How many times have you asked, been asked, or even checked Facebook to see if you have more friends than someone else? Are you living under the disillusion that the more friends you have on Facebook, or the more people that follow you on Twitter, define how many real relationships you have in your life? Do you feel like you have “arrived” if you have over 500 friends? I feel, sometimes, that our identity gets wrapped up in little petty things like this and in the long run, we miss a way bigger picture.
I’m very relationship driven. I love being around people and it energizes me, but I’m NOT that girl that has/had a ton of friends. My friendships have always been based on an intense loyalty. My friends from 25 years ago, are my friends today…with very little exception. As I’ve looked back on what makes these friendships tick, it all comes back to the same thing – we spend TIME together. We DO life together and through thick and thin, we endure it all – the good and the bad.
Managing Facebook and Twitter is somewhat a tricky thing for this “want to know the heart of who you are” type person. Let’s be real. It’s hard to really get to KNOW someone through these two avenues of social media. Sometimes it even keeps us at a arm’s lengths distance from knowing the heart of the person. Now, there’s no way we can get to know EVERYONE on Facebook or Twitter that we have friend-ed, or have friend-ed (followed) us, but how can we integrate our culture and still pour into the lives of people on our friend’s lists? I’m convinced that social media is here to stay and how we use it can make great impact. From time to time, personal statements like where you’re eating lunch, or you got a great deal on a sweater (me!!) give us an inside look into the everyday-ness of people’s lives, but how are we using the opportunity we have to update our status to be difference-makers in the lives of others? Luke 10:8 says, “When you enter a town and are received, eat what they set before you.” Now, lest you think this post is going to turn into a post about food, look at what the Scripture is really saying. Get to know your community. Put your finger on the pulse of who they are. DO life with them! Tap into the culture where you live. Statements like these can oftentimes overwhelm me because I feel a sense of “I have to get to know EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. INTIMATELY???!!!!” No! Be engaging. Show people you care from how you treat your waiter, your cashier at the grocery store, to loving on your child’s teacher, be interested in meeting people’s needs. Speak to people when you pass them by, rather than trying to write them messages, or posting on their wall, and really believe that you are forming some sort of relationship with them. I’ve had people walk right on by when they see me in public and not say a word, only to come home and find posts and messages from them in an attempt to converse. Look people in the eye. People don’t walk right on by and not speak when we are looking people in the eye. Our eye contact often says to someone, I’m saying hello and acknowledging you without even saying a word. We once served in a church where people grew up with one another, yet they barely spoke to each other, much less had any physical contact of hugging or patting each other on the back. We began to break the wall and actually hug on them, and before you knew it, they were speaking and actually stopping in the hallways to share life together. It really doesn’t take much.
Now, I have NOT arrived at all in bridging the gap of social media and real everyday life. I despise talking on the phone, and texting, I believe was created for ME alone! We’re not gonna be great at all things regarding relationships, but we can sure be great at some things. Not doing anything will not make a difference at all. Tap into the world around you. Coming back from Venezuela years and years ago, this issue still causes me a whole lotta confusion. America seems to live in a busy, get it done fast mentality, leaving very little time to look people in the eye, pat them on the back and actually say, “You matter to me.” 2011 should be a year of new beginnings for us. We need goals everyday. Start today making people matter. For the ones God has allowed me to get close to in my life, I’m a waaaaaaaay better person now than I was when I started off!