Why It’s Good to Keep Quiet on Social Media

by | Mar 12, 2014 | Encouragement, Lent


A few weeks ago, I drove four hours to the seaside community in North Carolina where H was a pastor, for a private writing retreat at a friend’s beach house. As I entered the front door of the three-story stilted house with the winding staircase, the smell of the sea greeted me like a voyageur returning home after a long journey. I stood at the picture window, watching swells break on shore, spread out a foamy blanket and pull back out into the depths.

Quiet about my pilgrimage, I longed to reconnect with several people while visiting but the goal was large word counts. I remained steadfast and faithful to the muse.

On Sunday, during my lengthy drive to church, I asked God to reveal who he wanted me to spend time with on Sabbath. Someone I haven’t seen in months, perhaps years, came quickly to the forefront.

As I walked along the sidewalk toward the church entrance, I was stopped in my tracks by people flinging themselves out of side doors from a room walled with windows upon spotting me at first glance. I’m not sure I can explain what being loved like that does to my heart.

Late to worship, I quietly tiptoed into the sanctuary and took the nearest empty seat. Immediately, a hand squeezed my shoulder from behind my back. When I turned around, I wasn’t surprised to see that the hand belonged to the woman that came to my mind while driving. “It is so good to see you,” she whispered close to my face.

Afterward, willingly swarmed by more smiling faces, she left before I could ask her out to lunch. I thought perhaps that was it, God was alerting me that we would reconnect briefly.

On my way back to the beach house, I stopped at Panera for the internet. When I walked in the front door, she was seated with a mutual friend, finishing lunch.

“I was going to ask you to lunch but you were busy talking to people,” she remarked. I smiled and told her I had the same intention.

Quickly removing empty soup bowls and crumpled napkins off the table, they insisted we move to a larger table and talk. After an hour my friend admitted she almost stayed home from church but felt prompted to push herself past comfortable. “I almost missed out on this encouraging conversation,” she admitted.

I forgot about the internet.


As I read the Gospel of Mark for the #LentChallenge this week, I’m struck by how many times Jesus performs miracles and then asks people to keep it quiet. “Don’t tell anyone,” he charges the crowds who witness the healing of the deaf man with the speech impediment. (7:36)

He enters a house and doesn’t want anyone to know about it (7:24) and then casts demons out of a woman. The disciples are charged to refrain from speaking about his transfiguration, yet he instructs the man freed from the habitation of demons into a herd of pigs, “Go and tell your family” (5:19).

In a world searching for purpose by proclaiming every thought, word and deed on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, I remember that Jesus is discriminating about how he communicates.

When I like to know outcomes and insist on putting the personality of Jesus within the parameters of my experience, I remember that the way of faith isn’t a formula to follow but an intimate relationship of meaningful conversation.

There is a reason why he permits sharing your heart sometimes and to quietly ponder the next. Why he says, “Wisdom is justified by her deeds,” not justified by the approval of others. (Matthew 11:19)

300x250-Lent-Ad-150x150Join us today for Redemptions Beauty Book Club where we’ll be talking about the scriptures that stand out for each of us as we read the New Testament together for the#LentChallenge with Margaret Feinberg.



Linking with Holley, Jennifer,  Lyli and Emily.

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Jody Ohlsen Collins

    Shelly, God had a message for me through the conference I went to last week (making peace with Twitter was part of it) but His voice was tender and touching throughout and I was in tears a lot. He confirmed it at church on Sunday in Vancouver when I got to worship with my daughter in law and the pastor’s message from Ecclesiastes 9 included this line, “”You can only hear a quiet voice in a noisy world if you’re listening for wisdom.” A good caution for me as I venture out. And of course I tweeted it. 🙂
    thankful for your words and honesty, friend.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I’m so glad to know God met you in such a special way Jody. What a gift. Smiling here and thankful. Hugs to you my lovely friend.

  2. Jennifer Camp

    Shelly, you are so precious. I just want to hug you. Your words rescue me now. They pull me in to listen to Him, to seek Him. . . just when I was feeling so down and had just confessed to Him . . .asking Him to purify my heart. Just thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      I was so surprised to see you here Jennifer because you were the last person on my mind when I fell asleep last night. I think that was probably God, don’t you?

      • Jennifer Camp

        I was so supposed to read your words, Shelly, And It got me thinking about how it feels like such a loss for me to not have connected with you more, face to face, while at Allume in the fall. You just bless, sister. I’m grateful.

  3. Christie Purifoy

    So much wisdom here, Shelly! It sometimes feels like trying to walk a tightrope – this discerning when to stay quiet and when to speak boldly. I’m grateful for the example of Jesus and grateful that he really does show us moment by moment which way to go.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m learning to let go and give myself permission to do it. It’s an inner wrestling match sometimes. Thanks for being here Christie, I appreciate you so much.

  4. Lisha Epperson

    Hi Shelly! I’m your neighbor today at Tell His Story! These link-ups amaze me. I often find synchronicity of thought or similar patterns of reflections in my neighbors posts. Today was no exception. I used Mark 4:23 to talk about quiet and listening. I thought about my mother as I read your post. As a newlywed (over 17 years ago), she advised me to be discriminating with friends in sharing about my marriage…even with her. She is a firm believer in “not everything is for everybody”. Your post reminds me that all communication,even…and maybe especially the miraculous, deserves discernment. Thanks.

    • Shelly Miller

      It sounds like you had a remarkable mother Lisha, you are blessed. I read a few posts today highlighting the same verse. You think God is trying to get a point across? I do. It’s lovely to see you here, truly.

  5. Dori Cook

    Goodness! This was powerful! This is something God has really been impressing on me recently — how everything thought and action doesn’t need an audience of the masses. Maybe it is something sacred and holy just between me and God. Thank you for sharing! I am so happy I stopped by here from Holley’s link up!


    • Shelly Miller

      I think we’ve lost that a bit Dori, being okay with pondering like Mary, without sharing thoughts. Happy you stopped by too.

  6. Kris Camealy

    Such a great and timely reminder for me, Shelly. I’m feeling such a pull to say less in public. So unusual for me…but God is surely teaching me something hard, and you articulate part of what I’m learning so beautifully here. Love you, sweet lady.

    • Shelly Miller

      That is unusual for you Kris, but I know you hear God’s voice and heed it. Can’t wait to see you in three weeks. (which is a shocking realization for my speaking engagement — eek!)

  7. Jaana

    Such a beautifully written post with so much wisdom! The word that will stay with me is: Listen. Listen more. Thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes! That was the point Jaana, so glad it resonated with you.

  8. Jillie

    Kiirgegard: “If I could prescribe only one remedy for all the ills of this modern world, I would prescribe silence. Because even if the Word of God were proclaimed in its fullness, it would not be heard. There’s too much noise. So, begin with silence.”
    I love this quote because it’s so true. And it seems to fit with what you’ve written today, Shelly. You began with silence in your beach retreat. There is a time for words and a time to keep silent. And, when we ask Jesus, He shows us which time is which.

    • Shelly Miller

      Jillie, I really love that quote and also the way you pointed out that my retreat started with silence. I really hadn’t noticed that, thank you.

  9. Natalie

    Well, Shelly, I thought I commented earlier from a different computer and when I got on to say what I really needed to say, the comment was gone. God’s ways… God used my vacilation over whether or not to really do much with my blog’s facebook page in the most fun way. I started the page when I started the blog but I didn’t do anything with it until a few weeks ago, when I linked it to my blog so that there would actually be something on it if and when I started to use it. To make a kind of long story very short, my page rolled out in public among strangers first and then friends without decision or action on my part, which, for me at this point in my journey, is the best way it could have rolled out – by God’s guiding hand. I appreciated your thoughts and hope the weather allows you to write outdoors again today.

    • Shelly Miller

      I wrote outside all day today, it was awesome. Thankful for you and the way you pay attention to things. It’s a gift.

  10. Janet from FL

    I don’t understand why people want to post their every moment on twitter or facebook. Much of it is TMi (too much information). Sometimes I think people aren’t thinking that everyone can read it. Why do they want everyone to know their private moments. I don’t get it. I do enjoy encouraging people, and sharing inspirational pics or stories or blogs. I totally enjoyed this blog post, Shelly!
    (my blog is http://faithcounts.wordpress.com)

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Janet, I enjoy sharing encouragement and inspiring finds. Thanks for being here.

    • Shelly Miller

      Only three words? Kidding, of course. *wink* Thanks for being here Sandy, loving your 40 word posts during Lent.

  11. Beth

    A powerful reminder, Shelly. It’s something I do much pondering on. At times I think I should be saying more…a sort of keeping up with everyone else mentatlity. But I’m more careful with what I share, or at least I try to be. And I need to stop those thoughts of thinking I need to be like everyone else.
    Blessings to you.

    • Shelly Miller

      The keeping up part is exhausting isn’t it? And yes, God’s really been hammering that home to me that he doesn’t want me to be like everyone else because we are all unique in what we bring to the table. Just because the masses are doing something, doesn’t mean its permission for us to follow. It takes some courage and thinking to be yourself, at least for me anyway.

  12. Nancy Ruegg

    You’ve probably seen this before, but just in case…

    LISTEN and SILENT are spelled with the same letters. To listen, we have to be silent.

    That wisdom holds true whether we’re listening to a friend or listening to God.

    So glad you were able to enjoy some silence at the beach AND some uplift at your previous church–as well as at Panera Bread!!

    • Shelly Miller

      You know what? Never knew about the Listen/Silent thing. I guess I’ve been under a rock. Thanks for sharing.

  13. JViola79

    I am so glad that I stopped to read your post. I am also doing the NT reading challenge. I have been struck with the # of times Jesus requests those who had been healed to also keep quiet. You have expressed so well the importance of being discriminating in conversation especially on social media. Thank you!

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad to know you are doing the reading. It’s been rich, hasn’t it? Thanks for the encouragement.

  14. Holly Solomon Barrett

    Awesome post! It took me a long time to learn that I don’t have to tell everything I know (and sometimes I still have to be reminded!). I appreciate your encouraging words here.

    • Shelly Miller

      Appreciate you too Holly, thanks.

  15. Michelle Lewis

    This was exquisite. Love it.

  16. pastordt

    Love this, love this a lot. Why can’t we bottle up the emotions of such days and go back and drink a swig once in a while? So glad you were loved, so glad you had a great lunch conversation. Sounds like pretty much the perfect getaway to me: writing and friends.

    • Shelly Miller

      You are so very kind Diana, thank you. I’ve missed you lately, feeling like I’m drowning in all the focused writing and travelling. It’s a season, that is what I keep telling myself. Please know I love you, though I’ve been silent lately.

  17. Danelle

    I’m here today Shelly. God drawing me to your writing corner. Now I understand why. And I have a feeling you do too. Wow. I’ll keep my words brief, I think you know my heart. . . .Thank you my friend. *Thank you*

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh my gosh, what a gift to see you here Danelle. Yes, I get it. You are listening well friend . . . and being faithful. Love you so.

  18. Monica Lee

    I love how you applied Christ’s actions from Biblical times to very current issues. Sometimes share, sometimes hold back and the intimate continual conversation is the best (and only) way you know what is best.

    • Shelly Miller

      I love seeing you here Monica, thanks for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me.

  19. Lyli Dunbar

    Your word here remind me of a Scripture that I think of often in Luke 2 where it says that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Sacred Silence

    Thanks for linking up at Thought-Provoking Thursday! 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      I thought the same thing Lyli, but there is only so much you can write in a blog post, right? Thanks for being here.

  20. Darlene Collazo @ {In Pursuit}

    Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom. I’ve often felt this. There have been times I’ve written entire posts or status updates only to delete them before sending them because I didn’t feel I had permission to release those words…

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh, I’ve been there Darlene, I know that feeling well. I always pray before, during and after I hit publish. Thanks for visiting, appreciate your thoughts.

  21. Dana

    Thanks for this, Shelley. I have given up my favorite “social media” outlet for Lent. I realized I was spending too much time on it and saying more than I should.

  22. Tara_pohlkottepress

    you know that I believe in this. in being intentional even and especially with our 140 character count. because condensing our life to fit inside an instagram square, a retweetable quote or organic view on FB leaves so much hollow in its wake. showing up for the glorious and messy every day life? leads us to even more than we could ever imagine. love you friend.

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