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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obsessed With FaceBook Friends?

Like many folks, my wife and I had resisted the urge to join in the whole facebook trend. But a couple of months ago, we finally gave in and decided to join, mainly to see what all the fuss was about. Overall, we're glad we did - we both rather enjoy being able to reconnect with old friends we'd lost touch with and the sense of community that comes from being more connected on a day-to-day basis with people we otherwise wouldn't hear from very frequently, as, let's face it, life is just BUSY, especially when you both work and have young kiddos, like we do.

One thing I've noticed that disturbs me about facebook though is the way some folks seem a bit obsessed with having more and more "friends". Now, we all have real needs for love and to feel that we belong - there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

But I've seen enough facebook status's along the lines of "only 40 more friends and I'll have 1000!" that I'm starting to wonder if some of the pursuit of greater and greater numbers of "friends" isn't perhaps more symptomatic of a larger trend going on in our culture - that being, the busier we get, and the more technology we have in our lives that supposedly make things easier and more convenient, the less real meaningful social interaction we may be having with REAL people in REAL (i.e. non-internet) life.

Is this pursuit of more and more virtual 'friends' perhaps covering up the fact that we don't have true friendships and community in our lives? When I speak of community, I mean people who are available, both emotionally, and time-wise, to us, who are able and willing to share the joys and sorrows of life along-side us. People who will be there when the inevitable crises of life crop up. People who will challenge us, encourage us, and celebrate our victories with us. People who will invest both their time, trust, and love with us, and who we invest back those same valuable commodities with.

Joy & I have been searching for that kind of community in our own lives. We haven't found it yet since moving a couple years ago to AZ, so we can certainly understand feeling lonely and isolated at times. But we're not giving up - we're continuing to trust that God can and will bring that into our lives, as we believe He desires us to live and grow our faith in just such a community.

But back to this phenomenon of facebook - if you're one of those folks with hundreds and hundreds of friends in your virtual community, I hope and pray that you're blessed to have at least one or two people in your life you can call true friends. But if those types of relationships are lacking for you, I challenge you not to substitute quantity for quality when it come to friendships - don't give up!

Risk being vulnerable with other people.

Risk being a true friend to others, even if you're not quite sure they consider you a true friend yet.

Risk opening up and being honest about an area you're struggling with in life.

Risk the pain of possible rejection.

If you aren't willing to do that, you may end up spending way more lonely nights talking to your "friends" online and missing out on the better way God has in mind for you.

I think He has a greater plan for your life - one where you live in community with people who love and encourage you to be all God created you to be and where likewise you do the same for others. If you can be honest with yourself, I think you will agree that you want that as well.

Don't settle for anything less than God's best for you!

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13

4 comments:

  1. Carl,

    You are right on with this. Community is so important in our lives. Thanks for writing this!

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  2. Carl, this was beautifully expressed and written! Awesome!

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  3. You rock, big C! Notice your childhood name is not being used in cyberspace... I really enjoyed your commentary in this post. Great words to share, keep it up. May you be blessed, challenged and continue to encourage others. We haven't joined up with Facebook at this point, despite the fact that nearly all our neighbors and tons of church friends and old friends are asking when we will. Maybe when we are done with the move. I'll be checking for your updates! Lots of love from your cuz, Donna Dee.

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  4. I totally agree. I don't do facebook or twitter, blogging keeps me busy enough- but yes, I'm seeing the trend your addressing. Especially among my friends who are trying to get me on the Twitter.

    I think our "following" tends to feed our self esteem and validate us.

    Sad.

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