Several months back I undertook an overhaul of our Facebook presence atMarriage Matters. Trying to tap into that perfect stream of increased engagement while maintaining the vision placed on our hearts was a challenge.
But what wasn’t a challenge is giving you a free gift. It saved our marriage and millions of others. Don’t worry, it’s waiting for you at the end of this piece. God bless you!
Sure, we could follow the traditional social media models by boosting posts, paying for ads and hawking new likes like a nightclub sidewalk caller. But, we’ve committed to doing SMATGW (social media according to God’s will.) No need to Google it, I just made that up. But we really did say we’d do only as He led us to do.
Now, God’s got nothing against digging into the insights section of our Marriage Matters’ page, so I hunkered down and accessed every bit of data I could gain short of applying for a FISA warrant (too soon?)
It showed me the best times to post were in the evenings when our friends were most active. Next, the data drilled into the types of posts that gained the most engagement and traction. Finally, it showed us that resorting to the traditional models for social media growth would be more productive in growing our presence.
It’s a Funny Thing
Even before I started my quest for uncovering the secrets locked within our Facebook account, God began sharing a word with us. He wanted us to begin going live on Marriage Matters to share the secrets of His word.
Once I worked out the technology needed to pre-schedule shows, insert slides, images and other video capture devices into the course of a live broadcast, we were ready to roll. Then God got very specific in His word. He wanted us to go live three times each week, and here’s the kicker, at 6:30.
Oh, that’s 6:30 in the AM!!!!
You see the funny thing, we’re night owls who work until about 3 or 4 in the morning while it’s quiet and no one is texting, emailing or calling. Peaceful, silent solitude. So surely, God was kidding when He said that. I mean really, go live at 6:30 in the morning? Who does that?
Giving God A Hand
We’ve been guilty of trying to give God a hand at having His will get done. Impatience has been one thing we’ve worked on and have mostly begun to wait on the Lord. The 16th chapter of Genesis became very profound during this period. God promised Sarah and Abraham a child, but after 10 years, they were still empty nesters.
Sarah decided to help God out by giving her servant, Hagar to Abraham to conceive a child and therefore allow God to save face by delivering that promised child to her husband. Well, that didn’t really work out too well.
So here we are a few thousand years later and guess what?
We figured God had to be kidding about the early morning time slot. Besides, I’d just completed an in-depth analytical analysis of our Facebook data. The earliest optimal time to post anything was at and after 5:00pm. So we decided to compromise.
We shot, recorded and edited three great episodes. Complete with intro, outro, title screens and subtitles. I loaded them up on Marriage Matters and scheduled one each for Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:30AM.
BAM, my work was done.
That first Monday, I woke up around 10:00am, anxious to see the show’s reach, comments, likes, loves and shares. I washed my face and slipped on my readers so I could soak it all in. I was ready to spend the morning responding to the overload of questions and comments.
You know the outcome, right? There was one like and it was Leah, who had tagged it while I was washing my face. I thought it was because it was the first show. It would catch on by Friday. The Wednesday and Friday shows aired as scheduled, but with even worse results.
It had to have been because God’s will conflicted with the Facebook algorithm. I knew the crack of dawn wasn’t the right time. I became hurt and resentful over the weekend. How could we have invested all of that time and effort into the very material God led us to share, only to have it fade into the nothingness that it arrived in.
Sarah, Hagar and Abraham were placed on my heart, and I knew what God was showing me. I was disobedient, even in a desire to “help,” I failed to follow SMATGW because I decided to:
Lean on my own understanding (Facebook data)
Impose my will (Sleep way past 6:30am)
Prideful look (Airing an edited version instead of raw and live.)
In God’s mercy, He showed me that although the trio were all complicit in failing to wait upon His promise, that they were still blessed and God’s promise was fulfilled. Hagar’s son Ishmael became the start of a great nation, Sarah’s son, Isaac led the tribes of Israel to rise as promised and Abraham is the father of many generations.
Despite our human frailty, God gives grace and blessings. But, what about the live show?
In Our Obedience
By the next Monday, God had shown me it had nothing to do with social media presence or increased engagement. It wasn’t even about sharing His word on marriage. God wanted my servant, sacrificial heart to step out on faith and do as He asked me to do.
He didn’t need an earful of data and best social media practices. It was simply a question of was I willing to sacrifice for His will. Was I willing to sacrifice “me” time to dedicate to preparing the script, verses and slides the night before, and be ready to air at 6:30am?
I was so sorry that weekend and felt ashamed for trying to help Him out, when the lesson He wanted to share with His son wasn’t about the way, but only about His will.
I’ll tell you that it’s not always a halo and a choir of angels trumpeting onto do God’s will. That Monday, we drug each other out of bed while trying to steal naps in between brushing teeth, turning on lights and setting up what we like to call, “The Studio.”
With puffy eyes and no idea if the technology would work, we hit the “Start Streaming” button and BAM, we were live.It didn’t matter that we’d only had 2 hours of sleep, or that no one commented or even viewed the show. We were in God’s will.
We repeated that sleepy, sluggish scenario again on Wednesday and then Friday. We’ve done this the last 3 weeks, and while our work and family schedules don’t allow us to go to bed much earlier, we’re still thankful to be in His will. We smack the alarms a few times, hug while praying and then get to work with SMATGW.
I’d love to tell you in less than a month, our live morning Facebook show has gone viral and changed millions of lives. We can’t, not yet, but what we can share is the friends who join us in the morning are a blessing to us and the emails about how they love watching while getting ready for their day has blessed them.
The greatest reward for our early morning prime-time special is the love we share with each other while promoting a God-centered marriage covenant model. Leah and I have grown so close since we began, and although we were close before, this opportunity has drawn us into a deeper understanding of God’s word and will.
There is sometimes a fear or hesitation in sharing your testimony in public. No, our marriage wasn’t perfect and it almost ended before it began, but we rolled up our sleeves and went to work. We flat refused to quit on each other, but that required we give each other up to God. He made the changes in us that saved us.
So, while I still do enjoy digging into data, we’re going to stick to the SMATGW approach. We pray you’ll decide to join us in our prime-time slot, but take heart. If you’re not a morning bird either, you can catch every episode at your convenience.
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