Fasting, Stillness and Celebrations

For the most part I love social media. I think it’s a great avenue to connect, learn and grow….along with sharing pictures with friends. I have made friends just from online communities that I spend time with IRL, and I have found ways to decorate and cook as well. Recently though, I was having a bit of a chaotic mind and heart that I was frankly compartmentalizing and distracting with social media.

For the first few days of November I took a fast from it all. My head and my heart craved the quietness, the space, the stillness. It was nine days of finding a heart that needed to breathe, a mind needing to settle. Honestly I needed to learn to pare down and shut down, to listen more to my self and the call to my heart from God.

heads and heartsIf I am honest with you all, it was difficult the first couple of days when it got quiet. I’d want to go to the phone for distraction, but as the days grew on I realized my dependency on noise to fill the quiet was not healthy. For me, it’s become a noise-filled culture that my head and my heart really can’t quite come to terms with living in 24/7. Even more so, as I have spent time in prayer and reading and just being still I have come to find it’s allowed me time to reflect on the seasons I have been in over the last few years and hear more from God on the one I am finding myself in.

As I was reading the last bit of my study of Esther this morning, I couldn’t help but realize that we’ve subbed out reflection and stillness, in remembering God in our midst and at our defense for quick snippets of Scripture and posted prayer requests for the masses. (I am just as guilty y’all) We quickly jump to the very next thing without sitting in the moment of God’s provision, His timing, His beauty. We can celebrate God’s great strength and faithfulness in our circumstances, but how good are we at marking them for remembrance in our own hearts and lives? How well are we doing at tuning our minds and hearts to see His providing, His rescue and His defense in our lives every single day? I’m really good at knowing what’s going on in my HOA group online, but not so much about God’s working in my heart if I’m not careful.

As I read deeper about Purim, first marked in those pages of Esther, I found that often we forget the faithfulness of the God we love and serve. We move on to the next project, next task, next circumstance without celebrating the goodness of a God Who intervenes, who wants all things to turn out for good in us, who asks for our attention and who absolutely deserves all our devotion.

For me, it’s about tuning out more of the noise and tuning my head and my heart to stillness and quiet, to reflection and celebration of God’s unwavering faithfulness in my¬† lives of others. That means fasts from social media, choosing time alone, and recognizing the ways in which He provides daily.

The Social Me

I had plans to write on something else this morning. In fact it was something that had spawned yesterday and continued to weigh heavy on my mind and hear throughout the night and this morning. But then I logged into Facebook and knew that the post I had been attempting to craft for two weeks needed to just be done and posted.

You see, I popped into one of my favorite online communities in Facebook. One that has had a hand in supporting and encouraging me throughout the last few months to pursue the dream to write. There it was…a steady stream of “ME!” posts. And while I must put the disclaimer out there that I too have posted my own blog on there or shared a trying “me” time, I got agitated. It was post after post that went from whining about¬†being called out for tardiness to a friends gathering (which was rude by the person who did it), to a photo of someone’s sister’s sonogram (seriously?!) and then brag after brag…which for this group has become the norm to pull up to the brag table.

That’s when I just had enough. This community was created for coming together across the globe to talk about dreaming and then building, how we do it, how we can engage others in it, and then how to step beyond that dream into reality. I even tried to engage in a step beyond post and got told “Just write.”

We’re in a place now where we have to ask our own family to put away their phones at holiday gatherings…my cousins did this at Thanksgiving and are planning to do it again in the next two days as we gather to celebrate Christmas. Yes I have social media, and yes I have this blog…but I feel like the focus has turned from connecting one another to besting one another on Facebook, on Twitter, and even in blogs. We have to post our food (guilty), our gifts (guilty), and our best selves (I have thus far resisted that urge). We show the gloss and the best in order to craft our best life to others.

Can we not live life anymore outside of our status update or funny quip on Twitter? (and yes I am as guilty as the rest) But when do we say enough? When do we take back something that was created for inherent good and say, “No more!” (My nerd self is imagining Gandalf with his staff questioning each time we post)

Maybe the social “me” is tired of it all. Tired of being too accessible, tired of knowing all about people and preventing any authentic conversations from occurring in person. Tired of catching up with people by seeing photos of their kids, their crafts, and their status updates. Instead I’d like to bring back the catching up over coffee, over a lunch, over a long conversation with an actual person. I’d like the interaction to be intimate and active, not passive and ignoring that message or like. Let’s share life authentically, and in reality…

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If you’d like to read my post on living in real life community, you can check it out here.

Big News Thursday!

Photo owned by Sara Stacy
Photo owned by Sara Stacy

So y’all I have some big news to share. Exciting and oh so wonderful…I have been holding on to this news until this morning! So find me on Twitter, and get the scoop!

Faithful readers and followers, if you’re not following me on Twitter, let me know what your handle is and I will find you today so we can share in the joyous news together!

Stop Creepin’.

That moment when you find your most recent ex on Facebook. He’s got another woman in his picture, or a mutual friend comments “Congratulations!” on a photo of a hand, with a large, aptly placed ring on a finger.

In this day and age of social media, I truly believe it’s easier than ever to keep up with friends from years ago across countries and nations. I also believe it’s alot harder to let go of your past and insecurities. Even as late as my college years, I could date someone andwe’d break up…and I honestly wouldn’t see him that often unless we had a class together. I wouldn’t get the smack of rejection or defeat, of the voice of my insecurity coming screaming back at me unless I ran into him haphazardly out in public. Going to a large state school, that wasn’t usually happening too often.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post
Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

With the joy of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s all too easy to access information about that last person you dated. And his new girlfriend. Or her weekend away to meet his folks (speaking for all you guys out there). It’s easy to mistake that for being a snub to you, feeling as if they are flaunting every bit of your insecurity in your face.

I have been there, trust me…it’s a slippery slope when you start creeping on Facebook or Twitter. You think, Oh I’ll just give it a quick look-see, and then I’ll know I am better off than he is right now. Then you see the new fun times being had with a girl who looks better (or worse possibly) than you do. Or you see his friends commenting on how greatthey are together. I honestly believe that swings open a door for the devil to tempt you into believing his lies of insecurity and doubt. I have had countless conversations with ladies about the lies they believe about themselves when they see a picture or a status update that has nothing to do with them.

I know it’s difficult to let go, and it’s easier to just creep on over daily (or even hourly for some that I have spoken to) “just to see” or even to send a message to them…or attempt to be friends with them again. There’s a reason they have moved on to someone else. Or even if they are alone and you’re popping over to check in on them, it’s unhealthy. It leads down a very steep path, and if you aren’t careful it could begin to control you. The drama. The stirred up emotions and hostilities. The lies spiraling inward.

Beth Moore states it so well, “We don’t have to love something for it to become a god to us. All we have to do is devote our most valuable mental attentions to it.” Don’t let it be your god today. Don’t give it any more mental attention that it has already taken from you. You are far too valuable to allow another person to trip up your security or confidence.

Don’t text me about your cat

I promised myself I wouldn’t do it…that I’d leave my walls up when it came to guys. I would be cold-hearted and just not deal with men, to be a spinster for the remainder of my life.

Then I let my walls down and threw caution to the wind. I decided to give a guy my phone number…and that’s when my gut flipped its lid and I regretted that decision for the next two weeks. I would get texts that exceeded the limit for iPhone times three each time. He wouldn’t call, he would text. While at first I thought it was endearing, it quickly became annoying. Then came the text to end all further communication with this guy. He texted me at midnight to let me know he was car shopping and that he was debating upon the idea of bathing his cat at that point of the night. I wish I was making this up but I am not.

That’s when it hit me. I hate dating in the technology age. I absolutely hate it. I’m an old soul who just hates this part of being in the modern age.

When did we move into Facebook messenger, Tweets, and texts as the way to court a woman? When did we get away from asking someone out in person? When you got the nervous sweaty palms even from dialing the phone praying the dad wouldn’t answer?

What happened to courtship? Even more so, what happened to women holding the standard high for being pursued? Maybe this is why I am still single, because I have a high standard…but there was a time when men rose to the standards set rather than asking women to deal with it or end up alone.

This is my call out to every single woman, lady, and young girl, hold fast to your standards that are reasonable (Justin Bieber isn’t reasonable) and don’t drop them because of a guy that can be fleeting. If he asks you to change (again beyond reason) then he’s not the one for you. Just as you are made in the image of God as a complement to a man, he is there to support and be your head as also an image of God. Hold high your integrity and your worth as the reflection of God and as a woman, as those are bound together in who you are. Women we should be discipling other women in these virtues instead of stooping to cattiness and back-biting. Why don’t we encourage one another in our standards instead of competing with them?

Now single men and guys…we women need men of value and purpose in our lives. We need you to step up to be the man God created you to be as well. That means having authority and walking in righteousness. That means mentoring those behind you to raise them up in the image of God as well. This generation is in desperate need of men who are of godly and honest rapport. Men who take the time to be intentional in their relationships with women and set those as examples for those coming behind them. I hear often how you complain that women take the control so often or that we’re too independent. Sadly it is because we have not had any men rise up to lead. We desire that more than anything-men who lead justly and righteously as men of God.

I firmly believe its time both single men and women set standards and beliefs for their lives and hold fast to those as they seek after God intensely. When you set them before being in any relationship, you’ll quickly realize that talking about your cat via text at midnight is not okay…that we should be getting to know one another face to face and seeing how life is revealed in the moments in the in-between.