A month ago I realized the degree of my involvement with social networking was hindering my offline relationships. I started making changes and shared about one of the changes here. This month has been refreshing and I’ve been learning some interesting lessons. The most interesting ripple effect of this has been the dozen or so people who emailed asking, “What is this doing for you? Social networking kind of consumes me.” I figured it might help others out there to open up about some of the things I’ve been learning in this transition to just a presence online, with a goal of continuing to be better face to face.
The Freedom That Comes With This Is Great
I have WAY more time. Time for my wife, my girls, the church, meeting with people. Limiting my social network engagement (i.e. logging in, scrolling through news feeds, viewing profiles, heading down rabbit holes) has just been a breath of fresh air. Over the last month, I’ve had even more meaningful conversations than I was already having. It’s because I’m more available.
Likes, Comments, & Numbers Don’t Define Me
The moment I moved my Facebook profile to a standard page, 92 people Unliked me. And, in just a few days, another 73 people followed as well. It made me wonder, “Why were they my ‘friend’ one day and then when I transitioned to a Page to better myself in real life, they bounced?” Dropping like flies (but I can’t see who they are, which is probably a good thing). I realized, within 24 hours or the transition, online relationships have limited to no investment. It’s the offline investment that matters. Unfriending & Unliking or a skyrocketing friend count doesn’t define me. It’s your values, faith, and ultimately for me, my relationship with God that define me.
I Will Always Be Under A Microscope
If you’re doing anything worth something, expect someone to not be happy with that something, and with you. I’m a fragile, fallible mess, but God still uses me despite my flaws. But, it’s hard to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:38-42), and it’s exactly what Jesus calls us to do. So, I’ve chosen to ignore the hurtful things that are simply aimed at wounding me. It’s counter productive to the mission God has me on of being a husband, father, and pastor. I have a handful of Godly men & my wife who keep me in line when I step out of bounds.
God Built My Heart & Flow Of My Life, Not The Zuck
On Facebook for desktop, you can see how recently people logged in, in the chat slider. It’s rare to see people who haven’t logged in within the last hour or two. Which means, Zuckerberg took a note from Pavlov’s experiment, and he’s somehow conditioned us so that we feel it needed to have a constant connection to something we didn’t even use just a few years ago. God built how I need to move and function. I needed to tap back into that in a deeper way. So my Bible reading is longer and more often, meaningful conversations are daily, I’m finding myself longing to make new friends and stop in to see old friends. It’s how I was BEFORE being so connected online, and I love being back in that.
People’s Highlight Reels Are Online, The Behind The Scenes Are Offline
Graduations. Weddings. Date Nights. Cute kids. Nobody’s running to their keyboard to share their marriage is falling apart, they haven’t had a date night in months, the kids are rebelling, and the wedding ended in shambles. But, in real life, those stories get talked about, opened up, and healing begins. It’s the outtakes I want to know about. Everybody else already knows the pretty lives we dress up to a certain extent online. Face to face gets real, real quick. And, I love it.
I Just Got Tired Of Watching People Be So Hurtful
Bravery abounds behind the confines of a keyboard & screen. It’s easy to attack & critique. I got caught up in it a few times, and I watched it happen daily. It deeply saddened me. Many times it wouldn’t ever be something the people would say or even act like face to face. So, leaving that behind has helped me a bunch. I don’t have a news feed or see anyone’s pages now, so the only way I know about them is if I… see them around town or pick up a phone and we talk. It’s nice.
The Command Of “Be Still” Is Becoming New Again
The call for every believer to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10) is something I always thought I knew, but I’m learning it with a new lens. I’m excited to see what God has in store for me.
I’m Not The Center Of The Universe
It might be hard for us to believe, but not everyone is keeping up with all of our stuff & updates. Also, having a personal profile that is all about us, well it just screams that this is our own little world. I’m reminded with all the people who I thought were friends bouncing from my page, the world still does and always will revolve around a great God, not my profile & updates.
My True Relationships Are Surfacing Quickly
Many people have sent emails, messages, called, texted, etc to talk about this. It’s been so nice. And, we’re planning dinner dates, play dates, meetings, coffee stops, and more. Those people love our family, speak truth into our lives, and it’s refreshing. Our family is humbled to have so many people around us who want to see our family and the church at Forefront succeed.
There are plenty more things I’m learning.
But, some of those are just between me and God.
I love still having a simple presence on Facebook.
It’s great to interact there.
I look forward to knowing you better.
Face to face.