A Facebook testimony
To start, a few visuals—
The runner who can’t break their personal record.
The scale that won’t budge on your weigh loss journey.
The gamer who can’t get to the next level.
The rock climber who can’t get reach the peak or plateau. At a distance, they see the big picture. Up close, there are obstacles to overcome. There may be loose terrain. There may be cliffs too big to pass. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Each scenario, they keep trying.
It’s the intense feeling there is more, you just can’t get there as fast as you’d like. It’s a fire in your belly that motivates you to keep pressing on— not to give in or give up.
This morning I am starting my descent from a mountain. Or perhaps, the ascent up the next hill. I know I can’t stay in this plateau long-term. It was exhilarating to reach this peak. This last level was monumental.
Along the way, I needed to share the joy as well as the pain as a testament of faith. Sharing provided a cheering section to keep pressing on. This platform is what it is and it is what we make it (as well as what we take from it). It may appear self-absorbed to some. It may appear too bold to others. It may be judged as inappropriate as well. Even so, we dance to the beat of the drum that we hear.
I took a long break from Facebook for a few good reasons. It was what was best to reestablish my footing in life— anxious emotions and a fractured self-esteem. It was good to break away (October 2017 to July 2019). Coming back was a healthy process of moderating the gas, the brake, and the clutch as I shifted gears. Evaluating my compulsions and addictions— being aware of the chemical responses in my mind as I engage with this device. So small yet so powerful; for good or selfish reasons.
I use to “clean up” my friend list when it got over 300. That’s not a magical number but one that was comfortable. Pruning wasn’t an act of vengeance but one of control. An introvert at heart, leaving the doors and windows of your personality open 24/7 can be exhausting. A relational person, superficial contacts seemed draining. When I pruned the list, I dropped folks that were disengaged acquaintances, sometimes closer relations yet still one-sided. The person you contact but they don’t seem to return your messages or invitations. Know what I mean? Kind of empty, right?
In hindsight, I realize it was a method of control— a coping mechanism I had unknowingly engaged my entire life. Have you felt that way? Even strong people can feel vulnerable or insecure. It happens to extroverts as well.
Six years ago, I stopped grooming my list so radically. I had been through a growth spurt of faith just prior to my second corporate downsizing. So much was going on in our family life as well. Sienna had just turned 16 and the “apron strings” were loosening. I lost 40 pounds by cutting the bad choices out of my diet. God was shifting tiles on the game board, big time! He had a plan and I/we were not on track. I did not have time to prune that spring. Life was way too captivating and hectic. It turned on a dime in July 2014. Many in my firm didn’t see it coming and were shocked I had been cut from the team. As I packed my office, I knew in my heart it was a good thing. Our family would be in a difficult place financially but it was a tangled web we had woven. I was burned out and needed time to recalibrate.
The day after my downsizing, I was in Charlotte NC for Lysa TerKuerst’s Proverbs 31 conference for Christian writers and speakers. The trip had been planned miraculously that spring. The next few days, a fire hydrant was open and pouring out on my feet. All things considered, I was sharing transparently, keeping my chin up and giving God glory. I hopped atop the wave to “Hang 10” as best I could. It was a huge wave that could have crashed over my head, catching me in the undertow or drowning me in its wake.
Two friends in particular contacted me that weekend. They had been going through rough times in life. Their faith had been challenged— blindsided by huge storms. We hadn’t been engaging much. I knew in my heart, I had considered cutting ties. Closing that chapter for the reason I explained before. I didn’t think acquaintances cared or noticed the disconnect. Oh, they do! This is an isolation tactic of the unseen enemy. Social media is his playground where he is thriving. While in Charlotte, both women contacted me to say they were refreshed to see my posts of encouragement. It helped them know they weren’t alone in their struggles. They were each hurting silently. I love seeing them live more transparently on Facebook since then. They both have brave testimonies that glorify God.
It’s courageous and sometimes precarious to stand on the end of this virtual diving board. Seeing our not so great triple Lindy dives is how we do life together. Sometimes we stand on the platform with a medal around our neck, some days we’re applauding those who rise to the top. Such is life. Balancing proud moments and humbling ones as well.
Six years ago, I stopped pruning. Occasionally there is a branch that needs to be removed. Like a tree— there could be infestation or disease (toxic or damaging in another way). It’s beyond simply muting this person to protect your heart and mind. Still, caution should be exercised. Believers have a guide for confronting, forgiving, and moving on. It’s murky water needing a HUGE Light to navigate. God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent— all knowing, all seeing, and able to be everywhere at the same time He is all powerful and sovereign. Better than Mary Tyler Moore, He can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. He can take a life headed for destruction and use that person for His plan and purpose. He takes bad circumstances to bring about good results. He prunes, He grooms, He refines so we can reflect His image. The image we were created to be— in His likeness. That’s not haute or proud, that’s the righteousness we’ve inherited as His children. The title we accept when we give Him our lives.
To a bystander who doesn’t understand this relentless love, a walk of faith can seem haute and hypocritical. It’s a balance of accepting grace and extending it. Of being delighted to be called to serve Him and humbled in the same breath.
I have let my friend list grow. It’s not a number any longer. If I look, it intimidates me rather than esteems me. But I let it be so there is a platform on which I can stand to point to Him. It’s for His glory, not my own that I post with transparency. It can appear overly dramatic, overly whatever… you cannot control how people interpret what you share. I pray those reading are impacted in a positive way rather than negatively. Even so, I trust God uses it all to align with His will for each of us. In the end, we will see the complete picture, as He does, when we have 20/20 vision. No matter your beliefs, this meeting is inevitable. The name on the door might appear different but when the door opens and the big leather chair swivels around, we will come to know who’s running this show. Who’s “voice” you’ve been hearing. Whew! That’s quite a vision. More than a TV show or plot-turning movie. One and done.
[Pause a moment. Take a sip of water. Find my place again. Clear my throat. Carry on.]
It’s impossible to virtually stay in touch completely with everyone. But it’s nice, when the Spirit moves, to be able to reach out and make contact. Or to look at what someone is posting to know what’s happening. To pray for them through trials and thanksgiving. It is still good. Again, it is a platform for what we make it— what we as individuals chose to hang on the clothesline or run up the flagpole. Is our profile authentic? Are we parroting someone else’s thoughts as our own? Or are we being real? Dramatic? Too much? It could be but you make it your own. There’s no perfect way with humans behind the curtain of this virtual world. That is why face to face socialization in a manageable circle is key. This is how we were created, to be personally invested— with our eyes, our voices, our touch. This virtual world is two-dimensional. I hope this time of social distance will recalibrate our internal operating system. It has for many of us. You and your creator know your bandwidth, your tolerance, your ability. We aren’t black and white beings— introverts/extroverts, left-brained or right, liberal or conservative or somewhere in between, old or young, or anything else that this world uses to put us into categories. Our color, our socioeconomic status, our education, and much more— surface-level appearances that keep us apart more than together. I hope this time has made me more compassionate, more graceful, more wise. Time seems to crawl for some. For others, it’s slipping too fast. Which gear are you driving in?
These are challenging, unprecedented times. It’s not a competition; it never has been. We made it a competitive race. God knows the place each of us are in. His love is unconditional. He does not measure pain and compare our ability to endure like a report card. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He loves us incomparably. He will carry us through no matter where in the world we are. In His plan, we are ALL essential.
God has offered hope by way of prayers to encourage me through. Six years is like kindergarten through elementary school, junior high to high school; college and your masters program. It’s a long stretch of time to learn and grow. We never stop learning or growing. Time inevitably changes us with physical maturity, like it or not.
Life is like a three-speed transmission— low to high— complacent, content, and challenged. Depending on which gear you’re in, that’s how far you’ll travel. The terrain, ascending and descending, rocky or muddy, also determines your gear. If your not in a gear appropriate for the terrain, you’ll burn out your transmission— grinding gears, wasting fuel, and stressing the engine. Perhaps many of us only know life with an automatic transmission and cruise control. This speed bump sure jarred our journeys!
God deserves glory for this road trip. There have been significant changes that I need to bear witness to. Posting can be a trap of affirmation. It can put a person in a vulnerable spot. It can encourage or it can tear down. I’m sticking with social media to encourage. However, I’m still learning. My voice is changing and it can crack like a pubescent boy.
My prayer with my family yesterday morning—- God, please level both my insecurity and my pride. By your Spirit, humble me as needed and build me up where I am weak.
He knows my heart. I hope my friends and acquaintances see my heart too. It longs for love. I hope for everyone to live their best life that God has orchestrated. It is a lovely symphony of fast and slow, highs and lows, bright notes and dark dirges. That is what makes it interesting. Listen closely to hear each note. One chord, one repeated rhythm, one instrument— how monotonous and aggravating. Life is what we make it. Share your songs to make the ultimate collection of music!
This platform will evolve as we let it. The seeds we harvest are the seeds we sow or allow to blow onto our land. Farm this soil with care. Till it, water it, prune if you must. Weed it, nourish it, and give it time. Walk away more than you watch it and diversify your crops. The plot of land we have is free but it still comes with a price. I am hopeful we can make it a useful piece of land rather than stripping it, leaving it a barren, dusty place.
Take care of yourselves.
Take care of each other.
We only have one us.
Be motivated by love.
Love has many frequencies.
Love has many volumes.
True love transcends all.
It is eternal and will carry us through. All else pales in comparison to pure, unconditional love.
Guard your heart and mind, yes.
Love can soften the most calloused places. Keep loving even when it’s hard. It will conquer all.
I love you. Truly—
I pray the year 2020 provides everyone with clarity and 20/20 vision for the days to come.