Grab a beverage find a comfortable chair. This is an extended Random Musing.
[I hope to divide this into two shorter posts. Today, they were still connected in my mind. It would have been like trying to split my personality. Easy for some, not so for me. I’ll work on that.]
I’m writing today for my friends concerned about my absence from social media as I break lose from it’s addiction. I’m not going to let it control me. If I were to abandon it completely, evil would prevail. I would give up the positive connections it can provide. But, like an alcoholic in recovery, I can’t walk into a bar, even to be ‘social’. For now, I can beep and wave as I drive past the tavern called Facebook. I can’t stop in, even for a soda pop.
Abstaining from Facebook will be an undetermined season. In a sense, I am standing on the other side of a two-way mirror, analyzing my reflection. This discipline is helping me be honest with myself about how truly ensnared in it’s web I had become. I had to dive deep to find truth. The treasure I found while seeking God was amazing! But I have a limited capacity to carry these treasures to the surface. I needed a diving partner.
I found many riches. Engrossed by their beauty, I spent too long trying to discern which treasures I should bring to the surface. I felt waterlogged, out of oxygen having gone so deep for too long. I became confused and frightened; I couldn’t tell where to resurface.
I can only use so many gifts at once and I should have vetted my options more quickly. But the treasures weren’t tangibles I could easily discern alone. These precious gifts were spiritual gifts, nothing like the treasures of the earth. The only way to find them is to plunge into the ocean of God’s Word. I’ll write more after this time away. I simply wanted you to know where I’ve been spending my hiatus before I return to work.
I’m sending this to the internet as a diver allows an air bubble up to the surface. The bubble lets those waiting in the boat know you’re okay. I am tethered to my boat [called hope] with a diving line [my faith]. Don’t be concerned by the silence or the length of time I’ve been away. I am gaining clarity. Today’s Utmost For His Highest reflection contains the words I do not have time to write myself. January 14:
“I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” —Isaiah 6:8
For this season, I’m trying to discipline myself for the next step, the next level. I was trapped in confusion, unable to clearly discern my call. Was the call I thought I heard conceived in my head or truly His plan for me, a seed planted in my heart?
With the leadership of my church body, I made a huge breakthrough yesterday. I am at peace once again knowing He is in control. I let too many outside influences affect my discernment. God plants seeds in our hearts but we must choose wisely how to water them. If they are truly God’s, they will sprout when watered by Him. He will send others to affirm. The diabolical one will also send people to falsly encourage or discourage a call. One must stay in the Word to authenticate the call with God.
Repeatedly putting our desires in front of His light will enable us to see if He is behind them (transparent) or if we are promoting your own agenda. If so, you will only see your reflection looking back at you when you hold it up for Him to clarify. It might be a shiny thing, distracting you from His plan and purpose. If you get caught up staring at this precious ‘thing’ you hold in your hand (literally and figuratively), you will die a slow and self-absorbed death… the origin of the word “narcissist”.
I love my friends and family, but I cannot follow them closer than my God. I have to prioritize my prayer life, my marriage, my family, and the work I am called to do. Everything else needs to fill those gaps, not the other way around. My hiatus hasn’t been spent staring at my navel in self-reflection. Trust me… I’m pondering all these things in my heart to use when God appoints a time to use them.
When I emerge from this sabbatical, I intend to engage in real-time social networking. I will be back to work next week, back into life and living one worthy of the time God has given me. I hope to have more personal exchanges in small circles as well as one-on-one time for fellowship. I hope to have more time to hear the audible voices of my loved ones. If an acquaintance comes to mind, I can visit their profile page with a keystroke to see how they have been. I hope to see more on friends timelines that will tell me about their lives. If I see something exciting or troubling, another mouse click can connect me with a private message or comment. This will require discernment and discipline on my part.
Facebook is my personal profile.
LinkedIn is my professional profile.
Other applications have other applications.
How many can one effectively utilize?
Some of you are starting to think about the upcoming Lenten season, wondering what you will give up totally or enjoy less for a 40-day appointment. Lent is an awesome time for reflection leading up to Easter, the ultimate sacrifice for our real freedom to live life.
One life so others might live.
Any time of year we can reflect.
Any time of year we can set ourselves apart from things that consume us.
Any time of year we can start anew.
Many are suffering with a financial and/or emotional hangover from Christmas. How much time and preparation was spent during Advent to prepare for Christmas and the One True meaning for the season?
Christmas was a gift; Easter was a sacrifice… which cost more?
I’m leaving you with this reflection so you know why I’m away. I’m doing okay. I cannot engage in social media or write as fervently on my blog during this season. It may seem selfish to pull away so drastically from Facebook. Consider this, would you invite me to have drinks when I’ve confessed a struggle with alcoholism?
I am engaging in relationships outside the “virtual tavern” called Facebook. It has become an idol. It’s not a shiny gold idol. It is a simple blue square ‘F’ with enticing red notification dots to suck me in. I enjoy my network and appreciate the lifeline social outlets can be. Quite simply, I believe the social aspect is diminishing and our profiles are becoming a superficial altar.
Some bring their best to the altar of this god, waiting for friends to affirm and accept them. They put their best on the altar but leave their darkness and weakness hidden from view. Perhaps there is shame preventing an authentic representation of oneself. Often times this filter is pride, believing we are without flaws. This is as pious as the hypocritical religion we’ve come to reject. To the extreme, our narcissistic culture has created many gods fighting for power, esteem, and value. We have made ourselves into the god we serve.
Look at me.
The surface, our newsfeed, is clouded with ripples of distractions keeping us from seeing what’s really happening in one another’s lives. Instead of casting a pebble now and then to inspire others, many are hurling handfuls of rocks.
The frequency deafens our message.
The quantity diminishes our cause.
The ripples have become waves, drowning friends and battling shorelines. The shorelines have eroded so far, we stand on soapboxes on the islands we have created for ourselves. Many find themselves in isolation but don’t realize they are a castaway on a manmade island. Despite their desire for authentic relationships, many shout insults from their polarized islands to any ship passing by. In an attempt to preach to a choir, they are succeeding to gain popularity. However, the popularity is not necessarily authentic.
How long will we let these battles create an unnecessary war? Can we find another outlet for our viewpoints? Blogs are free; maybe that is a solution. Perhaps we can reclaim the social part of social media before it eats itself alive. If it does, evil wins.
Perhaps groups and pages should be better utilized to share and discuss viewpoints. If I like your views, I can ‘follow’ you. I can opt to be notified when you’ve posted. You can invite friends to join a discussion, if they chose, without calling out repeatedly from your profile and clogging the newsfeed. Guilty of over-sharing like Beatrice, I’m contemplating Mark Zuckerberg’s intent when he included the question, “What’s on your mind?”
The internet and social networks can be a positive tools enabling us to quickly find resources and access knowledge. However, without accountability, the internet can be a tool that enables us to fall deeper into sins and self-absorbed darkness. Held up to a bright light, I realized I had sunk into a mire of darkness. The red notification dots seem to shine brighter in the dark so I found them more compelling until I found myself lost in an addiction. I had to step away.
I wonder if social media will improve or deteriorate while I am away. Time will tell.
When I return to blog, I will do so with a new-found discipline. I do not ask you to follow me to build a platform on which I can stand to glorify myself. I won’t be looking at my blog stats until I am in remission from my addiction. The stats consumed me as much as the notification dots on my phone. I will return to write for a Higher call; not a book deal. Follow me if you need encouragement, it’s your choice: follow my blog or bookmark this site to check back now and then. I’m sure God will send those who need to read at the appropriate time. Until then, I’ll write to glorify Him alone.
My new-found discipline should make the blog posts shorter and a bit less random. I have to follow up on my last post Greater. Stronger. Higher! for those wondering about the new job. I’m taking time to write it out because it is an amazing story!
From there, I hope to glorify God through writing about our marriage. It is a continuing story of recovery and redemption. I’ll tackle difficult topics to encourage people to have hope and encouragement… I’ll serve it up in smaller doses. I have to, I’m going back to work!
Until then, be at peace. God is bigger than any of our problems.