Can You Relate?
My personal Facebook Feed is toxic to my heart right now
and here's what I'm doing to put guardrails up for my sanity and sanctification.
I've deleted the app off my phone
and I've established strict Facebook hours on my computer.
And I've unfollowed a lot of people.
Jerry and Jack, that was for you.
Move along, fellas.😏
For the rest of you who don't mind words.
And lots of them.
We're all wired differently, right?
I'm wired to encourage.
To provide hope.
To be positive.
To nudge people toward goodness and kindness.
It's the lens in which I do life and live life.
I have my fair share of faults,
- just ask Jack, Jackson and Maddie -
but if I was in a job interview and asked to name a few of my strengths,
these would be among my best.
It's when I'm most fully alive
and who I am meant to be.
This past season I've been drowning in the ugly all over Facebook.
And quite un-hopeful.
Kindness has all but dried up in the name of
"I'm right and you're wrong"
replete with finger wagging
and name calling.
I'm so very saddened by it all.
When I have been
brave/foolish enough to post,
my *attempt* is to model proper dialogue.
How to agree to disagree.
How to listen.
How to ask questions of the 'other.'
How to be respectful.
How to not be threatened by a differing opinion.
How to be kind.
How to look at all sides of an issue.
I certainly haven't always gotten it right.
But I'm trying.
And I feel like it's falling 100% flat.
I've been left deeply discouraged.
I want better for us.
And quite honestly,
I want WAY better for those that say they love Jesus.
and literally everything in-between.
I'm not living in a bubble.
I want to see/hear all sides.
People's thoughts matter to me.
I might not agree with you,
but I still want to hear your heart and opinions.
I want to try to understand.
But I can honestly - and sadly - say,
that on my personal feed,
-I can't speak for yours-
it's those right of center that call
that are the loudest,
most unreasonable in their posts and in their words.
I cannot handle the fact that our country and our Christians
have lost the ability to be reasonable.
We are out of our ever-loving minds, friends.
I have found myself repeatedly mumbling under my breath,
"Well no wonder people want nothing to do with Jesus.
Look at the way his followers are acting and reacting."
We must do better.
This has been going on for years now
and quite frankly it seems to be getting worse.
And that makes me super SUPER sad.
We're bearing down on Election Day 2020 here in America
-Jesus take the wheel-
and I can't even fathom how much uglier it's going to get.
"Well then ditch Facebook, Alysa.
Why all the words?
Just walk away."
Herein lies my personal problem.
Facebook is my marketing tool for my photography business,
Water Street Dreams.
It's how I get new clients.
It's how I get new clients.
Almost every time I post a photo from a session on Facebook,
a referral is generated and a new session booked.
I'd venture a guess that 95% of my new business comes
from Jennie seeing Sally's photos from a session with me.
Jennie then reaches out and wants a family session, too.
The word-of-mouth marketing through Facebook photos
has been a gift to me the past 10 years.
But I'm at a crossroads.
My Facebook feed has been toxic to my heart and soul.
For far too long.
I want to see first day of school photos and new babe photos
and Jimmy riding his bike for the first time photos.
I want to hear if you're having a rough day so that I can pray,
because I believe in the power of prayer.
There really is so much delight on Facebook.
in the brief span of sharing a business photo
and seeing Jimmy on his bike,
I inadvertently see other posts,
hatred in sideways comments
and shared articles on both sides of the divide.
I'm learning, ever-so-slowly,
the art of
"JUST KEEP SCROLLING | DON'T GET SUCKED IN, ALYSA |
YOU CAN DO IT ALYSA"
but somehow I start down that rabbit trail of looking at comments
and looking at who's 'liking' a certain article and before long
my inner voice is screaming,
"I can't even handle that person any more!"
AND THAT IS SO WRONG on my part.
See how ugly I get?
Am I the only one on this crazy train?
because I simply can't deal with the hatred they're spewing.
And that makes me SO sad.
That's not who I am,
to give up on people like that.
I feel my heart of compassion drying up right before my eyes.
It seems as if people have lost the ability to have civil discourse
with someone they don't agree with.
I can't handle the 'us versus them' screaming
from one side of the aisle to the other.
I have friends and family on both sides of the political divide,
from the very far left to the very far right
and nary the twain shall meet.
Personally, I plop myself right down in the the middle.
I'm theologically conservative and socially compassionate,
too conservative for progressives and too progressive for conservatives.
(I saw that line somewhere recently and absolutely love it.
It's exactly how I feel. I wish I could give credit to the author.)
I haven't known what to do about it.
Until last week.
I wasn't really sure what to do,
but knew I couldn't continue on my current path.
my greatest ideas come in the shower
or on a random walk,
and as of last week,
I've implemented a couple new things
that seem to be working,
at least for the time being.
I deleted Facebook off my phone and only have it on my laptop,
which is a lot less convenient to pop onto when I have three spare minutes to kill.
THAT has been a huge game-changer.
I already feel my heart and spirit settling down.
I am only on Facebook during regular business hours,
Monday through Friday,
That way, if I do see the nonsense in passing,
at least I have several hours to forget about it
before I try to go to sleep at night.
"I'm done with Facebook.
And if my business folds because I'm not on Facebook,
so be it."
But I shared my discouragement with my small group,
asking them to pray with me about a solution,
and my husband's offhanded remark of
"just don't look at the crap people post"
got me to thinking,
Maybe he's onto something.
Maybe I could be on Facebook
and not let it spiral out-of-control."
And then I went for a walk.
And ideas sparked:
Delete Facebook off my phone.
Install regular office hours
and be vigilant about keeping them.
And I have to say,
so far it's working.
It seems too simple to be effective,
but maybe, just maybe,
this solution will help.
I share all this to say,
maybe you need some new perimeters in place
for how you navigate social media,
especially with the upcoming American election.
Maybe you need to delete an app or two.
Maybe you need time limits on the ones you have.
Maybe you need to unfollow that person that triggers you
While there's no right answer,
I do believe our next right step
always involves taking care of our hearts.
What are you doing to guard your heart these days?
I'd love to know.