Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Monster That Is Facebook (And Other Social Media Sites)

After spending an unexpected three hours on Facebook, have you ever found yourself wondering, “What happened? Where’s the time gone?” Do you find yourself accepting the requests of people you barely know? Or maybe you have a better relationship with someone online than you do in real life. Any of this sound familiar?

Yeah, it does to me, too.

How did something as simple as a way to interact with our friends turn into such a Monster? Don’t get me wrong. Social media sites can be great for communicating with our friends and reconnecting with friends lost, but they are also dangerous.

Think about it:
  • Hours of our day disappear
  • We create a fa├žade, becoming whoever we want to be.
  • In the effort to “be real” with one another, we tell people every little detail about ourselves that, honestly, they don’t need to know.
  • We no longer have close friends. Everyone becomes our “best friend” and we spill our problems publicly.
  • With the excuse that we “socialize more” through them, we play games and constantly bombard each other with notifications while wasting our time.
  • We lose the ability to interact in person and would rather message one another.
  • We spend more time posting a picture of what we are doing than actually doing it.
  • We can no longer deal with boredom. It drives us crazy.
All of these things are major problems. We, as a society, are feeding our little Monsters. And the more we feed them, the hungrier they get and the bigger they grow.

I guess this may bother me more than most partially because, as a missionary kid, I have been a “public figure” for most of my life. Everyone knows everything about me and everything I’m doing. If I don’t post, people begin to wonder if I have fallen off the face of the earth. People I don’t even know keep up with me, watching me, expecting me to be a good role model even in the internet world. That’s a lot of pressure.

But on a more internal note, Facebook creates in me a need to know what everyone is doing. When you get right down to it, it’s basically an addiction to gossip. Think about it- instead of everyone talking about us behind our backs, we talk about ourselves and supply the information- both good and bad. It’s inverted gossip! Facebook also dampens my creativity because instead of alleviating boredom by creating something, I turn to Facebook. My “boredom span” is growing short and shorter.

Therefore I’m on Facebook more.

Therefore I don’t create.

So please forgive me, friends and distant relatives, if you find yourselves no longer on my “friends list” within the next few months. It’s not that I don’t want to be friends with you or want to be rude. It’s because I need to do what God is calling me to do- create. And I can’t do that if I’m keeping up with you. If you still want to keep up with me, please feel free to follow me on either of my pages, this blog, Goodreads, or Twitter. I’ll even post something “publicly” from time to time. And send me a message or e-mail! I’d be happy to respond and give you an update.

How is social media affecting your life? Is there anything that it prevents you from doing?

Think about it.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Defective Resolution Robot

Resolutions. It seems like each new year a fresh round of them bombard our social media feeds. They are usually pretty typical: losing weight, getting fit, eating better, quitting smoking, traveling more, and the list goes on and on. But three months down the road if you happen to meet up with those people, where have their “resolutions” gone? Have they lost any weight? Are they still actively exercising? Did those dreams of traveling to Acapulco get side-swiped by the reality of their job or family obligations? It’s as if all of their cookie-cutter resolutions were spewed out by a defective resolution robot.

The term “resolution” is an interesting one, stemming from the root “resolute”, which according to means:
Firmly resolved or determined, set in purpose or opinion.

Does that sound like what we do every year? Or does it seem like what that should really say is “temporarily resolved”?

(Side note: If our forefathers had been as “resolute” as we are to free the colonies, I’m afraid we’d all still be under England. And we’d have lost the second World War. Everything would be different. But because a few people stood firmly “set in purpose and opinion”, we can enjoy the freedom that we have today. Our “resolutions” can’t even hold a candle to that. We’re not even in the same league.)

There are moments in the Bible where people were called upon to show resolve. A few examples would be Moses during the battle where he had to keep his hands raised in order for Israel to prevail and Daniel when he had the choice between obeying the law and obeying God. Most of us will not be asked to do anything as difficult as that. And why would we need to? So far no one has asked me to use my super muscular (okay, not so muscular) arms to bring about the outcome of a war. No one has threatened me with flesh-eating beasts either.

So what, as Believers, are we called to be “resolute” about?
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1Corinthians 15:58

“Stand firm”- i.e. be resolute. Resolve to stand in your faith no matter what happens this year. Resolve to stand against sin. Resolve to be more like Jesus even as you wait for His coming. Resolve to be used of the Lord and “labor in the Lord”, for His glory. Resolve to be the soldier He is asking you to be.

Making resolutions about your health or where you want to be by this time next year are all well and good, but they’re what everyone is proposing- and often failing- to do. My encouragement to you and to myself- step out of the mold this year. Put the robot back in the closet where it belongs. Instead, turn to Jesus to help you keep the ultimate resolution, one that’s worth fighting for.

Stand firm. Be resolute.


Happy 2015! May your year grow increasingly better and may the love of God shine in your life.

The last several months have been busy and challenging- hence the lack of updates here. But if you’ll take a look at my Twitter feed you’ll find that there is not much more recent written there, either.

What’s been going on? Well, I’m so glad you asked! ;) In the quickest, most succinct way possible, I will tell you: flights from Romania to Ohio, summer camp counseling, new job, move, then move to a new state, apartment remodel, problems with the remodel, more problems with the remodel, Christmas, then moving in and trying to organize my whole life into said apartment.

Like I said, busy.

The remodel was pretty challenging considering that we were turning an old pool room in a 130 year-old barn into an efficiency apartment. I nearly gave up on the whole project several times, and wallowing in despair was tempting. But the Lord’s Will prevailed (and my parents’ visiting three or more times) and we finally did it. There are still a few things left to do, which will hopefully get done by the end of summer. I’d really like a cabinet floor under my sink….

Another difficult thing has been putting myself out there again. Honestly, I still might have no friends had I not purposed to make moving to Indiana a great opportunity to meet new people. My Ohio friends think I’m crazy for showing up at a laser tag event somewhere on the back roads of the city I live in (actually, I don’t think it was even a part of the city), knowing no one there and having not even RSVP’ed to the event. Ok, maybe that was a little crazy…. Still, it paid off. I met several great people that I now call friends and attend their young adult group as well as go to their church.
And, lastly, did I mention I am now a nanny? Yeah, not easy. But I’m loving it.

Now comes the part where I put all that aside and eat some humble pie because, despite everything, I’m sure I could have found some time to write for you. My dear readers, forgive me. Please note the following:  I've purposed to write at least once a week from now on- despite not having easy access to an internet connection. You are all well worth a weekly trip to Starbucks or McDonalds to use Wi-Fi. I value each and every person who reads this blog because I know that you don’t have to. There are many other things you could be doing, but you have chosen to listen to the ramblings of a young woman just trying to find herself on this crazy planet we call Earth. 

Thank you for that.