Twitter users often type a # sign to mark the following word as significant and easily searchable for anyone looking for specific topics. Called hashtags, these symbols essentially call attention to one’s specific post, like shining a spotlight, that anyone could fairly easily search for. Some hashtags, like #enjoythisday or simply the word #peace, help people discover new insights on those topics, as people share what #peace means to them. How to use hashtags effectively takes practice, for sure! But I’ve enjoyed using them, and sometimes they have even helped me share inspiration with a much broader audience. For instance, several months ago I linked to this song I’ve shared below, and described it using the hashtag #joy. That evening, the publisher of an online paper called Spiritualevity Today found my post (because they track posts all across Twitter using that #joy hashtag) and shared this song with their whole audience. It was really inspiring to see how a simple descriptive word could direct so many people to something.
Now, this is all very fun, and I’m sure you’re glad to know more about hashtags, if you didn’t before…but what relation would a Twitter search function have to anything outside of Twitter?
It’s sort of strange, actually. Recently, as I was waking up, the thought came: “What are you a hashtag for?” I have certainly never thought of myself as a hashtag, or a web address, or an @, or anything like that, so this thought took me by surprise. But I really enjoy diving into these thoughts, no matter how odd they seem on the surface.
What I discovered in that dive was a unique parable, shining new light on a familiar idea. A hashtag points people to a specific topic. It’s not the hashtag ITSELF that is important, but the substance – the source, perhaps – behind that hashtag. Therefore, if I’m considering myself as a hashtag, it raises the question: are my actions, words, thoughts – my life – all about ME? Or do they point people to my source, my substance? And if so, what source do they point to?
This train of thought immediately made me think of a key sentence in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, in the Bible. It reads, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV Study Bible) That’s a pretty clear statement of source! Now, I don’t see this as just some pretty words – the truth of that statement is what inspires and impels my work and my life, and I see the fruition of that truth every day. There’s another idea in a book I love to study along with the Bible, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, which also shines a bright light on this foundational Bible passage. It reads, “Man is not God, but like a ray of light which comes from the sun, man, the outcome of God, reflects God.” (p. 250) The outcome of God! The reflection and expression of divine goodness! So there, I realized, was the “code” behind me being a hashtag: it’s not me, in and of myself, that’s important, but rather I get to realize that I’m the immediate expression and outcome of God. As we all are! In other words, in a spiritual search, #John should direct thought right back to God, without anything unGodlike muddying up the connection.
So if we, as the expressions and ideas of God, all point thought back to God, then there can’t truly be anything about ourselves which would point the opposite direction. Now, this is certainly an interesting and fresh way for me to look at and choose my behavior and thoughts – is this choice something that goes along with my nature as a hashtag to God? But it also applies to things which many people don’t believe we have a choice about, or are simply subject to – things like illness, poverty, depression, pride, anger… But all these things are certainly not the outcome of God, who is described elsewhere in the Bible as Love itself. Again, I and many others have certainly seen the truth of God’s nature as Love expressed in our own lives!
So, if those qualities or thoughts aren’t of God, then how could God’s effects (you and me) include them as a part of our make-up? It would be like having a hashtag of #health_sickness or #joy_hate; the two just don’t go together. Being that hashtag pointing to God really means we have to be made up of one essential substance, rather than two or more conflicting ones. Since God is my source – the source and Creator of all of us – we never have to give in to the suggestion of anything otherwise.
Of course there’s much more diving to be done into this exploration of God as our Creator – our Father-Mother – but this brief idea of seeing myself and others as hashtags directing thought to God has really brightened my day!
Will you join me in cherishing all God’s hashtags?!