Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a Little Grace

Let's Talk.

Last night some friends and I had Bible Study together. It was a special time as always with lots of talk, many laughs, and as you would suspect, a good amount of food. I mean everyone needs to eat, don't they? And what better time to do it than when you're discussing The Word.

Praise God and Bless all the Hearts.

A particularly lively discussion ensued when we reached the section on the prevalent societal problem popularly identified as "Pride of Lifestyle".  And although we hear about and see this in myriad ways, it's most often glaringly revealed in the posts and photographs we scroll through every day when looking at social media of all types.

To be clear- we all think posting and sharing with friends is good. It's just that it's hard to ignore the fact that in all too many a few cases it's also clear that the person posting has, let's say, an agenda.

You know the one. The friend(s) who constantly posts about their frequent travels to exotic places. And yet instead of just the lovely shots of scenery and informative suggestions (which we might love) on where to visit in case anyone else gets the opportunity to go (give me a beautiful picture of mountains and/or trees any day!) you seem to get lots! of photos of them with their spouse/significant other holding a wine glass up to the sunset on the balcony of an expensive hotel or restaurant patio. Or the pictures of the expertly plated (3rd) gourmet meal of their day. Vacations are great. We all love them, and usually desperately need them. Perhaps, though, in our enthusiasm to occasionally overshare it might be wise to edit the re-cap of the trip to include some photos that actually show the place that you visited and not just you in that place. It's possible that we (myself included)  might send the message: Look where I was! I drank lots of wine, took lots of selfies, and most importantly did not do all the boring everyday things that all you other people did while you were not here too.

Then there are the exercisers. They are so tired because they ran/walked 16 miles in the awful heat this morning. And just to help you visualize, they post a map of their route. Thank you. I was concerned about which direction you went. They played two rounds (matches? sets? quarters?) of tennis just before lunch, but that's OK because it was certainly easier and less strenuous than the 4 hours of Crossfit they did at dawn. Meanwhile you are reading this in your hole-y yoga pants that you fully intend to wear ALL DAY LONG. And frankly there will be no yoga involved. That would require getting off the couch and entirely too much exercise.
In all seriousness, people might want to think a bit about their motivation for these posts. Are they motivational/inspirational to others? Is your honest intention to encourage others to get healthy, or to invite friends to join you?
Or is it possible that you're saying: Look what I did! I'm not on my couch like you! My yoga pants are aptly named! As a matter of fact my second yoga class of the day starts in 20 minutes and I need to start running there now. I should hydrate more.

(No need for me to include myself in this group because, you know, EXERCISE.

Let's also consider those who like to share photos of what they just bought. Things like clothes or jewelry, or your 19th pair of fancy and expensive cowboy boots (you just can't help yourself! although you never wear most of them! they're just so cute! and after all! you didn't have a turquoise and red pair!) Really?
Now if you just bought a much anticipated new house (Yay!) or a new car after driving a beater for the last 10 years? Post away! We celebrate with you! The friends who know and love you will always appreciate you sharing milestone and life-changing purchases. And by all means, if you got a cute new (or old) dog (I mean pet...) you cannot post enough pictures. All dog All new pet pictures and stories are appropriate. The more that involve weird pet sleeping positions and doggie "bloopers" the better. Pet photos are cute and entertaining. Bring them on.

But shoes. Accessories. A fur jacket. Let's re-evaluate here.
Are we seriously considering our motivations when we post pictures of these purchases? Do other people really need to know that we just bought that? Is someone out there waiting to get this news?

Or are we saying: Look what I bought/have/own/just got! Do you have one too?

I'm aware that many of us have small group pages on social media made up of good, extremely close friends with whom we can share anything at all. No holds barred. This is good. We love to see all things from all the people there.

But your public, everyone sees it place? Not so much.

Despite my obvious cynicism on the issue (please forgive) I hope you're able to glean my point here.
 I think social media can be wonderful (Hello, my name is Lu and I'm kind of a blogger.) We can use it to keep in touch, be informed, and share important (or even not so important) news. We can make people laugh, encourage, and love on people in ways in which they may never be touched otherwise.

All it takes is a little self-evaluation and showing some grace. Because we can all use a little grace.

All the time.


Wanda Fewell said...

Lu, were you offended by my glowing description of the lovely evening I spent with my nephew (your son) and his new wife and her family at their great beach house? Oh wait, my motivation actually was to make you jealous. Sorry!

Lu said...

Ha! Sister! Not offended in the least, but definitely jealous!!!!