Monday, November 23, 2015

5 Ways to Avoid Posting Things You'll Regret on Social Media



Popping off online with a sarcastic quip when I’m unhappy about something  is one of my biggest temptations. I know I’m not alone in this because I see a lot of people do it, even leaders. The times I engage in this are extremely rare to non-existent however I am sorely tempted many times. I know it's important to have this under control. If I'm going to be effective, there's no question I have to be extremely careful with what I post. My boss and I were talking about leadership one day and he made the remark that the higher we go in leadership the less freedom we have. I couldn't agree more.

Let's say as a pastor, I had a terrible experience in a Sunday morning service where everything went wrong. The sound. The media. Evvvvvverything.  It is tempting for me to go online right afterwards and post, "Why couldn't the rapture have come at exactly 10:45?"  or, "Some Sunday mornings require Xanax." Yeah, I have totally posted stuff like that before. And I know it’s not good. So I try my best to avoid it. Sometimes this requires a Hershey bar. With almonds. And a latte. 

Just because I have a legitimate reason to be upset at times doesn’t mean it’s wise or appropriate to post about it. Usually deep regret follows but it’s too late. Darn screen shotting.

My assistant Erika tells me there are times she is upset and realizes she must avoid all social media until the moment passes. I believe this is wisdom. 

Here are five tried and true ways to avoid media post regret. In addition to avoiding social media until the moment passes, before you post: 


Phone a friend 

Some things I want to rant about on social media are appropriate for a private conversation with a friend but not for public consumption. A friend knows my heart and isn’t going to judge because of what I've said while venting . However, scores of people on social media who don’t know my heart at all would judge. And rightfully so.  Although it doesn’t help to be judged it helps greatly to hear the wisdom of a Godly friend. And most of the time that’s what I receive after I’ve vented, which is valuable.

Breathe Deeply 

Take deep breaths and slowly exhale through your mouth. You can do this anytime - anywhere. The other day I was troubled about something and unfortunately at the time I was in a public setting. I inconspicuously took some deep breaths, exhaled and employed some positive self-talk. "This is small in the grand scheme of things..." I told myself. "In a few weeks this won't even matter..." I thought. "Let it go..." I said to myself. It worked.

Take a Stretch

When something stresses me, I usually feel it in my body. My neck and shoulders become tense and achy.  Rather than pop off with a sarcastic post, I stand up, and stretch my hands up as high as I can and back down again. I tilt my neck from side to side and gently rub the back of it with my hands.  Sometimes I add a dab of essential oil, my favorite being, “Past Tense” by DoTerra.    

Take a walk 

A walk sometimes brings a perspective shift for me. At other times, my feelings about the situation don’t change but I feel more relaxed after I’ve walked it out. Either way, the tempting moment to post something snarky has passed -- and that's what matters. Any time you avoid snark, be proud of yourself. It's part of developing the fruit of the spirit in your life.

Journal it Out

Journaling accomplishes many purposes and for this issue, it provides another outlet for the emotions at hand. It’s a safe and proper place to release whatever is inside. Many times I journal such things as prayers. 

Depending on the severity of whatever has me down, I may do all of these things on the same day. And that’s alright. It’s much preferable to posting something I will later regret. God is so faithful to help me in moments of weakness. He will help you, too.



Photo Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

God Told Me I'm Supposed to Be Your Best Friend

Recently I taught a workshop for pastor’s wives and I asked the question, “How many of you have had someone in the church approach you and say, “God told me we’re supposed to be best friends...?"Laughter immediately erupted and lots of heads were nodding and hands raised. 

I went on to say that this pressure comes in various forms – not always the same verbiage – and can be anything from…

“God told me we’re supposed to be best friends…”  to

“I really want to know you more and get closer to you...”  to

“God laid you on my heart and said we're supposed to be close friends...”

Sometimes it comes in the form of someone relentlessly asking for private coffee/lunch times for the purpose of pursuing those things. (Note: there's a difference between spending time such as this for mentoring, discipleship, etc. and developing a close friendship.)

I asked the pastor’s wives gathered in that class if they had experienced anyone actually leaving the church because they didn’t get what they wanted in the way of a close personal friendship with them. As I looked around, most every head was nodding or there was a hand raised.

Years ago there was another female pastor/pastor’s wife who contacted me and told me we had a whole lot in common and they felt we were supposed to be good friends.  I was kind of freaked out by it because of my experience as a pastor’s wife in being pressured at times in the church by those who wanted to be my "best friend."  I never responded to  this person’s repeated attempts to get to know me. Then one day I came across an article online and it was as if I had written it myself. I couldn’t believe how much the author sounded like me. I was even thinking for a moment that it might have been one of my writings that I simply forgot I had submitted for publication. Intrigued by this, I kept reading and at the end of the article noticed that it was this same person who had been contacting me for quite some time. It was then that I realized that this gal and I truly eat out of the same box of Cheerios. I contacted her and said, “I think you might be right. Let's get to know each other a bit more...” We ended up becoming really good friends. What began as an online friendship blossomed into meeting in person and writing together and teaching at some of the same conferences. But, my point is -- I initially resisted all of her attempts to get to know her due to my experiences as a pastor's wife, with people pressuring to “be my best friend” and getting upset when that didn't happen. 

I don’t have the answer to this issue, as far as ways to get it to stop. I don’t believe it will. I believe pastoral leaders will always face pressure like this to some degree. But I do have advice for church people who want to act in wisdom. 

This is for those of you out there who are ready to grow up and be mature in Christ. I say this to people who want to be a church member your pastor or pastor's wife has trust in and feels at ease around. Because you see, when a leader feels someone pressuring them for something they are not comfortable with, they tend to be on guard more around that person. They trust them with less. And even the normal level they go to with trusted church members, they will probably not go to with a person who pressures and feel they need to have a greater formality and boundaries with that person.

Those who are wise will place no expectation of close friendship on the pastor or pastors’ wife. They are your leader first and foremost, not your pal or friend.  They have been called by God and placed there not to be your buddy but to serve as your spiritual leader. 

Whether any relationship develops aside from pastor/congregant  is determined largely by the comfort zone of the pastor or pastor's spouse and the leading of the Lord in their life. There are different levels of relationship, as well.  I may have coffee or go shopping but there is a vast difference in that and sharing intimate details about home or situations in the church. There have always been those who inquire, and pressure me to go to that level, over the years and share personal things about my marriage or things behind the scenes in the church.   

Sometimes people get angry when they cannot have that depth of closeness and they become negative, or leave the church– which is unfortunate.  While is wisdom for a church member to guard against pressuring their pastor or spouse in this way, it’s a wise leader that doesn’t give in to pressure simply to keep someone happy. 

Anything formed out of pressure will one day implode.


 

Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos.net