Last night after a really busy couple of days at the op shop, I came home physically weary and as I waited for dinner to finish cooking, I plonked myself on the lounge and checked my Facebook feed to see what had been going in facebook world…(If you don’t engage in social media, this is relevant to all areas of our social life so bear with me). I do love social media despite, some of the annoying things it does …(like tracking your searches then finding weird related stuff to advertise in my Facebook feed). On the whole, Facebook has given me plenty of great ways to connect with people, watch funny videos of inspiring people and fill my feed with interesting (sometimes strange) quotes, and even keep me informed on trending social and cultural issues that need attention.
Last night, I posted a comment which was born out of frustration and I am the first to admit I think I should have deleted it as I am strict with what I post and do not like using Facebook to vent or complain and should have turned it off but a friend responded and helped me process my frustration in away that has resulted in this post.
My comment was:
Some days my Facebook feed is a drip feed of negativity and complaining but then out of the blue someone will put up something that pushes back the darkness trying to extinguish the light in me. Be that person😍
The response to my post was: I don’t want to extinguish, just ignite.
As I have been thinking about what it means to ‘be light’ and to push back the darkness, one thing that has been obvious over the past few weeks, is how social media does NOT filter out negativity, stupidity, and a wide range of opinions that can actually diminish the light in me. It is not unlike the people we encounter everyday. There are no strict guidelines with social media alerting us to when a post is coming up that is about to cast a shadow across your life with negativity or complaining or stupidity.
The person behind the checkout supermarket has no way of filtering out the people who come through the checkout…so I choose to be light.
The op shop where I work has no filter at the door only allowing those who are igniters, to enter, so I choose to be light.
I have no way of knowing what someone is walking through that needs me to be light.
I want people when they are in need of light to find me to be the moon not the cloud, casting light and not shadows.
Sometimes in life we can find ourselves being drip-fed with negativity and complaining. Last night out of the blue, someone shared a video of a guy giving away random gifts of $100 to random strangers. I was not the one receiving, but the effect of what he did lit up my soul. I am not about to grab my kids and show them what someone has complained about but when there is a video showing someone who is being generous, that is worth showing my kids. I found myself thinking…I have a filter for Facebook…if I can share my post with my kids and I can share your post with my kids then I reckon that it has the potential to be light but if not it could well be a shadow and I must either bring the light to or push past.
This guy uses Facebook to bring light…encouragement, hope inspiration….It did not diminish my light but ignited it. In my everyday going and coming…I want to be an igniter not a diminisher. This is what I feel BE LIGHT is about….on and OFF social media. It’s not about presenting perfection because even that can diminish someone else’s life, and it’s not about being real and authentic either because sometimes that can cast shadows over others path. If my words and posts and presence casts a shadow, diminishes, takes away or is shames the. I am being irresponsible with my light.
That means that for me when I come home from a full on day, I do have to sit in my car for a couple of minutes and leave my day behind so that I walk through the door as an igniter, but not an igniter of frustration and annoyance but of the good stuff.
It means I have to choose when I engage with certain people and when I don’t
It means I must ensure thatI filter my words and my actions, my mood, my reactions through this calling…be light. It takes intentionality and wisdom…something I have been given but forget to use.
So what do you do, when you are in need of light…look for light. Social media has no guarantee of bringing me what I need but in fact may do the opposite. Certain people are a guaranteed dampener on my shine capacity. I may need to choose when I engage with dampeners. If I have no other option and my need to feel heard is that great…then I need to seek out a guaranteed source of light…a person who helps me shine, a book, a song, a blog, music or worship. Heading to social media is heading to light diminishing territory and that instead of igniting my light I could well be diminishing someone else’s light. I was never meant to always be a light seeker, in need of light I am meant to always be a light giver, and I have the light. Christ is my greatest resource when I am in need of light…a guaranteed source of direction, strength, hope, encouragement, faith, perspective and joy.
If I am dealing with something that is overshadowing my life then I must find time in the presence of Jesus or someone who knows Jesus who can be light and push back the darkness for me. I have often found a season of shadows has required a season of worship distinctly different form other times because it has the purpose of igniting my faith, but sometimes I need people and that requires me to be intentional and wise in where I source light. I want to be that person: the one who chooses to observe strict boundaries and find the right ways of walking through the valley of the shadow of death and trust my shepherd, will lead and will disperse the shadows and the darkness.
I am not going anywhere when it comes to Facebook, but I am all the more determined not to use Facebook to find my light but to be light. I am all the more determined to be light with my family and not be a dark shadow. This requires me to navigate discomfort and shadows of darkness in my own life with intentionality and ensure that I have a good source of light to go to when I need it. I have several people in my life who I can drip feed with my pain and they will turn their light brighter so that the darkness pushes away. Be that light and find that light. There are too many people sitting in darkness who need my light not my clouds.
As I rose early this morning to write this blog and the moon was shining through our lounge room windows. I didn’t have to put any lights on, as the moon gave me enough light to work my way through my house without cracking my shins on a piece of furniture or tripping over our black cat.
Who is she, fair as the moon? Song of Solomon 6:10
She shines in the dark.
I get to be the moon that reflects the light of the ‘son’, giving enough light to help others find their way in the dark or I get to be the cloud that overshadows the moon and darkens the path for others.
As I come to terms with my identity as a light bearer and my responsibility to shine, I am aware that I get to choose whether I am the light or a dampener and today I choose to be light…on and off social media.