Wednesday, September 8, 2021

being a light in a dark world

I came across a quote on Facebook this weekend that stopped me in my tracks. It perfectly explains how I've been feeling recently, but put into more eloquent words from Dave Willis, author and pastor. I'll share it here:

"Be careful with too much news. We're the first generation in all of human history who has 24/7 access to all the world's problems at our fingertips. Technology has outpaced the human capacity to handle the information. We weren't meant to process all the world's chaos; and when we try, it only creates stress, anxiety and frustration. Have an idea of what's happening in the world (and in your specific community), but also have peace in knowing that you can't solve the world's problems. Do what you can to love your family, serve your community and make a positive impact where you can, but sleep in peace knowing the rest is in God's hands."

Isn't that profound? I don't want to put these words on the pedestal that only the word of God deserves, but I had to read it several times and then I shared it on my Facebook page. I don't even get onto Facebook much these days, because my nerves cannot handle it, but it was worth the trip just to read that. Read it a few times for yourself if you need to, then come back and read the rest of my post.

As someone who suffers with anxiety, I want to encourage you in how you "do" social media, your blog or real life. I know that for myself, I've made my online presence individual to who I am and I try to use it all in line with my spiritual gifts. For instance, I am an encourager and I love to do that for people. You will not find political posts or world news when you search for me online. I personally feel like the world doesn't need one more opinion, even if your opinions are the same as mine.

I want to point most of all to Jesus, not current events. I want to share what spoke to me in my quiet time reading that day, I want to share ways you can spend time with Jesus, I want to share Him with anyone and everyone. I know that's not for everyone, and the Lord made us all different—what I like to do, you may not and vice versa. I just want to encourage you to think about what you share before you post/write/say it. I can't handle talking about things that are only political or having to do with the madness in our world today. If that's you, keep it up, but understand that not all of us can handle those conversations every single time we see you.

Also know that sometimes I do need to have conversations like this. Sometimes I feel like the world is just way too much and I need to vent a little to people who are like-minded. I do this often with my mom and with my best friend. They both know that when I say things, I'm up to my eyeballs with being tired and weary of what I see all around me.

Instead of participating in conversations like these, I will slip away quietly and go pray. I can't tell you how many times I walk away from conversations because it's hard for me to process all that is going on today. Prayer is not "all we can do"—it is by far the BEST thing we can do and it's become my reaction to all things news-related.

I've learned to stay off of social media more. I've read an insane amount of books in the last three months—thirty or so, and it's because my heart cannot handle being plugged in all the time. I haven't removed the apps from my phone yet, but that is my next step. I am on Instagram regularly, because it's mostly just sweet pictures and things that I love to see, like a nicely decorated home, puppies, laughing babies and beautiful architecture. 

I also learned quickly to stop watching all of the news. All of it. I rely on emails from trusted sources and some local people I follow on Instagram to keep me up to date on things going on. I assure you, if you ask me if I've heard such and such going on around me, my answer would mostly be yes. I can't look at all of this stuff all the time, though...I'm not burying my head in the sand as someone recently said to me, I'm choosing to not fill my mind on all that happens in and near my city. I can't, or I'd go insane! I'm not joking. 

I like to use my Facebook page to pray for people. I reached out to people last week and asked them how I could pray for them, and you'd be shocked at the amount of people who messaged me asking me to help them pray. It's always a privilege to be able to do that sort of thing and it's more of my preferred way of being on there. I also do pray for others when I see them post, or read of things going on in the world as I read a headline or something a ministry shares and asks people to pray. I believe in being resourceful in every area of life—this is one way I can do that. I have lots of missionary friends there and it's how I know how to pray for them regularly.

Here is a big one—I refrain from commenting on anything I see that I disagree with in the political world. Know that many of who I am friends with Facebook do not practice this—and I'm not being judgmental when I say that—I see what many of them say on posts with a lot of traffic. That is another thing I feel we could all benefit from considering when we make comments. 

I will say something when it goes against what I believe as a follower of Jesus, because I will always stand up for what the word of God says and why I believe the way I do. I will not back away from that, even if it's uncomfortable for me. That being said, this is where I need to grow a thicker skin. I don't love confrontation, but more and more, it's becoming necessary to stand up for what I believe in, as far as what the Bible says and what the world believes. I'm not saying that this will ever be easy for me, I know that it will not, but I will have to do it anyway. Without getting all doom and gloom here, the Bible tells us that things will get worse before they get better. There will be a day when we will see REAL persecution, my friends. 

I try to not "follow" people that I have to see on a regular basis, whose opinions and beliefs are vastly different than mine. Here is why—I need to love them! A couple of years ago when one of the girls I used to have in my small group while I helped in youth became more and more immersed in the ways of the world, I had to unfollow her on social media. She noticed this and asked me why I did that and I was completely honest with her—I told her that if I wanted to love her like Jesus tells me I need to, I had to stop seeing her Instagram posts. She may have gotten her feelings hurt, but now I know that she respects this about my honesty and it frees me to be able to reach out to her on occasion and tell her how much I love her and that I'm always praying for her—and I genuinely mean every word.

This also means that I have lots of people hidden, others I dearly love. I can't see all that and love them wholeheartedly—maybe you can and that's great! I'm very visual, though and I have a hard time forgetting things. I've done this with one of my son's best friends from youth. His life is vastly different now than it was then and I can't handle his new and prideful lifestyle, if you get my drift. This way, when we text occasionally, I can say that I love him with a pure heart and with no judgment directed at him on my end. Know that we do text every so often and I would say this to him as well, but he already knows that and loves me anyway. I love him, but I would never and COULD NEVER condone his lifestyle. 

Well, I think you get the point of my post, friends. I have days where I am on the struggle bus and I would appreciating seeing some fresh ideas on how to NOT let it all get to me. I pray this encourages you today! I'll leave you with one of my favorite verses:

Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9, ESV.

Thanks for reading! Love to all. ❤

8 comments:

  1. I agree and so well written! Keep being a light in this dark world!

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  2. It is so easy to fall into this trap we're in that's just causing so much more chaos with all the comments & all the information. Sad thing is - when you look at only one source for news, you're not fully informed & then of course you're going to but heads with someone else who is equally not informed. I've learned to not leave comments either ... & its hard. I want to voice my thoughts too... but it only causes stress in a relationsip so I type it out... get it out of my system & then delete it - LOL I am learning to stay away from it more though - it serves no purpose than to get my anxiety high.

    I appreciate this post as a reminder to focus on more important things

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  3. So well written and expressed (the quote in the beginning was really good but everything you wrote was equally good :)). I have such strong opinions and when I perceive voices of one side are being marginalized and misconstrued, it is hard for me to be silent. (In my defense, political science was one of my majors in college so politics has always interested me.) I have never been on FB but I am having some of the same issues you articulated with people I follow on IG whom I know in real life. My job is to love them... no matter how our opinions differ. Great post- keep up the good work. Your words make a difference!

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  4. You pretty much posted how I'm doing too. I enjoy the good stuff and try to ignore the rest. I watch no news. If I hear something on social media, I'll go look it up to see if it's true if I want to know. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'd be angry all the time. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Rebecca Jo- It is SO HARD. Sometimes everything seems so very hard. It's hard not to comment or listen/watch to the news. I have that struggle too- I don't know who to trust, so I search for more. That's a great idea to to type it out and then delete it. I've done that once or twice! Thanks for the encouragement, my friend.

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  6. Maria- thank you! I totally get that, I feel like mine are pretty strong as well, but my tendency is also to keep the peace. Poli-Sci would DEFINITELY explain some things. Ha! ;) Thank you for that encouragement, friend!

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  7. Cathy- Amen, sister. I would be angry all the time, too!

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