Social Media: Exasperating and Intriguing

You guys.

My brain feels like it’s going to explode right now.

I am livid.

So instead of biting off a well-intentioned person’s virtual head and risking appearing wildly unstable among my friends and acquaintances, I’m going to attempt to give language to some of my emotions here. This is my attempt to gain some clarity before I respond (or elect NOT to.)

Consider yourself warned.

I’m working to broaden my descriptive language when my emotional right brain takes over. At the same time, explicits nurture my sensitive nature like nothing else (THEY FEEL SO GOOD!)  Therefore…you might encounter F-bombs ahead. I’m working on it. Promise. (*** edited to add*** I did pretty well, in my humble opinion.)

 

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Here’s what went down:

A well-meaning (I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt) family friend who I haven’t seen in person in at least two decades just reprimanded me for never saying “I’ll pray for you” on Facebook.

Let that marinate for a short minute.

I received a private message from her.

Good thing I don’t have high blood pressure.

And yes, I am quite aware that I’m having an extreme reaction to this scenario.

I’ll attempt to explain my feelings on the matter and hopefully gain some much-needed insight into myself while possibly providing a bit of understanding for people who might be tempted to judge others and try to mask that judging by calling it Christian witnessing.

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Allow me to break down what transpired:

A mutual Facebook friend who is going through something excruciatingly heavy posted an update about her situation. I adore this woman and my heart is breaking for her. Words feel futile, yet I felt compelled to offer something.

I kept it brief but said something to the effect of I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Please know you’re in our family’s thoughts and I’m sending so much love your way. 

Not five minutes later I get a ding that I have a private message. Again, I have not laid eyes on the private messenger in two decades, and the last interaction I remember was when I was around fourteen:

Viv, I love that we’ve been able to re-connect on Facebook. I can’t help but notice that your messages are painfully secular. You were blessed with such a gift for stringing words together. Language is your artistic medium, and I want to encourage you to use your God-given talent in a way that honors our Lord and Savior.

 

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Y’all still with me?

I’ve had a lot of issues with the loud and proud Christians of late, and I say that as someone raised in a cultural Christian home, meaning I went to church regularly, and my family celebrated all the Christian holidays. I learned Bible verses at Sunday School and at Vacation Bible School during the summer. We weren’t there every time the doors were open, and my parents didn’t talk about God and church constantly at home. Still, it was a part of my life growing up.

I was born to well-educated professionals who encouraged critical thinking and taught me to ask questions, particularly of those who claimed to have all the answers. My mother gave me the gift of childlike wonder and taught me to see good in everyone and every situation, while my dad encouraged me to maintain a healthy sense of skepticism and to never believe everything I was told. In many ways it was a nice balance.

“Dig deeper,” he used to say.

I have spent most of my adulthood searching for truth.

For most of my 20s and early 30s I considered myself agnostic, even though the term didn’t feel exactly right.

Religious doctrine and dogma bother me. I’m not sure I know a more accurate way to explain it. It doesn’t sit well with me. Yet, I dig deep and continually try religion because it’s a huge part of the culture where I live. I’m currently at peace spiritually and understand that I’ll never have all the answers and that’s okay.

I am deeply spiritual. I feel a grand sense of connection to the world around me — the natural world, people, animals, etc., and I feel strongly that there is something at play that we can’t necessarily explain or fully understand, and I’m good with that.

I also have a hunger to connect regularly with like-minded people. Church provides that…until it doesn’t. And trust me, I have tried. And I’ll likely try again. I haven’t attended church regularly since we moved just over a year ago, and I’ve been missing it.

But damn if what happened today doesn’t make me want say screw church and screw the loud-mouthed, sanctimonious Christians. And I know a lot of my feelings are heightened because of this dreadful political climate and upcoming election. I really can’t go there at the moment…

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Here’s what bothers me: 

The woman who private-messaged me knows nothing of my heart or my relationship with God or how often I’m “in the Word.”

She knows NOTHING about me other than what she’s cherry picked from a couple of comments I’ve made on social media — ON SOMEONE ELSE’S PAGE. I don’t know that I’ve EVER made a comment on any of her posts or pictures. I’m rarely on Facebook, and I hide people who post gobs of political crap (whether I agree or not), so I’m not bombarded with zen-zapping updates.

And while I’m at it, what the hell is it to her if I choose words that she infers as “secular?”

REALLY?!?!?!?

You wanna know what I have a problem with?

People who fill up Facebook with God-language and then post demeaning hate-filled bullshit. It’s hypocritical and discrediting.

I have a problem with people who support Donald Trump, claiming he’ll make America  great again and bring back values we’re all lacking, while selectively overlooking the fact that he’s a woman-groping racist.

I have a problem with people who see the world through their eyes only and can’t wrap their heads around the fact that their reality isn’t everyone’s reality.

This woman doesn’t like my “secular” language.

I don’t like that she lacks empathy — the ability to place herself in another’s shoes.

I really don’t like that she’s judgmental as FUCK (okay, I warned you…) and then claims that it’s “our job as Christians to call out sin and witness to non-believers.”

I think I’m done.

When I started writing this, I had planned to go deeper into why I have a problem with the way people describe and portray prayer — it’s not a wishlist.

I don’t know everything about God nor do I claim to, but I’m pretty certain he/she isn’t exactly some wish-granting Rumpelstiltskin who spins straw into gold. (I could also be totally wrong. I KNOW.)

AND…while I’m at it, just because I don’t tell everyone on social media that I’m praying for them doesn’t mean that I’m not.

I’ll have to continue in a future post, but I’ll summarize quickly what I think is irritating me. I grew up learning that as long as I prayed, all my problems would be magically solved. Granted, that’s not actually what I was taught, but that’s how I interpreted the lessons — and I’ve had enough conversations with friends to know I’m not the only child who got that take-away from Sunday School. Once experience and hard knocks taught me differently, I dropped church and God like hot rocks because I felt like I had been misled and lied to for years.

Here’s what I know about social media:

I don’t know where every single person I interact with is in terms of their path/journey. It’s not my job to shove my beliefs and doctrine down their throats.

I will continue offering LOVE to my friends — both virtually and in person.

I will continue doing what I can to lift them up when they’re in a low place.

I have never been a fan of unfriending people I disagree with, but lately I’m re-thinking some of that. I’m fine with people sharing their beliefs on their page, and I have no problem with this woman writing a note of encouragement telling a mutual friend she’s praying for her.

But a line was crossed today and it’s making me re-think keeping “friends” who send judgey-ass private messages.

Perhaps I’m not as evolved as I’d like to be, and yes, I realize that I only have control over myself and my reactions, but frankly, I wish she had minded her own business and prayed for me in private.

The whole situation left me perplexed and shaking my head. I’m not sure what to think which is why I’m still mulling it all over.

I unfriend people in a heartbeat who post blatant hate — especially if it’s racist or misogynistic in nature and have done my share of this in the past.

This situation today is a little different. I sincerely believe she was speaking from a place of love; we simply have different views/beliefs. I dig different and I respect her beliefs. At the same time, I’m not a fan of what she did. I feel misunderstood and infringed upon, and I think her private message defeated her purpose.

The good news is that I’m not livid anymore, just slightly annoyed. Thanks for reading if you made it all the way through.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Do tell. I’m listening!

 

 

 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “Social Media: Exasperating and Intriguing

  1. I offer prayers on facebook often, but for crying out loud, I don’t see that as productive “witnessing,” by any means. The fact that someone is demanding them from you is not just rude–that’s like stepping on God’s big toe and blaming Him for being in the way. No. No No No.

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  2. This has happened to me but not regarding religion per se. Well-intentioned individuals from a past life show up at a trying time in your or someone else’s life and tries to give you unsolicited and personally offending advice on what you should or should not do but doesn’t realize how offensive their advice is to you. I’ve heard everything under the sun after my husband died (including “do you regret not having kids or freezing his sperm?”). At this point in my life I had so much crap in my head to deal with I had to file this comment in the trash can, although it originally infuriated me.

    As I get older, my BS tolerance gets lower and lower and I get better at deciding what I need to “give a shit” about (excuse the language) and what I need to let go for my own sanity… it’s extremely hard to do because people will say all kinds of things… For the record, this is one of the reasons why I deactivated my social media accounts… it was causing too much anxiety and as hard as it was to pull the plug so to speak, I am far better off.

    Being aware of what infuriates you and why is a good thing, it may help you react differently if/when it happens again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I’m so sorry about your husband. What is with people wanting to offer up advice to people deep in grief. Highly uncalled for and inappropriate if you ask me. Same here — my BS tolerance is also low these days. I’m going to take your advice and work on being aware of what infuriates me and why. Thank you for chiming in. I greatly appreciate your perspective. 🙂

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  3. I’ve never had an experience quite like it. My mom used to ask “Is it OK if I pray for you?” It meant nothing to me one way or another, but to her it meant a lot. I could appreciate that. I have a real hard time keeping an open mind and have to remind myself, that while they may be judgmental and lack any empathy at all, I must be the reasonable person and not judge them, and to have empathy for them. It ain’t easy! I think you did well, venting here rather than possibly on FB. You are a good and caring person and your PM’er is lucky to know you.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A big “FUCKING” yesssss… Thanks for sharing 🙂 the whole concept of condemnation and assuming baffles me. Your heart is in a good place…just know that…just by offering your love is and will always be enough…that IS a form for prayer…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. There is a term out there somewhere, my sister gave it to me once and I have forgotten it of course because I suck like that, that means something along the lines of being accepting and open to all religions because of a belief that there is shared truth in them all or something like that. Maybe this is why you don’t feel that agnostic doesn’t fit exactly right for you as a term? I will have to ask her for the word again because I think the word is fitting for me better than any out there. I will embrace the customs that make sense and feel right for me (like meditation and mindfulness) and move on by the things that don’t (like prayer) but if they work and feel right for someone else and don’t cause harm to anyone, then all the power to them. They can rock that shit all day long for all I care. I was raised Mormon with a mother that felt strongly connected to her Native American and Celtic ancestry and so we were taught some of that as we were growing up. I ended up with a rather eclectic belief system and by the time I became an adult, I gave up churches. I prefer the earth based practices more to be honest even though I still believe in God. I know this would upset most people I know but it is what it is. Religion and spirituality is a highly personal thing, don’t let others dictate it for you. And don’t be afraid to cut away from the toxicity in your life if you need to either – although I admit that last bit of advice can be hard to follow. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

      • Life got crazy, but I’ve rolling your wise words around in my brain ever since I read this comment. Thank you again for sharing your perspective. Love this line so much —
        “if they work and feel right for someone else and don’t cause harm to anyone, then all the power to them. They can rock that shit all day long.” My thoughts exactly!!!

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  6. lol…just let it go (as far as she is concerned)….and just understand ‘why’ it has affected you this way (within you). There is obviously pain in the way it has made you feel…ask yourself why 🙂
    And the last time I looked, God is unconditional, meaning His love is just that. There is not a judgemental bone in His body (not like many others in this world), and He doesn’t have ANY conditions in His love for you…He loves you exactly as you are. Also meaning that even the ‘F’ bombs have purpose…they, and a million other things are guiding you…to you, and unconditional place like where God is, but it takes much conditions to reach that place, by looking within…for you…no one else…just you 🙂
    The lady in question (even though she probably doesn’t realise it), is doing you a favour. By doing as she has done, it has angered you. Within that is your fear. Seek the ‘why’ it is triggered, and you are closer to resolving it. Resolve it and you are free, no longer bound by the emotions and fear that it triggers. Understand it, and it loses its power…forever.
    Another step closer to that unconditional love that IS within us all…it is only blocked by our walls of fear that we ALL create through life. Understand them and the walls come tumbling down…and open us up to our truth within, that love of self, that IS unconditional love 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your once again wise words, Mark. I’ve mostly let it go. I’m working on art — music and words — as a way to channel my frustration, as well as a way to put love into the world. Some moments are easier than others. And as you mentioned, I’ll continue to examine why her words/actions impacted me as they did. Take care and thanks again for sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Our lives are always a work of art Viv, even the angry chunky bits have purpose. The are the rugged mountain tops in the masterpiece you are painting, the valleys are achieving the balance in our lives, and those beautiful big blue ponds are our serenity.
        You are a masterpiece, interweaving and slowly understanding you, seeing what works and what doesn’t, adjusting and mixing the colors as you go.
        And yes, some days you can find the numbers in your painting, but others want you to adventure and search for that beautiful heart within…only then you will really appreciate what you have endured to find that self love.
        Not easy by any means, but you will appreciate the journey when you ‘see’ the outcome. The day that I finally ‘saw’ the where, why and how come…it was perfect in all that I had done…even the bits where I spat the dummy, it also teaches much 😀
        Then I learned to breeeeathe, see beneath it all, and realise it all has great purpose. May your journey paint a tall vase of beautiful roses in understanding, each step you take 😀

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  7. Wow. I haven’t had something like this happen before because I’m agnostic and I was born Jewish, LOL.
    But you know I went through that horrible unfriending crap on Facebook. Yuck. Social media. It’s a blessing and sometimes not-so-much.

    I’m SOOOOO glad that at the end of this post you were slightly annoyed instead of livid… This well-meaning family friend acted like a, um, how do I say it nicely?
    I can’t.
    The phrase I want to use rhymes with trucking midiot.
    (I’m known around these parts as the foulest mouth in the family…I’m working on improving my potty mouth, but I have a long, long road ahead of me. 😱)

    Back to *you*:
    This person’s actions were so out-of-line, but I agree with you that they came from a loving place and the person was clueless about how it would affect you. Moreover, it pisses me off that her ridiculous private message got you upset; you have enough challenges that are going on in your life, and you needed that PM like you needed a black furry tongue. (I was afflicted with black furry tongue – you might remember the hideous pictures I published for all to see, being the Queen of TMI that I am!) 👀

    Anyway, my sweet, I could go on and on, but you get the gist of what I’m trying to express.
    My first instinct would be that I’d want to unfriend someone who sent that message to me, but I know it’s not so simple, just like you mentioned. I wonder if Facebook has a feature where you can prevent a friend from sending you private messages??? Hmmmmmmmm!

    All I can say is that you’re one of the coolest, biggest-hearted people around.
    I’m VERY interested in what others have to say.

    Sending you big, big hugs, beautiful Viv. Take extra-special care of yourself this week because….
    (prepare yourself for a very profound observation; Pema Chodron, watch out!!!!!)
    Amazing people often attract weird-ass shit. 💩
    YOU rock!
    XoXo
    Dy

    Liked by 3 people

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