How many offline friends do you have who support you the way your online friends do?
Honestly speaking, how many of them stop by and care what you’re thinking, care about your latest creative works, or even know that you have an entire online following?
We spend so much time in this virtual universe nurturing followers, but how many of them are true supporters? ⠀
How many drop you messages to pray for you or send thoughts your way? How many of them notice when you are missing for a little while?
Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for every single person who stops by to read this blog or any of my social media profiles. I am just thinking a little more deeply about fans, followers, and supporters because of the season we are in. Jesus had followers who were willing to die for him. Yet we call someone a follower because they double tap a screen or send a reaction.
Are we collecting hearts without caring about souls?
Have we grown to care more about our followers than about who we are following?
We spend so much time feasting on feeds that will never satisfy us while our souls are starving for true connection.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how so many of us are nurturing our online friendships more than we nurture those standing next to us crying out for help, who we can’t hear over the clicks of our fingers strutting across keyboards to type responses to people who couldn’t offer a shoulder to cry on.
I’m included within this group over the past couple of years. I haven’t left my house much and I dislike talking on the phone so I haven’t spent a lot of time talking with friends outside of my innermost circles. Why is this really? I mean, a phone call these days feels SO MUCH BETTER than yet another video meeting!
I value the friendships I’ve made through social media and the blogging communities. They are special to me. There is something beautiful about the way we support one another – truly support, not just follow. But when I am hurting, when I feel like I am at my end, it’s sad to me that the only people who are around enough to ask if I am alright are ones who have to double tap to give me a heart because offline my world is pretty much silent until I am needed.⠀⠀
I’ve created this reality in my world because I love how it feels for my hands to flow along this keyboard. I enjoy the ink flowing effortlessly from my pen across my notebook. It’s a lot more effort to get dressed, pick a place to eat that has keto-friendly (not paleo) food, and go through the social anxiety I experience about whether I am talking too much. On the screen, I can see when I’ve typed too much and choose whether to delete or send. In real life, I have to let it flow and I can’t take it back.
I know I need to be a true supporter of those around me so I’ve been spending time nurturing my offline friendships. I want to challenge all of us to spend more time with those around us so we can grow our squad of true supporters: those who notice when we withdraw, when we talk differently, and when we are celebrating a win. It’s time those who can shake our hands truly take time to get to know us the way our online communities do. And for us to do the same to them.⠀⠀
Let this next week be the week we transform what “friend” means and get intentional about our relationships.
Let’s go into 2022 being conscious of where we invest our time, where we focus our energy, and which relationships we are nurturing the most. Be sure that your closest friends aren’t all people you could never actually borrow the shoulders of because they are too far away.
We need a healthy mix of online and offline friends in our lives. True supporters. ⠀
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it and Happy Holidays to those celebrating other holidays during this time. Let’s all be sure to be kind and intentional about how we treat others.