Sunday, October 27, 2013

My fight with Facebook

     I've had a Facebook account for about five and a half years now. I built my profile just before going off to Bolivia in the late spring of 2008, and just after buying Djimii, my beloved djembe. My Facebook account is older than my oldest nephew Jonathan, and over the past five years it has been a platform for new friendships, the renewal of old relationships, and the construction of a much stronger and vaster network of contacts than I had in the past.
This little thing takes up the rest of my time.
     It's healthy, though, to take a step back once in a while.
     A typical day of mine begins with my phone ringing me awake. I stop the ringer (after 45 minutes or so) and check all the notifications I received while I slept. Once those are exhausted, I hop in the shower for a minute or two, and often check my phone the second I step out. I check it again after I'm dressed, and once or twice on the way to Starbucks before work.
     While waiting in line for my fancy latte, I might pull out the phone, but I'll certainly check it again at the first stop light I reach after leaving the cafe. and should it buzz or pop or jingle, back in my hand it goes.
     Wait, really?
     I haven't even gotten to work yet and I've looked at my phone - and especially Facebook - one, two, threeee.... seven times or more.
     For those of us who have smart phones, this habit becomes more or less part of our routine. Heck, I grew up without television and didn't have a phone until I was 21 years of age, and I still do it. For whatever reason, the need to be connected and immersed is desperate.
     Taking stock of my social media accounts - which I've noticed has become a twisted source of pride - I realize exactly how overwhelmed I've become, and something needs to change. I still want that tattoo I mentioned a few months back, but even a permanent marking isn't enough. It doesn't solve the problem.
     The issue, as I see it, is boundaries (thanks, Anna). If we - meaning I - fail to set boundaries, of course things like Facebook can overrun my life. It might sound like 'overrun' is a little bit of an exaggeration, but when it becomes difficult to ignore the little jingle or wait to check the flashing tab, there's a problem.
     I'm not sure how to solve it. I deactivated my Facebook for about a week so I could think about it's necessity, and I've settled on a few things.
Firstly, the Facebook app is staying off of my phone. That keeps me from constantly checking to see what new cat picture my friends have posted. Secondly, I know I need to look for something wholesome to take its place. Not another app, not Netflix (which is my downfall), but something productive and useful.
     Those options do nothing to fix the craving. They only bury the symptoms, and the dependence on connectivity will only continue to rot and fester unless I can put that want in a box and leave it there if need be. It has no power but what I give to it, and I've relinquished too much. That trend needs to be reigned in.
     I don't know what that looks like. I'll make excuses, I'm sure, but living a life where my relationships are built on face-to-face contact makes for a bright and desirable future, and it's that reality which I cling to.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Christ in Me

It is from an unusually emotional place that I finally return and continue to chronicle the events of the redemptive process.

This picture is because tumblr and wine. Don't judge.
These last few days have been an interesting challenge. An idol, long held with an iron fist, I finally left to the wind's devices and out of that has come a time of change and turmoil.

With a place in my internal hierarchy open, the struggle and goal is to place something positive into that hole - something that will create a base from which to move forward in every aspect of my life.

Part of that base is finally listening to the voice of reason, releasing my pride and giving ear to the heart of Christ. My life and my mind have for years been hamstrung by the lies of the evil one, and it's time to let the love of God replace those with his truth.

I'm not lazy, I'm not a coward. I don't shirk from tough situations. I am not the product of chance, simply put together by the way the chips fell.

But to take that even further, look at how each of those statements was phrased. It's about me. All about me, which is yet another lie I have allowed myself to believe.

Christ in me is not lazy. Christ in me is not a coward, and shrinks not from trying circumstances. I am not the product of mere happenstance, but of a longstanding gift of LOVE and the work of Christ in me.

There's a start. Yes, I have fallicies, but Christ in me does not. I no longer have need to hold on to the battles of the past - they are as far removed from me as the East is from the West. Because of Christ in me, I have the power to push past the things which have troubled me.

I am beginning to wonder if the very name of this blog speaks ill of what God's love does for those who accept it in it's fullness. The early idea was that I would write down my experiences so I could look back as the Lord took me from a broken, useless servant and made me into a bless'ed vessel, but could I be more wrong?

By accepting the love of Christ, are I not already blessed? Sanctification isn't taking something disheveled and transforming it by magic into something different. On the contrary. The redemptive process, in truth, is the walk of an already saved and beloved creature with his Creator, becoming ever more like the one whose Hands formed him from the beginning.

I would appreciate continued prayer on this matter, and for my dear brother in law Josh, who helped me to see a little light in this convoluted situation.

Note: For those who follow this blog and haven't heard from me personally (I deactivated my Facebook account, coinciding with the event I mention in the second graph), I will be moving to St. Helens, Oregon in the coming weeks. The move is to be closer to my job, which is based in Scappoose.