question we should always be asking is:
d. What legacy am I leaving behind for my spouse, children and those closest to me?
There is a big difference between how you would ‘like’ to be remembered and how you are currently seen by those that are closest to you. The truth is that we don’t know when our time will be up so the more we are in tune and face the reality of how we are being perceived now by those that see us and know us the best, the more we can face our true self. Regularly seeking feedback or being in the habit of running a 360 feedback might help us stay grounded on how we are really doing and what legacy we are leaving behind.
At the end of the day, our branding should be based on the core values we hold to. Branding will take care of itself if we Christians strive to live authentic lives wherever we are and our branding should not be for ourselves but for the Glory of our awesome God!
What do you think?