Reality vs. Virtual Reality
While I work hard here to p
romote real, intentional relationships outside of cyberspace, I also try to make it clear that I understand many of our relationships happen in the context of virtual reality. I’m actually not opposed to this.
I have some of the best friends in the entire world. Not kidding! They are fantastic. But most of them don’t live anywhere near me. We stay in touch through pictures & messages & video calling even while living in different
countries. I truly believe this is a gift of God in my life & has meant endless encouragement to my soul.
Our world exists in two distinct frameworks. We have our reality & our virtual reality. Both are valid. Both can be good. I don’t believe that virtual reality can legitimately replace reality the way our society seems to encourage it to do so. However, I do believe that practicing hospitality needs to be extended to our virtual reality.
Trust me… you don’t have to be perfect
I am SUCH A BIG FAN of Pinterest – it’s ridiculous. My husband affectionately calls it “Pinstriping” but that’s another story. I love that it’s not drama filled & gives me good ideas. I feel like I gain something from my Pinterest account.
BUT even my beloved Pinterest plays into the idea that life has to be perfect. Life, if shown to others, has to be filled with creativity & excitement. You have to be perfectly scheduled, have awesome hair, the best outfits, & a ridiculously fast & fabulous make-up routine. Your children should simultaneously be perfectly clean, in adorable clothes while also playing in the backyard, using the equipment you built from pallets.
Anything less & you should be ashamed & it shouldn’t make it online. You’ve got work to do. Shh… don’t tell anyone! Then they will know you aren’t perfect.
Hospitality instead is about welcoming friends & strangers. It is about opening our hearts & lives, imperfect as they are. It is about showing grace & receiving grace. We are human. We are being changed day by day as believers but we are still very much human. We need genuine relationship.
It is equally annoying to have someone who airs all their dirty laundry on social media. It really isn’t the place to shout your complaints with specific individuals, or broadcast issues that you don’t have sufficient knowledge of.
How do we display of reality without making it full of drama?
1. Share real life stories
We don’t always have to show the world what we think is the best view of ourselves. We can be real. Let people see that we exist in an imperfect reality & it is ok because I’m quite sure this will only endear us to them.
Our virtual reality is a hard place to foster this but it is possible. How do you let people know you aren’t perfect in the virtual realm? How do you welcome others through your “social” interactions online?
2. Photograph Reality
Rather than spending a lot of time photographing something perfectly staged, let people know what is really going on. I recently read an article about someone who borrowed a Starbucks drink to take a picture with because they had to post it on social media even if they didn’t actually want to drink it. Does that seem crazy to anyone else?
3. Don’t complain about specific people
I don’t really get on Facebook to read about your problems with family or friends. I don’t need to know who you are mad at or get emotionally involved in your drama. Please deal with this quietly, I promise you will make a lot less enemies.
4. Publish the Gospel & Grace Filled Stories
Social media is a perfect outlet to exclaim the Gospel. It is a beautiful place to speak of the good things within the local church community, to make sermons and good books widely accessible, to share bits of grace filled beauty in what is often an ugly space. How do you do this?
God has blessed us with a social platform – a way to reach around the world with the click of a button. We are blessed by this in our age. Join with me in trying to keep it a blessing. Let’s shine into the darkness of cyberspace a light they too rarely see.
Do you have other thoughts on how to extend grace & blessing through social media? I would love to hear from you!