I doubt I will ever be one of those people with a five year plan. If you’re one of those people, know that I hold you in high esteem. We need you. I need you. What I am, is an ideator. Not only am I an ideator, but I am spontaneous with my ideas. They pop into my mind and, before I know it, I’ve got a new dream and I’m five miles down the road to a new adventure. I am learning to temper my ideas. There is only one me, and I’ve only got so much energy and resources and so many skills.
When I started blogging, it was just a hobby. I’ve said it before: I didn’t intend to talk about faith, but that’s where I ended up. An even bigger surprise, however, is the fact that — no matter what I’m writing about — I keep on blogging.
Now, as I said in an earlier post, you can’t help but tell your story. You know the things that are important to you, and those things will show up in your writing, just because their importance is part of your spiritual, intellectual, or emotional DNA. The more you blog, the more acquainted you’ll become with the things that matter to you, and the more ways you’ll find to express them and to understand why they have such a big part of your heart.
It happens to everyone. As we visit other bloggers, we start to know their passions and their story. We learn about opportunities to give and to serve, and we’re encouraged to think about things in ways we never considered before we’d read about a topic from another writer’s point of view. But, something I noticed, the more I blogged and read other bloggers, was this phenomenon people have of taking sides. Scroll to the bottom of some bloggers’ posts, and you almost feel as if you have to brace yourself for the argument going on among the commenters, and the escalating jabs and snipes they take at one another.
Being the ideator that I am, without a five year plan, I started to think it was important to form an opinion about everything I was reading so that I knew what “side” I was on when I read through the comments. And, let me tell you, I am easily swayed. I can see and understand and relate to both sides of an argument. Present your side to me, and I’ll nod and say, “Yes! I agree!” And then, let someone with the opposite point of view talk to me for five or ten minutes, and I’m all like, “Of course! I see what you’re saying!” It’s exhausting.
There are a few things about which I have a solid opinion. These things are my passion; they help make up my story. They are, as I’ve said, my bedrock. I would be hard pressed to abandon the things that matter most to me. All the rest? Well, all of that is gravy. I don’t have to take a side. I can be informed. I can read about the passions other people have, but I don’t have to get on a bandwagon, simply because everyone else seems to be riding along to wherever that wagon might be headed. I can pack a few sandwiches, wish them well on their journey, and keep focused on the little corner of the world where God’s got my two feet planted.
Realizing I don’t have to take a side on every single issue out there was like having a fresh idea in my head. It was invigorating, and freeing, and a bit of a thrill. It took the pressure off for me, and made it possible for me to click away from an online argument with a prayer and nary a second glance. If you ask me, there are way better places to have a disagreement than here in the digital world. There are far better things to do than to make sure I’m on the “right side” of every argument out there.
I’ve lived long enough to know the tide will turn. People change their minds, new information gets shared, and people start to see things differently and find themselves to be a little more open to the people on the “other side.” Because — and this is one of those things I believe strongly, but you may see things differently — Jesus came to tear down all the walls we put up to keep each other at a distance. Jesus came to get rid of the sides; especially the “me vs. God” and the “me and God vs. you” sides. It was the ultimate act of reconciliation, and it’s our inheritance — this gift of being done with choosing sides. Love doesn’t take sides. Love does not choose me over you, or your idea over mine. Love is (and I realize, this may sound trite) all we need. Because God is love, and he’s not taking sides.
This week, meet Alicia Paulson at Posie Gets Cozy.
Some questions for you: Have you ever found yourself caught up in an online argument? Was it worth it? Why do you think we say things in a comment box that we might never say to someone face-to-face? What strategies do you use to keep from getting mixed up in online arguments?