While out on my run on Saturday, I admitted to my myself that social media can sometimes bring out the inner 8th grader that still hides inside me. There are people I know (online) who don’t know me because we hang out in different crowds. But even though these people might not have any clue I exist, there’s a part of me that thinks we would hit it off great if our paths ever had the opportunity to cross. Ever felt like that?
So, that middle school girl inside me sees the cool lunch table but she also sees there’s no seat saved for her because the folks that sit there don’t have a clue this girl exists. I know this is silly…but I’m admitting it’s how I’ve (wrongly) felt at times while engaging on social media. And, if you have followed my writing for a while, you know that one of my struggles over the years has been battling feelings of insignificance and constantly needing to redirect my heart back onto the Truth.
When I was growing up we didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have the means to connect or follow like-minded people like we do on Twitter. I realize how, nowadays, we can have an almost instant connection to people who we don’t really know. We think we know them from their blog writings or from their tweets so this leads us to having a false sense of connection with them.
If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, you may have had that same experience with certain folks you’ve followed too. These folks seem to take your thoughts right out of your head. They see life the way you see life. It’s almost like the two of you must have been sitting in a coffee shop just the other day swapping stories about life!
Because of this, you feel certain you would hit it off in “real” life. Heck, you’d probably end up being BFFs! But, there’s only one problem. One big problem. This person who “knows” you so well, doesn’t actually know you exist. It’s a one-sided “friendship”. And, in all honestly, this person who knows you so well (but doesn’t really know you), doesn’t care to know you either. Now, I’m not saying that in mean way, I’m saying that in a practical, common sense way. This person might have 500,000 followers and each one of those followers might feel like you do, but this person only has space and time in their lives to invest and connect with a limited number of BFFs. And I’m not one of them. And, chances are, you’re not one of them either! 🙂
Shortly after my run this weekend, I came across this great quote on Facebook. It’s referring to books and authors but I think it can also apply to folks we follow and begin to connect with in the social media world too.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
All this thinking/writing about BFFs, about being known, and feeling included made me think of the first time in my life when I experienced the hurtful sting of someone’s acceptance of me suddenly being revoked. On a side note, this is actually one of the perks of having one-sided social media relationships…you don’t ever experience the full effects of being rejected. Because, you have to actually exist to the other person before you can un-exist. 🙂
I attended a very small school from kindergarten through 7th grade. There were only about 300 people in the whole school. During the summer before my 8th grade year, my family moved to a new town. My new school was a 7th-8th grade middle school. This school had about 1600 students total. Instead of 25 kids in my grade, there were now 800! Shortly into this new year, I was so thankful a girl named Tricia came along and befriended me in gym class. I went from being unknown to being known by one person. As a very shy teenager, I didn’t make many friends that year, but, that’s okay, I could depend on seeing Tricia’s smiling face in gym class. As the school year came to a close, I was thankful that when we moved to high school the next year, I would already have a friend.
My high school had over 2000 students. so it took a couple of days to cross paths with Tricia. When I spotted her I was so happy…a familiar face! I went over to say hi, she looked at me for a split second and then turned away, never to acknowledge me again. Over the next four years, I began to observe, from a distance, that I wasn’t in the right crowd. And, Tricia could see that I lacked any potential of getting her known by the right crowd.
Sunday’s message at church happened to address this topic of being known. My pastor pointed out that even though we are all different, we all have one thing in common: A desire to be known. He went on to say that what is important is HOW we are known. Who we are in Christ is the “known” we should ultimately be aiming for. That’s the known that really matters, the one that really counts.
Here’s a great quote from yesterday’s message: “You want to be approved and accepted and you want confidence that it will never be revoked. He chooses you, approves of you and then uses you for His glory.”
Today, I am grateful that when I keep my eyes firmly fixed on Truth then I do rest in the confidence that I am loved and accepted just as I am. I am loved by Someone who will never turn His back on me. I am loved by a Father who loved me even before I existed. Even before I chose to follow Him, there was a seat at His lunch table reserved just for me!
That’s who I want to be known by.
That’s who I want to get to know more and more everyday.