Tag: Twitter

3 Questions to Ask Before You Post on Social Media

Recently, a friend of mine was waiting in her van to pick up her son at soccer practice, like you do when it’s summer, and you have kids and 99% of your time is spent shuttling kids to activities.

She idled there with the car running, two littles napping in the back seat, when suddenly she was startled by someone pounding on her window.  She had accidentally pulled partially into one of three handicapped spaces, waiting for her son to come to the car.  A mother with a handicapped child at home, didn’t approach her to question for better understanding, or respectfully point out her mistake, but instead, pounded and yelled repeatedly for her to move.

The offended mother then took a picture of my friend’s car with the license plate and posted it on Facebook, with publicly shaming remarks, a distortion of the situation, and no chance for explanation or apology. This escalated, with FB readers weighing in, suggesting all kinds of retribution against my friend who had made an innocent mistake.

So here’s what my friend did. After some investigation, she discovered the angry woman had a blog, so she read it all, trying to better understand her. She then wrote a letter of apology for her mistake, attaching some hydrangeas and a bag of peanut m&m’s (which she learned the woman liked from reading her blog), and dropped it in her mailbox.

The woman made it known she has no interest in talking with my friend, so that’s that, right?  I don’t think so. Who knows the pain this woman is carrying and how this small act of grace and peace-seeking may be a seed that will bear fruit in the future?

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

My friend’s experience is just one story – #ouch! Young, old, single, parent, retired… It doesn’t matter. Most of us navigate the mine field of social media on a daily basis. When we’re dinged we need to question for better understanding, and respond with grace. But what about our responsibility as posters?

What’s happened to civil discourse and respectful problem-solving?

 

Here are 3 additional questions we might ask before posting:  

  1. Is this helpful and constructive? Will this promote dialog and understanding, or am I lobbing a “hand-grenade”?

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Col. 4:6

2. Why do I want to post this? Is it coming from a place of hurt? need for attention? anger?

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23, 24

3. Would I feel comfortable saying this directly to my parents, employer, friends of a different faith or political party?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building othersup according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph. 4:29

Those are a few of my thoughts. What would you add?

You might also be interested in this post on “Crucial Conversations”.

 

 

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Why I Love Instagram

I’m pretty cynical about social media these days. Facebook and Twitter, I’ll throw you a bone now and then, but you really make me tired.  But Instagram??? LOVE!*

I love Instagram because…

  • It helps me be pay attention to God’s everyday graces.
  • It is positive, and uplifting. No one is bashing anyone on Instagram.
  • It is a creative outlet. It gives space to communicate what we’re making, the environments that are moving us, and the relationships we value.
  • It’s visual and I’m visual.

For me, Twitter is mostly information sharing. Facebook is where I post links to the blog and try to affirm others, but Instagram feels like a smaller, more personal, more inspiring world.

I’m really picky about who/what I follow on Instagram. If you put up all pictures of your kids, friends, or family, I figure I’ll see them on Facebook.

But if you want some suggestions of feeds l like, check these out:

1. benjaminhole – the ebb and flow of farming life on the Isle of Purbeck, England

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2. wranglertoday – the Today Show’s puppy with a purpose. These pictures chronicle Wrangler’s journey to becoming a guide dog.

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3. earthpix – amazing pictures of places, people, animals, and nature

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4. thedailyst – The Daily Saint – “By saints I meant people who behaved decently in a strikingly indecent society.” These are pictures of people doing random acts of kindness.

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5. bobgoff – uplifting words and pictures from the indomitable Bob Goff, author of Love Does.

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6. usinterior – beautiful pictures from state and national parks

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What Instagram feeds do YOU like that I should check out??

*If ANY form of social media feels like too much to you and you just don’t want to go there, I get it! Good for you if this is a healthy boundary…one thing you want to say “no” to.

#SOTM2013 and Whatever is True…

I am about as good at memorizing as the Kardashians are at staying out of the news.

Basically, terrible.

I didn’t grow up with Awana, but I hear rumors about gold stars or badges and “sword drills” and I imagine competition is involved which I usually love, but in this case it scares me and makes me think if I had Awana-ed I might have more issues to deal with than I already do.

However, God is incredibly gracious and a miracle-worker to boot.

So when I was 23 years old on a mountain path in the Swiss Alps at dusk one evening, all sobbed out and at the end of my faith rope, it was Scripture I knew that God brought to mind to speak to me.

“God is near to the broken-hearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

“I will never leave you or forsake you.”

As clearly and as lovingly as if He was holding me and speaking, those were the words I heard.

Miracle-worker indeed.

Could I have given you chapter and verse?  No.  But that wasn’t the part God wanted to use.

Over and over again in the years since that crisis of faith, God has brought to mind just the right words from Scripture at just the right time to convict, encourage, guide, reassure.

It’s so easy to decide if we can’t do something perfectly, we can’t do it at all.  I mess up chapter and verse, I get words out of order, but somehow God makes it right.  Like songs you listen to over and over on the radio…you may not remember the artist or all of the words exactly, but the chorus?  Or a key line?  They keep coming back.  Maybe they shape us.

I figure it’s hard for God to bring to mind what we haven’t put there in the first place.  So no badges or stars, but when our kids were growing up we tried to memorize Scripture as a family.  At dinner we’d go around the table, each person saying one word of the verse we were trying to memorize.  It would usually go something like this:

Katy: Whatever

Maggie: is

Laura: true

John: ….??  nice!?? helpful!?? interesting!?? Rats!

Katy and Maggie would crack up as their pastor father was most often the first family member to mess up and need a hint.

This week, my friend Lynne, admitted that her New Year’s resolution was to memorize Matthew 5,6, and 7 – the Sermon on the Mount – in 2013.  But as of the end of March, she hadn’t gotten started and needed some accountability.

A few tweets later (@lynnehybels) and there’s a whole movement of folks committed to memorizing this chunk of Scripture with the hashtag #SOTM2013!  

No, I’m not a great memorizer, but if some small essence of God’s Word becomes more a part of me through this discipline, who knows what He might do with this…what “kingdom come” transformation He might want to do in and through us?  Like Lynne writes,

Maybe we can become givers of mercy and pure-hearted peacemakers. Maybe we can become lights in the darkness. Maybe we can embrace a vision of righteousness that looks more like Jesus than the Pharisees…

I’m in.

And in spite of the fact that both Lynne and I threw John under the bus for his comment about just committing to the Beatitudes, I think I’ve got him hooked too.

Oh, and the verse our family was trying to memorize above?

“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent, or praiseworthy.  Think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8)

John got so frustrated, he came up with this pneumonic device: Two neurotic Roman priests lost and eccentric pope.

I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for three whole chapters in SOTM13.

I’d love to hear about your experiences with Scripture memory.  And join us in memorizing the Sermon on the Mount!

The Voice of Fear on Fearless Friday

I do not think of myself at an insecure person.  So writing these next sentences feels a little like Lance Armstrong must have felt coming clean with Oprah.  Except for the fact that I don’t have millions to lose and I’ve never won a bike race and I’m not a guy. Ok, it’s totally different, but here’s my confession.

I’ve been decidedly daunted this week.  Perfectly paralyzed. Buffeted by the winds of self-doubt and discouragement.

This seemed to come out of nowhere, but when I stopped to pray and reflect I can trace the beginnings to a Tweet.  Yep, it took just 140 insensitive characters to take me down.  “Really?”  you’re saying.  Really?

And then there was a post by someone who made me furious and jealous at the same time.

And a word here or the lack of a word there…

Holy Buckets!  Just days ago I was undaunted…bullet-proof, regardless of any spitballs that might be spat my way!  And now the spiral into the comparison trap that left me in a heap of ” Not good enough.  Not good enough.”

Ever end up there?  Maybe by a different road, but still?

Who or What is it in your life that brings up those feelings of fear or insecurity?

Recently I read this quote by Rick Warren that made me respond “Yes!”:

“Insecurity is an internal alarm that says you’re trusting in something that could be taken from you instead of [trusting in] Christ.”  

So I’ve been stewing and praying (sometimes the two look a lot alike) about how to deal with this.  It’s messy and it’s a process and it’s not easy.  Here are a few of the things I’ve been trying.

1.  Identify the voice. When you feel angry, or fearful, or jealous, or small, do you stop and think “Where is that coming from? Just who or what is really saying that to me?”  Why am I giving it such power in my life?  Why does it bring up this strong emotion in me?  Does it tap into a past wound that I need to address?

2.  Challenge the voice with the truth.  “Bring every thought captive to Christ.”  What would Jesus say in response to this narrative?   If the story in your head says anything other than that you are gifted by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, cherished by Him, created for good works that He has for you, it’s a lie and you need to tell it to shut up. (I know, easier said than done!)

3.  Manage what or who you’re allowing to get in your head.  For me this means ruthlessly putting up some boundaries.  Fasting from some social media, and un-following some people who are wonderful but bring out my worst self.  It may be totally different for you.  It might involve the people you spend time with or the shows you watch or where you go or whatever…

Why is this so important?

Because if we listen to the voice of fear and insecurity when God calls us to go, we’ll stay.

When He calls us to stay the course, we’ll run away.

When He calls us to speak, we’ll remain silent.  And I truly believe that all of our voices are valuable and needed in the kingdom.

Those are a few of my strategies.  What helps you?

P.S.  I wrote this and afterwards I saw this great image posted by John Acuff.  Happy Friday!

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Christmas Covet

Recently I heard someone say that they like Thanksgiving much better than Christmas because at Thanksgiving the focus is on being grateful for what we have, and at Christmas the focus is on getting what we want (or maybe more accurately, on what is lacking in our lives).  I hope it’s more than that, but I get what they mean.  There’s a lot at Christmas that threatens our contentment by tempting us to compare and covet, not just the things others have, but their life.

It used to be at this time of year our mailbox was filled with the “Christmas Letter” from friends around the country.                                                                                               The Christmas letter with glowing accounts of our friends’ “best life”…the highlight reel, the “brand”…the image we want to project…

But now with Facebook and Twitter it’s possible to read a perpetual “Christmas Letter” from friends all year long.  Facebook and Twitter can be  awesome tools to connect us in community.  But they can also be places where I covet a life that’s not mine.

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