Learning through Life

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Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The one with the Facebook 'game'

Throughout this week, many Facebook users (particularly young people) have been embracing the current trend to publicly reveal their honest thoughts of those requesting it.  A user, wishing to engage in this game of compliments (or otherwise!), will indicate as such in their status.

'Message me a number between 1 - 500 and I will tell you what I think of you'

There have been a lot of similar 'games' on Facebook in the past, but this one presented a small amount of mystery, as the name of the person being spoken about would not be revealed - only their number.  Now, if you are anything like me, then this automatically sparks off an interest - as I like to play detective and try to figure out who is being written about.  Such fun!

So, I found myself reading through a considerable number of complimentary words about others.  What struck me almost immediately was the ease in which young people seemed to be able to share such encouraging, honest and loving words to their friends.  It was a far cry from the insults, ridicule, and sarcasm that I often hear (albeit in jest) during the two hours I see them during the week.  It was awe-inspiring.  How different I was at their age, when putting 'love from' on a birthday card made me feel as though my heart was being unnecessarily exposed!   Several decades on, and I am only just beginning to feel able to express my thoughts and feelings to others without fear of appearing weak and needy.  In my young mind, keeping quiet about such things made me feel and appear stronger.  What nonsense!  In fact, there is a definite strength in being able (and willing) to share open and honest words with others.

Can you tell this little Facebook 'game' had a significant impact on me?  It certainly did, in fact, so much so that I did something very out of 'Jo' character - and wrote a new status:

'OK, I will join the game - inbox me a number between 1 - 500 ...'

What good would the above thoughts have done me if I was not prepared to act on it?  Sometimes we can find ourselves caught up in a reflective cycle, going round and round, and never actually achieving anything.  Know what I mean?  We can all get caught up at times.  Thinking things over and over but never actually letting our thoughts make a difference.

In the book of James this cycle can be seen in a slightly different context, but it still brings home the point well ...

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:23- 25)

I do not want to walk away and forget all God has done in and for me.
I am not content to stay the same 'Jo' on the outside, especially when I know that God has been working on the inside.  I want to allow God to change all of me.  I want to be a better person.  I want to continually develop.  I want to act, not merely listen.  Even if it may be a little uncomfortable and involves effort!

So, although a childish game on Facebook may seem insignificant to some, for me it provided an opportunity to take a little step outside of my comfort zone and develop.  Numbers flooded my inbox, and words filled my mind.  I hope that my open and honest responses provided a little warmth and encouragement.  I have many wonderful people in my life, whom I am truly thankful for, and if I haven't had chance to tell you recently - I think you're great!

Of course - as with a lot of these 'games' - there is an element of both give and take.  Although my initial participation centred around the giving of honest and encouraging words to others, I also indulged in a little 'taking'.  I found the words I received from others had just as much impact on me as the reflective process described above.

Intrigued?  I will reveal all in my next blog .... :)


  1. "Such fun!" - another Miranda fan! :)
    I saw my daughter play this game and marvelled at her ability to express her love for her friends - and for how many there are! As someone who has only a few very close friends, and who had no (seriously, zero) friends at school, I am in awe of her love and concern for hers. I don't know if it's just my Katy or if it's something different about this generation, but how great is it to be able to say "it's not like it was in my day" and mean something good by that!

  2. Yes, I think a lot of it is a generational thing Sarah. When I was their age we greeted each other with a 'hi' ... now it seems quite normal to greet with a hug! That would just have seemed weird back in the day! Good for them though, it's a good thing! Maybe us adults can learn a thing or two from the 'youth of today' after all :)


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