By Heather Walton
I think it’s time we consider breaking up. I feel like our relationship isn’t healthy. I find myself too dependent on you, checking on you too often, trying to make sure our relationship is still okay. I need to know that people are reading my posts, and I really hope they like them. I know sometimes I write stuff people don’t like, but I really hope they won’t judge me for it, or worse, unfriend me, or even worse, presume my eternal fate. I crave social points. I want to know my worth is secure, and everybody knows that likes, positive emojis, shares, and friend requests offer security. I mean, if everyone on social media thinks I’m alright, well, then I must be. Right … ???
Even then, you know, I’m not sure. You know, there could be people who unfriended me and I didn’t notice. Didn’t I see someone pop up in my friend suggestions yesterday who I thought was already my friend. What was up with that?
And sometimes I post something and somebody doesn’t like it, and they say something really unkind back to me, or they scold me, even calling my character into question. I know you can’t tell tone in a comment, but it sure seems like they’re yelling at me, or shaming me. Maybe I’m not okay after all. Maybe they’re right, and I’m insensitive, or an idiot, or a bad friend. Maybe I really don’t know the right way to think. Maybe I should just stop posting anything that might offend.
But then I try that, and I still end up offending someone over something I didn’t even consider controversial.
Sometimes I wonder which life is reality. Is there a living, breathing representation of me somewhere in cyberspace? Sometimes it sure feels like it!
It used to be that I would fret over the things I actually verbalized to people, and that was enough. Now I also get to overanalyze online dialogue. And I receive feedback from any number of people with whom I never would have shared in person what I posted online because of the sheer volume of people who can be reached in a nanosecond on the Internet. Several post their commentary for my reading “pleasure.” And have you ever noticed how bold people will be online? Most of them would never actually say out loud some of the things their fingers will vomit out onto the screen.
Some people choose to only use social media to showcase themselves. Others to share lighthearted memes and family photos. Nothing wrong with that. But, and I’m sure you’ve noticed, Facebook, I’m kind of intense. I have convictions and I want to share them, not because I want to shove my thoughts down people’s throats, but because I believe in the free exchange of ideas, and because I believe what I have to say is worthy of being heard.
To go even further, I believe God has called me to seek truth and to speak and write about it. If I break things off with you, then I won’t be able to share with them as easily. Do I need you? No. Might God use you to get His message out through me? I hope so. Now that may sound prideful, but for me, writing is a calling. In the parable of the talents, the stewards were expected to use what the Master gave them and to multiply it. My Master has gifted me with the talent of writing, and I dare not bury that talent by keeping it hidden only in my journal. If I did, that would actually be the prideful move.
I really do believe that God has called me to communicate in writing with a fallen, desperate world, to tell them that Jesus is the answer to all that ails them. Sometimes He calls me to write stuff that I really would rather keep to myself. Other times I make mistakes. But my intent is always to glorify God and to serve my fellow man.
So for now, I guess I’ll hang in there. I need to remember that it’s not about me, how I feel, or how comfortable or popular I am. It’s about obedience to share what God has laid on my heart, in hopes that it will encourage and strengthen Christ-followers, and draw unbelievers to Jesus. Sometimes that offends people who disagree, but that doesn’t change God’s call or His truth.
Okay, Facebook, I guess we’ll give it another chance, but I’ve got to remember not to get caught up again in trying too hard and analyzing too much. I have to remember that my real Audience sits on the throne of the universe and not on the other side of a screen.
P.S. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 ESV).