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Radioactive

Limits and online life

Becoming more deliberate in my internet interactions outside my journal. Seems odd to mention it directly, like an actor breaking the fourth wall by speaking to the audience during a scene, but it's piece of my life, a part of my social matrix. In the past, I often haven't been discerning in regard where and how much I invest myself. Since I can only go so many directions at once, however, that kind of wisdom is essential to keep from feeling scattered and empty. Failing to exercise it has contributed to my fear that I will be drained by others, and that fear holds me back in relationships.

Only God can be present everywhere; if I try, I'm being self-idolatrous and unrealistic. Neither does it make sense for me to try to carefully budget my every social resource and manage the lives of others. God will do what He wants in and through me and others, and He's capable of more than I've been willing to believe or allow. Somewhere between the two are limits that are appropriate. It just makes sense to accept that.

That means opting out of some rabbit trails and not looking for online interaction to meet my personal needs. It's scary how much I've let both problems become characteristic of my internet life. And I do think I can continue to give and receive a great deal online—being more intentional will, in some instances, mean more interaction. But when my internet activity leaves me too drained or cynical to engage other parts of my life, or becomes a place where I'm craving some kind of response from others, or if I find myself trying very hard to project or preserve some kind of image, it needs some adjustment. That likely isn't something anyone but me would notice, anyway. And so far, those realizations and subsequent actions have been a help.

Comments

true enough.

i am not very social in real life... this is the one i have a hard time with: becomes a place where I'm craving some kind of response from others - but it isn't just in my online interaction, it is in my whole life. i hold back from interaction, choose carefully who i will interact with, and then find myself anxious to hear or see the response. and i don't like that in myself. not cool. i also have made an effort only to invest online time with those i would invest real time in... not sure if that makes sense, but i have been particular about those relationships...

you are a wise and well-balanced person, i think, in these ways. consciousness is key, and you are responsible with your actions. thanks for a thoughtful post.

and with that... i am going to go run errands. :)
It surprises me to hear you are not a very social person. Your posts seem regularly packed with people and activity; I have often thought I would get tired if I tried to lead your life.

would not have ever pegged you for vegas...

i like people... i just don't usually *crave* them. occasionally i do a little more lately, but it's weird. i am more like donald miller writes in blue like jazz... the screwdriver that needs to be plugged in for two hours to get ten minutes use. i just tend to write more about the ten minutes than the two hours, you know?

and my own life makes me tired sometimes... and i am at way less operating capacity than i was a year ago. it has been an intentional letting-go in that way that has been sorely needed and is still in progress.

livejournal is like my own experiment in that i just post my real and unrefined thoughts most of the time. my inner life is much more melancholy and serious than i think i come across in real life. and it sometimes feels *more* holistic to me, because i am more transparent in this way (not on purpose) than i would likely allow in general life. mysasma was writing the other day about people getting a more-real picture of him in his journal than he knew he was conveying, and i think that is kind of fun when it happens...
He's capable of more than I've been willing to believe or allow

This was a big one for me, many years ago. How much faith did I have that He could work in people's lives without my help?
He'd better be able to, or else I'm sunk.
Yes...I haven't made the tough decisions, but I recognise the need...some days more than others...there are the days when nothing happens, except from LJ -> Gmail -> another site -> LJ -> Gmail -> another site in an endless cycle, increasingly updated by how nobody updates in the increasingly-short time it can take to go through the cycle.
It's so nasty. I want to do it less and less.
Well said. These sorts of self-revelations and "limits" are very healthy and necessary. I suppose that we all wrestle with such things from time to time; I know that I do.
I think we have some similar "buttons" that both draw us in and frustrate us online. I have to remind myself that people are often getting exactly what they want (regardless of what they say), and I can do little to change what they want.

you said it

I think you once commented on my post questioning the whole livejournal thing....some of what you said tonight was what I was feeling only you are much more articulate than I. Your intellect intimidates me...pretty much everyone intimidates me..I never feel smart,spiritual,funny, etc etc. enough, so my fear is that we are all trying to project an image here on line that is not helping us reach our potential in just living the Christian life with real live flesh and blood people. I met a young kid who had car trouble today and gave him a ride to his dads office. I was awkwardly searching for conversation on the ten minute drive.....if I had met him on the net I would have been sharing charming stories from work or my deepest spiritual insights....how messed up is that? I am soooo ready to fly out and have that damned cup of coffee.

Re: you said it

Flesh and blood life is key. Sometimes I shortchange the people I come face to face with. You are so right in your observations about that.

Melanie has met me—she can tell you exactly how unintimidating my intellect is.

The coffee would be great (though I'd wait until morning, because it'd keep me up all night).
Part of my reason for going on-line less was because I was far too dependant on the relationships I had here. There are many wonderful people here, but I can't be glued to my computer screen and ignoring the people around me here!

Now that I've backed up, I'm beginning to think of how and who to invest my time with in "real" life. "Crowded loneliness" my pastor once called it when you spread yourself out too thin among too many people - it's true.