According to my online social networks, I have 1,811 friends, 492 fans, 517 followers and was an author for approximately 12,000 readers last year. These numbers are like fuel to my egotistical fire… However, this fire is never hot enough and the flame is never large enough, so, I battle for more… more friends… more fans… more followers… more readers…
MORE. MORE. MORE…
There are glorious moments when Holy Spirit drops thousands of gallons of water onto this fire in order to contain it, thankfully this fire will not be fully extinguished. I say thankfully because people are my passion, I believe that God has inspired a word in my mouth and that word must be spoken, with boldness and conviction, therefore, these words need ears to catch them. My acceptance hangs in a continual balance between, heavenly and humanly. When I am receiving glory from my writing, speaking, and involvement I am more concerned with the numbers. When my Father receives the glory, I am more concerned with the impact. Fortunately for me [and you], God is millions of miles larger than I am, which means, He receives glory even in the reality of the darkness of my sin and wickedness of my heart.
I will continue to fight my pride and the insecurities of my heart by stepping forward with the skills, gifts and words that God has given me to share with humanity. But, I will do this in the pursuit of truth and a correct understanding of my worth, which ultimately has very little [if anything] to do with whether you end up as a number in my WordPress stats widget, or not.
What does “truth and correct understanding” have to do with the spotlight hungry egomaniac that fights against the humble yet powerful servant within my being?
Being 6000 miles away from my “community” and “network” has truly allowed me to test the depths of relationships that I have tried so hard to collect, like the baseball cards I collected as a boy. I remember buying thousands of Topps baseball cards as a child, and there were specific names I would hope for in every pack. When I found one of these players on a collectible cardboard press-photo and stat sheet, my heart would beat with excitement. The true test to the excitement I felt for these cards would be when I ran home, opened up my Becket magazine, corresponded the number on the back of the card with it’s place in the Becket price guide and saw it’s worth. Most of the time the card was not worth the amount of money that I’d hoped it would be, and the entire pack of cards would be a financial loss. One of the things I found exciting about collecting baseball cards was the opportunity to trade them, particularly when I was able to trade one name for another, especially when I got the better end of the deal. The truth is, relationships are not baseball cards… and the larger our collection the worse our investment is. Facebook has fooled us into thinking that we are able to manage hundreds or thousands of true, meaningful, life-long relationships. Press-photos and stats to weigh one “friend” against another and from there we build our collection of faces.
I do not have 1,811 friends.
Realistically, I have a lot of acquaintances; I have met most of the people I am connected with on Facebook, but that does not make them my friend. Maybe 11 of the 1,811 would take a bullet for me and these 11 may or may not be the same ones that I would take a bullet for… This time in Spain, 6,000 miles away from America has revealed and given me an opportunity to discern the difference between those men and women who are as close as brothers and sisters, the friends that I have fought through some aspect of life with and been a support to them or them to me, and lastly, the acquaintances who aren’t truly interested in making an investment into my life or I in theirs.
The numbers do not identify me. 14820 is not my cell number. No longer am I branded by my “social network”.
Truth be told, I have poured a lot of myself into people, not all people, but some people. I have exhausted myself with the hope and expectation that you would be there when I needed you. As you read these words, you are likely thinking, “so have I…” This makes us want to hang on to broken, immature, surface level relationships, relationships that have possibly never entered a real friendship, but rather been stimulating acquaintances.
My hope in sharing this moment in my journey is that it will encourage you to examine the relationships in your life… Losen the grip to the number of “friends” the internet has helped you collect, like a digital baseball card collection. Keep your friends close. Let them know that you would take a bullet for them. Empty out your secret closet to them because you trust them with your life. Allow them to build you up, encourage you and pour into you what you pour out on to them.
Invest in friendships that will last you a life time, not a season!