People who know me and know me well know that I come without a filter.
And I mean, I try really really hard at having a filter. I’ve come a long way! That’s why I can teach 5th and 6th grade without talking about inappropriate things. Well, besides the inappropriate things in the Bible.
Last week our ministry team watched a video on how technology has affected our ability to communicate with one another. Afterwards, we sat in roundtables and talked about it for a few minutes.
I shared how one of my biggest struggles in ministry is knowing how to say things in a way that is more diplomatic, i.e. filtered through the proper lens for the appropriate audience. I shared how I put my foot in my mouth and repeatedly kick myself for how I say things.
But it was pointed out: Why is it seen as a disadvantage if you speak your mind? Why do we have such unrealistic expectations for what a person should be like? Why are people supposed to fit in such a tight box, with no room for personality?
Think about it: With the internet, there are filters. I can put a filter on Instagram so that real life looks better–whether it’s myself, my scenary, or my dinner. You can’t view pictures of arguments I have with family or friends, of what my insides feel like when I hurt (or eat too much salsa), or when I’m having a bad day and am mad at God. You can’t capture that in pictures, nor do I want you to see that. You can also filter who your friends are and who you can date, through social media platforms and dating websites. You don’t like baseball? Then you can’t date me. You posted an article from a different political standpoint? Not worth my time. Lastly, we use filters when we email or use written communication. I am in my element when I write because I have a backspace button. I can control exactly what I say and how I say it.
But when we speak, there is no backspace button. There is no ctrl+a+delete. There’s only the moment and the words that fill it.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t think before you speak.
I’m saying that it’s not always a sign of weakness if you speak your mind. It’s not a weakness to be vulnerable and speak your heart. It’s okay to put passion behind your opinions, as long as you are doing your best to value others. And I’m not weak because I stutter and go off on tangents and have invented my own language on accident.
Real life is not the internet. And that’s okay! Real life is a whole lot messier than the pictures you post online, and that’s beautiful.