Social Media Shouldn’t Be About My Love Tank

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“Inside every child is an emotional tank waiting to be filled with love. When a child really feels loved, he will develop normally but when the love tank is empty, the child will misbehave. Much of the misbehavior of children is motivated by the cravings of an empty ’love tank” (Gary Champan)

I believe that every one of us has a love tank (not just children) and when this tank runs low, we start looking for ways to fill it. This is actually a healthy thing because the Lord created us with a need to be loved, however the way we fill our love tanks is incredibly unhealthy.

Our need for love is meant to be filled through a relationship with God like Adam and Eve had in the garden of Eden. Yet after sinning against the Lord this relationship was broken (Genesis 3:8), and a huge change is seen.

Genesis 3:11   And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Up to this point the relationship between Adam and Eve had been selfless (only focused on ministering to one another) but now they are self-centered (focused on their own needs). So instead of taking leadership and confessing his sin Adam blames Eve for it in verse twelve [1], and Eve blames the serpent (Satan).

These self-centered relationships are explained further in Genesis 3:16 where God curses Eve by saying “your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Basically the Lord is saying the marriage relationship (and all relationships actually) will include a struggle over control.

It can be paraphrased as “Your desire will be for your husbands role as leader (place of decision-making, providing, or protecting) and he will rule over you in a forceful way (take control).Editors note:  Just to clarify I am not saying women cannot lead in relationships, in fact in most cases women are BETTER leaders than men, but Scripture is clear that the role of leadership is with a husband.

So relationships are a back and forth battle between those who have control, and those who want it.

What does this have to do with a love tank or social-media? From that point on we began using others to fill our love tank instead of God.

Of course this directly affects our relationships with others because instead of trying to fill their love tanks we are too busy using them to fill our own.

In the past this was done primarily through physical relationships

  1. Someone giving us a kind word or compliment
  2. Helping us with a problem
  3. Congratulating us on an achievement, or hard work
  4. Listening to us when we are struggling [2]

Today filling of our love tanks is primarily done through online communication.

  1. Someone liking or commenting on a Facebook post
  2. Sending us a private message
  3. Sharing photos of activities together on Instagram
  4. Or sharing our messages with others

Of course it isn’t bad to enjoy things like this, but I find myself craving these things because that’s what fills my love tank. So someone liking my Facebook post isn’t a pleasant surprise, it’s something I must have.

Dr. Ed Welch describes this problem in his excellent book When People are Big and God is Small as “approval addiction” and illustrates it by saying something like a compliment from his wife becomes a thing he must have for a healthy relationship.

The thing with our love tanks is they leak…and when they reach a dangerously low-level it’s easy to write a funny or sad social-media post, then fill our tank with likes and comments (trust me I know).

Yet there will come a day when people won’t interact with us online.

And as someone who has done it in the past let me assure you all the online interaction in the world cannot fill your love tank.

Our only hope is running to God, the one who created our tanks in the first place. And then with hearts filled with love we can begin pouring ourselves out into the lives of others.

  1. and blames God too “the woman whom thou gavest to me”  ↩
  2. these things are actually good, the problem arises when we are only interested in using relationships with others to fill our own love tanks (more about that tomorrow)  ↩

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