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Life of an Ordinary Aussie Woman

Monday, 16 June 2014

IRL Friends Verses Online…

A female friend once told me (in person by the way) that someone once challenged her, saying something like all of her ‘friends’ were probably her online acquaintances on Facebook!  Seriously…true story!

They were challenging her ability to relate to others in a pastoral sense and I can tell you that this woman relates well to others…

This statement seemed to me, to be more of a personal attack against this woman, from another woman who was probably jealous or personally challenged by my friend in some way.

Regardless of how much people may resist communication changing from the traditional face-to-face catch ups to more digital forms…the REALITY is that communication and interaction is changing at a dramatically fast pace and most people have already accepted and made the transition to internet communication…And while digital communication cannot replace the presence of an IRL person sitting across from you, or offering you a warm hug, in my humble opinion it still is a very valuable means of contact and is not just sterile communication.

Time…Oh how lacking our current Western society seems to be of this valuable asset!

Yet, with digital communication available via the internet I know that I can reach out to someone and almost always get an instant reply and HONESTLY this is VERY valuable to me personally.  Let’s take it one step further and think of our personal faith as Christians (for those of you reading who do have this faith).  

Where I live, I actually do not have many Christian friends of a similar age who are close by, or whom I consider to be close, and trusted friends…my trusted Christian circle is actually quite small…and I think this may be the situation for others too, as the world is definitely on a path of destruction and the Christian faith in the West is not growing like it is in other countries, for example China and some African countries.

An online Christian I know, whom I consider to be a trusted friend, yet have never sat IRL across from, recently commented on their blog about the validity of online Christian friendships and confirmed the blessing of their online friendships.  I too also have experienced this…I must say however that I would ALWAYS advise caution in all your online activity, (like NEVER giving someone money or meeting someone in person who is pressuring you to do so cause you don't really need to meet up to be friends, honestly) and a balance of online activity and IRL contact.  It also needs to be said that people, online or not need to be observed for a decent period of time before you can trust them...and I also have observed that some people online just honestly want to be heard, rather than interacting on a meaningful level.  Discernment takes time - don't rush it!

This week I made an online group for my online and IRL female Christian friends, so that we can have quicker access to each other for support and I was actually really shocked when I began adding women because before I knew it there was around 50 women!

All beautiful, unique, godly women who can safely minister to one another in different ways due to their unique giftings.  To be honest some of these women I’ll probably never be able to see IRL and others very occasionally…there is only a small portion of them whom I’m able to see face-to-face.

So what an AWESOME encouragement this is for me, as a Christian woman who sometimes feels somewhat isolated in her faith.  I feel so blessed by this new online group, as I know I can trust these women and if I need prayer, or someone I know does, I can instantly throw out a request and have awesome intercessory prayer happening, even if I am not up to speaking to someone in person or calling people on the phone!

So to finish, if you are a trusted online, Christian friend of mine…maybe I won’t get to see you IRL now, but I love you and we’ll party in heaven!

Love Mel J

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