How you and I can clean up the internet.
I’m annoyed by individuals being too religious, too outspoken about right and wrong and on Facebook. Asking for prayers from all? I see life a little more sacred as well as church and our spiritual relationships. Why do people feel the need to put their prayer requests on Facebook? It feels fake. -C
I get this question A LOT.
Facebook has exposed too many of our sacred spaces- spirituality, marriage, children, mental health, and more.
While we can use the internet to bring a positive light to some things, we can also over-share, burden and exploit. Even and maybe especially, our own children.
When my son was in pre-school one of the moms was a Facebook fanatic. She was constantly posting group pictures of our kids and tagging me and including my son’s name.
This was back when Facebook was migrating from college kids to moms and before we were desensitized to our lives being a rolling reality tv trailer. All that to say, I did not like it and asked her to stop.
She thought I was dumb. But knowing what a counselor knows about pedophilia, I’ve never liked my son’s coming and going all over the internet. He’s older now and it’s become the social norm so I mostly let it go these days. But I still think it’s weird to plaster our personal lives all over the world wide web.
Yes, that definitely dates me. And it’s totally a double standard because I write stories about my personal life for you here.
It’s the double standard that makes me to take a closer look at Facebook.
Because a scrolling post or pic is not a true representation of what’s going on in the whole of a person’s life, yet we use it to judge one another and ourselves.
Facebook has the potential to feed the parts of us that too easily become braggarts, critics, competitors, voyeurs, and worst of all, adversaries.
Are there good and beautiful things that happen on Facebook, too? Absolutely. Info posted there has changed lives, reconnected old friends, brought awareness to injustice, kept families linked across the miles, launched careers, and more.
What does all this have to do with people posting prayer requests on Facebook?
We need a filter.
Dear God how we need filter. A way to assess and discern what we post on the internet.
And not just folks with prayer requests.
As I wrote already, other people don’t belong to me and aren’t my responsibility. So the following tidbits are, of course, just a suggestion.
I wish people would ask themselves the following questions before they post their prayer requests (or any other details about their sacred spaces).
Does what I’m about to post…
Create ill will?
Harm or breach a relationship?
Over-expose me or my family?
Become a burden to other people?
Reveal something that isn’t mine to reveal?
Inline with my character?
Supporting the evolution of my soul?
Feeding what I want to feed in the world?
As pervasive as online activity is in our day to day lives, we need a shortcut to these questions.
So before we post, maybe you and I can PRAY. (Pun totally intended.)
Pause for a moment.
Reflect on what we’re about to post.
Add to (not subtract from) our online communities
Yield to a generous and humble Spirit.
But… you and I both know that many, many people will continue to post without PRAYing first.
So the next question becomes,
What do we do with prayer requests and all that other stuff in our feed that doesn’t feed us?
We don’t eat it.
We don’t take it into ourselves. Just like we choose what to put in our mouths to give us physical energy, we choose what to put in our hearts and minds to sustain our life energy.
You can walk away from sardines and turnip greens and a third piece of cake. You can also scroll past political rants and bikini pics and even prayer requests. (No. God will not smite you for it.)
You and I can choose NOT to engage stuff that isn’t healthy for us.
Why do people feel the need to put their prayer requests on Facebook?
I don’t know.
Maybe they feel alone? Maybe they just want people to know they’re going through something? Maybe they believe in the power of prayer? Maybe they don’t know how to privately process a problem with God?
I’m assuming it’s one or a thousand more reasons, person by person.
But I do know you and I don’t have to feel burdened or bad or mad or less than- because of other people’s posts.
But you and I can use our own PRAYer filter and make the internet a better place for everyone.
I’m amy, 40 something, and I’ve been there. I did the corporate scene for a decade then bailed and started my own gig. I’ve worked full time, part time, no time, and over time. I’m married but was near the brink of divorce once. I have a son but struggled with infertility first. I went back to graduate school to get my counseling degree as a “non traditional” student when my kid was six months old. I’ve written too many eulogies for people I love.
I’ve fought to find purpose in all the wrong places and finally figured out where to look. I’ve endured christian drama, seen religious trauma and been untangling God from that garbage ever since. I’ve made some stellar choices and my fair share of shitty ones. I wish I’d had a female a bit further down the path to shoot straight with me, someone who would be for me and with me- all of me- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Gandhi says, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” so here I go a tryin’.