Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fall Projects

This fall I have working on two life projects with the help of a mentor who is coaching me. One of them is jumpstarting my career as a foot care nurse and the other one is growing my relationship with God. This week something happened that could lead me on a path to discouragement and despair, but thankfully I think I will learn from this event and grow by it. My coach pointed out that were this to happen two years ago, I would have been a basket-case, but that I am not at all the same person I was then. This encourages me that I am making steady progress and that I should not give up. The night is always darkest before dawn.

The passage in "Jesus Calling" yesterday really spoke into my situation: "Leave outcomes up to me. Follow Me wherever I lead, without worrying how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Me as your Guide and Companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Me. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with My help. When we come to a resting place, take time to be refreshed in My Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Me" (Sarah Young, 338).

Just what I needed to hear as someone who finds a lot to worry about. I am glad Jesus is with me to be my guide, even if sometimes I don't really want to climb that cliff. Living in the now and focusing on the path just ahead of you, instead of worrying what will happen in your future life, is good advice, but it is hard to do. The message to leave the outcomes up to God, gives me a sense of peace and calm, even in the midst of times of turmoil and uncertainty.

I find that as I listen, I do hear God's voice and my relationship with God becomes based less on fleeting emotion and more based on trust and assurance. In the past couple of weeks I have worked on breaking wrong thought patterns, a work in progress which involves recognizing lies you have believed and replacing them with truth from scripture. I have also been attending more times of corporate prayer and Immanuel sessions this fall. Immanuel sessions are times when you, guided by a coach, seek a connection with Jesus in which you can hear his voice and find out what he wants you to know. He might take you to a place or memory that will help you resolve a recurring pattern in your life, or he might just tell you that he loves you, as many times as it takes you to believe it.

I will close with a passage from Psalm 27:13-14 which is referenced in "Jesus Calling" for November 19 and which inspires and encourages me in my journey this fall:
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living, Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fasting From Facebook

I have left Facebook for an extended period before and I have also blogged about it previously here. Essentially I am addicted to Facebook. Some people might be able to use it casually as a useful social networking tool, using it to schedule face time with friends, or to connect with long lost pals, or to answer the burning question whatever happened to Mary-Lou. But that's not how I have been using Facebook, and some days I was logging in more than 30 times. I had to read all my news feed and some of my Facebook friends who I barely knew when they were my university classmate I now "knew" from their frequent status updates and photos. It wasn't that I was an obsessive lurker of profiles, but if it was in my feed chances are I had read it or seen it. I didn't comment a lot on threads, and I usually only posted a status update once a week and liked several posts or pictures daily. At least that's how it's been lately. There was a time when I posted and commented and liked much more frequently.

It wasn't merely the frequency of my logging into Facebook or the time wasted that is problematic, it is the envious feelings that Facebook helps to provoke. Seeing so many of my peers settled into a life, mother to two or three or four children, happily married for three to ten years, made me dissastified with my single, childless life. Seeing one former classmate land position after position, juggling multiple nursing jobs and advancing in her career, made me feel sadly inferior. Why couldn't I simply be happy for these friends and why must I compare our circumstances? Jealousy had become like a sickness for me and Facebook was assisting its viral spread.

I was well aware of my unhealthy addiction to Facebook and the issues of envy and discontent with my life that it was compounding. So when I received the message "get rid of Facebook" during a time of prayer, while sitting in a church sanctuary, I knew who was asking and I knew why. I told God I would wait until I had finished my current Scrabble games and then I would deactivate my account. In the meantime I continued to use Facebook much as before, and started to wonder if I had really heard from God to remove Facebook from my life. I rationalized and equivocated, but I knew that I needed to follow the directive. So today I began my Facebook fast. I realize that I have issues I need to deal with that go far beyond an addiction to Facebook. However it is the first necessary step in a detoxification process. The duration of the fast and whether I can eventually be a casual user of this social networking site again I don't know.