Five Minute Friday: Grow

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

Wicked headache yesterday. Spent my time curled up on the couch, attempting to sleep it off. The dogs made sure to get up in my face to see if they could provide any comfort by way of hot breath and calloused paws. The husband brought me an iced coffee in the hope that a jolt of caffeine would soothe the pain. Pain pills and ice packs later, I’m upright but not entirely human.

Kate says: grow.

Go.

I’m taking a break from social media.

Facebook and Twitter can be great things. I’ve connected with wonderful people across the miles through those platforms. My church family shares prayer requests and praises on our group page. There are times when social media is beautiful.

Then there are times, like right now, when it’s a time-sucking waste. I don’t care what dress some flash-in-the-pan celebrity wore to the latest narcissistic awards show. (How is that even a trending news item, anyway?) I don’t care that someone to whom I barely spoke in high school wants to be friends now. I don’t care about Farmville or whatever it is the kids are playing these days. I don’t care about David Avocado Wolfe and his octaves of sunlight and other ridiculousness that is relentlessly shared.

But I stay engaged, despite the not caring. Because I want to be distracted. From what is good and better. From what I need to focus on right now.

Growing up is hard to do. Again, social media is not the great ill of the world. It’s a useful tool. Did you read that correctly? A tool. Not a means of measuring the quality of friendship. Not a way to feed the gnawing hunger for recognition. Not a good use of the hours we have been given when other duties and delights are clearly shoved to the background.

I have a love-hate thing going on here and I’ve crossed into the “hate” phase. In a world of immediacy, I crave distance. Quiet. While I’ll never completely abandon social media, especially as a blogger, it’s time for me to take a soul inventory. What needs to go? What needs to stay? What should be added? How is God directing me to order my days so that He can grow me into the woman He wants me to be?

I don’t have clear answers to those questions, but this I do know: The feeds don’t satisfy. They are junk food, empty calories. I need substance.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Alexander Filonchick
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Finding My Voice

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Gentle Reader,

Something has clicked for me.

It began on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, referenced in this post. I certainly don’t think that social media is the place to air each and every thought and emotion. I don’t think blogging is the appropriate place for that, either. Nobody likes a constant stream of word-vomit. Discretion and wisdom are necessary in the online life (not to mention the “real” life). It’s important to consider what and how we share. Some things are great for general discussion. Others should be kept between trusted friends and family. Still others are meant to be hashed out with God alone.

So I’m not about to pontificate on every issue under the sun. But neither am I going to go out of my way to avoid voicing an opinion.

I’ve been doing that. Keeping silent. Honestly, part of that is because I think a lot of what passes for urgent these days is just a waste of time. People need to get off the computer and go do something worthwhile. Volunteering at the shelter has really changed my perspective. There are much bigger things going on in the world than what kind of meat to eat or if meat should even be eaten at all.

But it’s more than that. My friendships span a wide spectrum. Vegans and carnivores. Atheists and Christians. Pro-vax and anti-vax. I’ve often been reluctant to “like” or “share” a post because “what if so-and-so sees I did?” I’ve shied away from leaving comments because “what if so-and-so gets angry?”

And then the clicking.

First, I realized that it made no sense whatsoever that I would allow others the freedom to share their views, even views that I highly disagree with or find offensive, while not allowing myself the same freedom. Second, I realized that if a friendship falls apart because of differing takes on such trivial matters then it wasn’t really a friendship to begin with. Third, and perhaps most crucially, I understand the difference between attacking a person and criticism of a stance. No longer do I tolerate someone who chooses to be insulting on a consistent basis but I don’t at all mind someone who challenges my way of thinking. If I can be challenged, then I can challenge others. That’s healthy discourse.

All of these thoughts were subconscious. I haven’t been able to articulate them until today.

The third point in the above stirs me. We as a society have conflated personal attack and ideological criticism. We assume that anyone who holds a different position is saying something nasty and personal. We don’t know how to handle relationships that aren’t 100% square in all things. All too often we run away from anyone who dares to disagree. That bothers me a great deal. I don’t want to live in a world where everyone thinks exactly the same as I do. Heaven forbid I ever start to think that I can’t learn anything from anyone, that my way is the only right way. (Obviously I’m not talking about Jesus here, so don’t even start to think that I’m saying something about all religions being equal).

Disagreement is normal. It’s fine. It doesn’t have to be vicious.

I’ve chosen to step out and share my thoughts about some controversial things on my Facebook page. I said the Affordable Health Care Act is a joke because it’s not true reform at all, though I hardly place all the blame for that on the shoulders of the President. I said that I’m tired of articles that talk about how much the Church sucks because the people who write them are largely of my whiny, lazy, self-centered, entitled generation; a generation who, as a general rule, refuses to acknowledge its own responsibility in anything. I came out as a pro-vaxxer. (This last one may actually lose me some friends and I seriously don’t get it. I don’t understand why this is such a heated topic. Or even a topic for debate at all. But again, I fully support everyone’s right to think that they want).

You know what?

It felt good.

So, so good.

I didn’t call anyone names. Just said what I thought. It’s fine with me if other people disagree. We can talk. If they don’t want to talk, if they want to walk away, that’s fine, too. Sad, but fine. I have no control over anyone’s response.

Maybe it’s because I’m 30. Maybe it’s because I had a tumor. I don’t know. I’m just done with being scared. I’m so, so, so tired of letting other people have that much influence over me. I’m disgusted with the stupid, ridiculous fights I see over minute, ultimately meaningless details when there’s a lost, broken world dying for truth. I’m over all of it. Sure, I’ll tell you what I think and I find a new sense of freedom in that, but I’m not going to fight about it. I have better things to do.

Frankly, so does everyone else.

My journey to faith. (15)