Friday, January 25, 2013

Intentional Living on Facebook

Our pastor has preached from the pulpit several times that most people don't live intentionally. We just go through our days willy-nilly, one day at a time, not thinking ahead or thinking deep about much of anything.

I don't want to live like that.

As the name of this blog declares, I want to number my days. Rather than just count them, hoping they add up to a big number, I want whatever days I'm given to count for something. For eternity. I want to invest in the lives of those I hold dear. I can only imagine if we could know how many we've been given, if we could see them printed out, numbered down the left hand side of the paper, how we might choose to spend them. There will only be so many. And no matter how many, it will not be enough for all we really want to do with this life.

So where does Facebook play into all that? I don't know what the percentage is, of Americans who have a Facebook page. My husband has one but doesn't ever use it. My son removed his. A few family members rarely post, but rather hang back in the shadows, popping in now and then to leave a comment. Some post daily. We probably are typical.

Lately I've considered that I need to think this Facebook thing through a bit.

I've been guilty of most of the bad things about Facebook. Posting when I shouldn't. Saying what I shouldn't. Leaving snippy comments. Unfriending someone or ignoring their posts when they annoy me. Spending time perusing posts when I should be scrubbing toilets, or paying bills. Leaving a post and coming back too often to see if anyone noticed, then feeling flat when they didn't. Not behavior that I'm terribly proud of.

I've got to do better. In today's world media matters. How I handle it matters. I've considered removing my account several times, but I don't want to lose touch with a few friends who use message rather than email; I don't want to miss out on photos of baby smiles and teeth missing and weddings I didn't get to attend. I want to see when the roads are going to be icy, and a myriad of other things that make a good case for staying engaged. Oh, elusive balance that I am constantly chasing after.

Here's the list of guidelines I've come up with:

#1   No politics! – it only causes division. Even when everyone who comments agrees with the original post, there are those out there feeling excluded or judged. On the other side of the fence. My mother and I joke that we cancel each other's votes, but wouldn't it be nice if we could just say, 'I voted' and leave it at that? It's not that I hate politics. I just hate discussing it, and somehow we've come to live in a world that seems obsessed. How is it that all of us who are not politicians are brilliant and have all the solutions, but those elected into office are clueless? Who elected them? Apparently people who are not in MY circle of friends, MY Sunday School class, MY neighborhood. Makes me appreciate much more my mother-in-law's common subject of conversation - the weather.

#2   Never post or comment when angry.  (A gentle answer turns away wrath.) I'm ashamed to say I've been guilty of leaving a snarky or sarcastic comment when someone annoys me. I've almost always regretted it, and the other times I was likely just still being sinful.

#3  Never unfriend out of anger, or hurt feelings, but recognize that life moves on, people and situations change. It is impossible to stay in touch with everyone I've ever been real life friends with. Sometimes I've agreed to 'friend' someone, to regret it later when I see what they post. Sometimes it's not the best choice to be 'friends' anymore, in real life or thru media. And if I do unfriend someone, and am called on it, I want to be brave and honest enough to own up to it. Recently I've unfriended a couple of relatives who use what I consider offensive language, and say hateful things. I give one strike on that type of stuff before you're out. If they ask, I'll tell them so.

#4 This little light of mine:  I'm to shine a light. I am a child of God, called to give a witness to that. If you can't see a difference between me and someone who doesn't profess to a relationship with Christ then I'm doing something wrong. I can't 'like' semi-trashy stuff one day, and paste Bible verses into my post the next day. 

#5  Be vulnerable.  If I'm hurt or sad or disappointed or afraid or struggling with faith, then I can own up to that, share that. Rarely is anyone encouraged by someone who pretends to have it all together, all the time. I want to be real, even to those who will never meet me in real life.

#6 Like Mama said, 'if you can't say anything nice...'  Ironic that this thing is called Facebook, since so many of us don't see our 'friends' face to face. Likely a good guideline is if I would not say it to someone standing there, then I shouldn't thru social media either. I'm amazed at how nasty people can be when they can stand behind a profile photo, 1000's of miles away. 

#7 Consider why I post, or comment: Boredom? To be noticed? To get reactions? To be encouraged to continue what I'm doing when deep down I know it's wrong? The world will tell me I 'deserve a break today', laziness is okay, mediocre is good enough, etc. etc. etc. I know better.  Imagine if we could, on a day to day basis, get that Proverbs 31 woman to change it up a bit. She'd be a lot more palatable if she'd just, once in awhile, sleep in, order take out, put the chores off til tomorrow, and trash talk her husband to her girlfriends over bookclub. 

#8 Watch how much time I'm wasting / spending online. Likely once a day to check in is plenty, rather than hopping back and forth all day long. This gray hair of mine tells me life is short, time is precious, I don’t have forever. There are too many other things I want to invest in besides seeing what everyone else had for lunch, what politician mispoke, celebrity had a moral failure, or my sexy score for the day.

I so hope I spend my last day here on earth doing the stuff that really matters. Saying 'I love you' more than once, getting and giving wet kisses, hugging too hard, too long, laughing til I snort, crying a little with someone who is hurting, remembering good and bad times and making plans for days ahead that I don't have. On my last day, that last number I've been given, one thing I'm sure of - I won't wish I'd updated my status one last time and checked back to see if anyone liked it.



2 comments:

Betty W said...

Hi Bev! I'm glad I found your blog again. I've been following you and your sister for a long time. Not sure if you remember me.
You have some great tips there. I totally agree. I love fb for the same reasons, especially since we have many friends and family in Canada. But some people can be soooo annoying on fb. What I do is, instead of unfriending them, I go to settings and unclick their updates. That way you don't hurt their feelings, but also don't get all their annoying updates. :)

Bev said...

Hello Betty! I'm laughing a bit at your comments - thinking likely I'm the one who is the more annoying, rather than my 'friends'. I've decided checking updates less often, in general, will likely cause me to skim a bit more, take things with a grain of salt, and enjoy the photos, comments, etc. much more overall. Thanks for stopping by.