day 3 – the branded life

In thoughts on God, thoughts on me, thoughts on people on August 17, 2011 at 4:46 am

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of branding.  in particular, a branded life.

i heard this concept in a sermon a couple of weeks ago, and it really stuck with me, mainly because it stung a little (the good kind of healthy sting, you know).  think about our society – with all of our social networking and entrepreneurial tendencies (ie: everyone’s a photographer!  everyone’s a musician! everyone’s a blogger!  get on top and stay on top! be business savvy! etc.) and all of our umpteen-zillion ways to reach one another.  it has lent itself to this interesting pressure to brand ourselves.  we must be likable!  get people to read what you write, listen to your music, follow you!  take the cutest photos of yourself, be the most interesting, the most different and exciting, & be sure download suchandsuch app.  we fill out profiles so people may know us at a glance, and feel they know about our lives.  and i don’t know about you, but i make sure that i really pack a witty-awesome-adorable-understated punch into that profile!  because i want you to like me and believe my life is together and somewhat enviable!

and what a pressure that is, don’t you think?  of course this concept has stuck with me – i’ve felt the pressure to brand me and have pressed into my own desires to be known, read, heard, and liked (as a writer, musician, overall creator of stuff, and human being).  and we don’t just do it online, we do it in real life, face to face with each other!

i was talking to my friend the other day about this. she expressed that she decided to delete however many friends from her facebook profile, and had to stop following certain people on twitter, because she didn’t want to feel like she knew about their lives without ever seeing them and having a real relationship with them.  some of these are people she knows and loves dearly.  sometimes i think this “branded life” may do great things for our businesses and causes while simultaneously pushing ourselves away from real relationships.

branding and expanding our businesses or causes is not inherently bad, i don’t think.  but in this sermon, the point made about our “brand culture” was made in light of a bigger, more beautiful point – getting alone with God, listening to His voice, and believing and obeying what He says.  that this is the thing that really, really matters.  in this we build into a more real reality, more real than waking up in the morning and walking around doing our jobs, more real than what we do or who we know or what we have.  in the sweet, unknown, mysterious relationship we have between only us and God, we deny the brand of ourselves, we see the smallness of what other people think and believe about us, and we grow into a trusting relationship with the Father through Christ’s righteousness and righteous act of love towards us when we didn’t even deserve it.

and this is the point i’ve come to about all this in my own thoughts at least – it is a challenge to desire less of the branded life and more of the quieter, lower, less glamourous-seeming daily life of really getting to know who God is.  much more, to choose that life, to execute it.  not that i will no longer write or sing or share any of those things, because i think those are good!  but in getting to know God i get to know who i am, and when i know that, peace is present all over my life.  i am free to do without pressure, because i know who i am.  and i know who i am because i learn to believe God – who He is and who He says i am.

and THAT life is not boring.  it is not bland.  it is certainly the road less traveled, and perhaps subsequently less seen.  but it is exciting, blessed, full to the brim with life – the kind of life that is bubbling over and onto other people, blessing them, too.  it is full of joy and peace.  it is pure, lovely, and honorable – not because it’s perfect and without mess up or difficulty, but that it trusts in God, and then God can entrust.  to do incredible things with us, to do miracles.

don’t miracles sound really good to you?  they do to me.  it’s very hard to believe things you don’t see, and not as much the things you do.





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