Communication and accessibility are basic human rights.
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
Will you join me in the fight for equality?
Part of my challenge to myself during my personal "retreat" week was to journal every day. I did this successfully for five days, and then I started to feel like I was repeating myself. Here are some pieces from my journal entries, sharing both victories and struggles, from days one and two.
Day 1 (Saturday, May 13)
After writing last night’s entry, I felt significantly less restless and God blessed me with peaceful, restful sleep. Granted, it was almost 3:00 in the morning by the time I got to sleep, but I slept well, nonetheless. I woke up this morning and, like I always do, I touched my phone to check the time. I then looked at the text messages that had come in since I’d been asleep and checked my e-mail, but gently reminded myself that I would not be using Facebook or Twitter today. I don’t like admitting how hard it is to not tap that Facebook icon! My hope is that this journey will make it easier, because my goal is for social media’s importance to decrease in my life.
At one point, I was doing short devotions in the morning, but this is something that I’ve drifted away from in the last month or so. I usually peruse Facebook while I eat my breakfast in the morning. So, this morning, I took out the devotional book I had been reading and read the devotional while I ate breakfast. I felt focused and peaceful. I then got myself ready for the day and then spent some time reading “You Are Free” by Rebekah Lyons, which I just started a couple days ago. I found much of what she was discussing completely in line with what I have been going through. It’s so amazing how God gives us so many resources, so many lifelines, when we take the time to listen to him!
In the afternoon, after I arrived home from a family gathering, I had to consciously chose something to do with my time other than engage in social media. I began a series on YouTube last night about Romans 8, so I decided to that back on for a bit and watch it. To my amazement, it was discussing exactly what I had written about last night—the raging battle between our flesh and our spirit as followers of Christ. It would have been so easy to put something mindless on TV, but I wouldn’t have gotten that nourishment and reassurance from God that I so desperately needed. He wants to speak Truth into our lives, He wants to encourage us in our walks and help us grow stronger so that we can fight the enemy. But, we must take the time to listen to His voice above all the worldly voices we hear daily. I wondered, how long has God been trying to reach out to me to validate this feeling? Although I was still having a daily quiet time with God, I have been putting other things before Him in my life. I may not want to admit that, but it’s the only explanation for my struggle to hear His voice.
Day 2 (Sunday, May 14)
My alarm went off at 7:30 this morning, letting me know it was time to get ready for church. Half asleep, I turned it off and knew my second alarm would go off 15 minutes later. It did, and I intended to get up in just a second. However, I accidentally fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up again until 9:00, which is when church starts. I had overslept and now I was missing church. I dislike missing church; it always seems to throw my whole week off. I enjoy starting my week off in fellowship with other believers and listening to my pastor give the Word. I was even more frustrated about missing church than usual today because this is supposed to be a “spiritual challenge” week for me. I felt very angry with myself. I was thinking: “You want to do all these things to get closer to God and you can’t even wake up in time for church. What a great start you’ve got going.” I even thought, briefly, “why even do this challenge this week now? I should just start over again when I get it right.”
But, I consciously challenged this thought process. Was this self-directed anger going to help me get closer to God? Was it productive in any way? Was throwing my challenge out the window going to glorify God? When I realized the answer to all these questions was a definitive no, I decided to change the way I was thinking about the situation. I mentioned yesterday that I have been reading the book “You Are Free”. God reminded me of a portion of the book that talks about how important it is for us to understand that God’s love for us is not based on performance. So, I asked myself: “Does God love me less because I missed church today?” Of course he doesn’t! In fact, he already knew I would miss church today, just like he knows every other mistake I have ever made and ever will make. So, I decided not to abandon my endeavors because of this error, but instead to work even harder to listen to voice of God and let him nourish me, encourage me, and even convict me. To speak His truth into my life and to break my heart for what breaks His!
I read an article last week about how the constant use of technology, and social media literally rewires our brains. It severely impacts our attention spans. Our brains become trained to grab our phone and receive digital stimulation every time there is the slightest lull in our day. We train ourselves to become mentally incapable of just sitting and not receiving stimulation, even for a very short period of time. There were countless times this afternoon where there would be a lull in conversation and my hand, almost as if by muscle memory, reached for my phone to check social media. Now that I’m home by myself, it is incredibly tempting to hop on and scroll for an hour or two…or more. I have convinced myself that it’s the only way to unwind and rest my mind. I do not want technology having that kind of stronghold over me! I am determined to retrain my brain, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to place social media at the correct priority level in my life, to use it appropriately, and to not let it be an idol. I do intend to allow myself to break the fast tomorrow, but I am going to adhere to the guideline I decided on yesterday: No social media in the morning hours. I also plan to cut down on the amount of time I spend using it in general.
Don't leave yourself hanging! Keep your eyes open for the next post to see my thoughts from days three, four, and five!