Friday, April 5, 2013

{Paths of Peace}

A few weeks ago my sister casually mentioned that she was stepping back from facebook for a while. As she did so, I quickly noticed that, without her voice in my little facebook community, the banter was just . . . different. I missed her sparkly little quips and the lively friends who stepped in to comment on her antics. I didn't quite know what to do with this.  

Enter Lent. I soon found myself thinking, "Maybe I should ease off a bit, too. Focus on other things, you know." I didn't make a proclamation or even develop a hardcore plan. I just altered a few notifications so that I would pretty much just see if anyone had tried to send me a message or if my extended family had any fun pictures or updates to share.

I expected to have more time on my hands as a result, and I did. What I didn't expect was that my brain would calm down, too. There were fewer images flashing across my mind throughout the day, fewer details about other peoples' lives to log, and fewer chances to be distracted by my own perceived inadequacy.

Because social media is so quickly developing, I sometimes feel (especially while raising children) that we're caught in a turbulent storm of information, and it's not always clear when to say "yes" and when to say "no." I'm pretty sure that I'm not alone in this.

Lately I've seen several articles written about the dangers of portraying our "half truths" to the world, especially on facebook. (Even here we're caught up in self: the whole world wants to know about me!) It can be harmful to us and harmful to others. As Shauna Niequist shares in a recent post, Stop Instagramming Your Perfect Life,

"Seeing the best possible, often-unrealistic, half-truth version of other peoples’ lives isn’t 
the only danger of the Internet. Our envy buttons also get pushed because we rarely check Facebook when we’re having our own peak experiences. We check it when we’re bored and when we’re 
lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness."

Sound familiar? 

Not only that, but we can be downright mean. The internet (and facebook in particular) gives us a chance to spout out any information we want without being accountable. Again I appreciate a post written by Heidi St. John who warns,

The Internet has provided a new generation with the opportunity to practice a brand new 
form of passive/aggressive behavior—simply using vague, online hints.

We're also far too ready to jump to conclusions about others in an attempt to assuage our own feelings of guilt or to elevate our personal choices. (Check out Dear Mom on the iPhone, I Get It.)

This swirling, whirling information has caused me to wonder: What if we were to vow with one another to share only the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? If we did that, I would tell you that I'm sitting here in the messy school room with weird hair and no makeup on. I'm not sure yet what we're doing for dinner, and I really need to figure that out. My kids have been squabbling over whose turn it is to play the ukulele, and they've been playing the Wii for far too long today. It's pouring down rain and, as much as I love it, I find myself fighting depression when it gets too gray. I haven't exercised regularly this week, I've eaten too much sugar, and I have a to-do list that still has plenty of to-doing to be done.

But I can also tell you another truth. I can tell you that whenever I let my brain have a rest from social media, it leaves room for other voices. Voices like those of my husband, my children, and my God. This morning I was reading Proverbs, and I was drawn once again to the desire to seek wisdom. In fact, while still in my bathrobe, I grabbed a piece of chalk and scribbled a charge to my family on the kitchen chalkboard:

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding . . . 
[wisdom's] ways are pleasant, and all her paths are peace.
Proverbs 3:13&17

Did you catch that? The way of wisdom is pleasant and peaceful. This means that when we are quieting our minds before the Lord, He will share with our hearts when we need to say "yes" and when we need to say "no." In the listening, acknowledging and obeying, we will find peace. Peace in our minds, peace in our homes and even peace as we portray the truth to others, both through the internet and in real life.

I'm going to be honest. I like blogging and I like facebook. But I want to be sure that I'm using them as tools of peace in my own life and, so far as it depends on me, in the lives of others. Sometimes that will mean stepping back for a while, sometimes that will mean publicly sharing what's on my heart, and sometimes that will mean shutting down my computer and playing with the kids. Each choice has the potential to bring peace, and each choice has the potential to bring glory to my Creator. My prayer is that I heed the words of Solomon and choose wisely.

Blessings to you, my dear readers. I so appreciate you. I enjoy hearing from you, both here and via facebook, and I'm thankful that we get to share "real" together. Have a pleasant, peace-filled weekend, my friends.

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  1. So true! Thanks for your honesty and by the grace of God,I want to do the same.

    1. Thank you, Chanda! So thankful for grace.



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