You Are More Than Your Data

With the way that companies like Facebook and Google compile data from our smartphones, many have come to the point where we assume these companies already know everything about us. In fact, having advertising and content tailored directly for us can make us feel as though we are defined by our data. It puts us into a box based on our location, friends, political preferences, and the brands we use.

Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ shared an article from The Guardian in which the author says that tech companies ‘know’ so much about us only because we are so normal, so predictable, so average. Fr. Matthew responded to the message of this this article, saying:

“This author was … essentially saying, ‘You’re not that special. Facebook can feed advertisements to you, no problem. So can Google, so can Apple.’

All of that got me thinking that, actually, you are so much more special than just the many different statistics that companies give about you. You are so much more special than just the data that is collected about you.

And while, on average, people might like a certain type of food more, and on average people have a certain idea of what happiness is about, and on average people’s feelings about sports might lean one way or the other – in the sight of God, you are so unique and so special. Fr. Matthew Spencer

In the sight of God, there is nobody else like you. There is nobody before you and nobody after you who can be who you are. I mean, genetically this is easy to demonstrate. The likelihood that just genetically you would be exactly the same as somebody else, unless you’re an identical twin, is so low. But then I look at all the identical twins that I know, and how different those individuals are. Because we are not just our DNA. We are not just our genetics.

We are also the infusion of the soul that God has given to us. We are the culmination of our life experiences. We are beloved sons and daughters of God, made unique in His image and likeness.

You, on the one hand, are average when in comes to the world. Forgive me for saying that, I’m not saying it as a put-down. I’m just saying that statistically, your tastes and your accomplishments are about average, on the whole. But in the sight of God, you are not average at all.

In fact, you are so special that the Father would have sent His Son just to die for you. The Father cares so much for you, loves you so much that His only-begotten Son would have come to the earth, been born, lived here for 30 years, given His life completely, risen from the dead, and ascended. Just for you. That’s how special you are.

God made you in His image and likeness. Unlike anybody else. And because of that, only you can fulfill the role that God has given to you. Only you can fulfill what He desires you to do. And the mission that He wants accomplished on the earth in your lifetime is up to you.

Here’s where it gets very difficult, right? As special, as unique as each of us is, there is a lot riding on your yes to the Lord. There is a lot riding on your obedience to the Father. Just as all of creation held its breath when our Blessed Mother was asked to be the mother of the Messiah … in a smaller way, the same thing is happening with each of our ‘yeses.’

So while you are very special, and while you are very unique, it also comes with the responsibility of being faithful to your mission. Recognizing what God has in store for you, His plan for you and for your salvation. And then, cooperating with that.

So cooperate with God’s grace. Recognize how much He loves you, and don’t shy away from the great challenges, the great mission that He has placed before you.”

Listen to the full reflection below:

St. Joseph’s Workshop with Father Matthew Spencer airs weekdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/4:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.