Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Timeline of a Christian’s Journey: Engage 24 Boot Camp

Welcome to Engage 24 Boot Camp!

Engage 24 is a worldwide event designed for college students, yet applicable to everyone. On October 15, 2015, students will answer the call to engage their campuses and local environment for a full 24 hours with the gospel. Through prayer, intentional gospel sharing, and bold discipleship, these students plan to consecrate this day to embody God’s heart for the lost.

As you know, my husband and I are blessed directors of a local college ministry. To prepare for 10/15/15, I plan to share a few tips that have greatly helped my journey to understand my faith in Christ, and share it better with the world. First up: the Timeline of a Christian’s Journey.

timeline title

A few years ago, a gentleman in Ohio gave me a picture that was revolutionary to how I understood my faith. It redefined how I saw evangelism and discipleship, and equipped me to do both better. I wish I could remember the source he mentioned for this concept (if any of my readers recognize it, please let me know!).

The following is my representation of the timeline of a person’s journey to becoming a mature, flourishing Christian.

timeline of a Christians journey

The CROSS represents salvation. This is the moment the individual accepts Christ as his or her savior.

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

Every point before the “cross” represents a person’s life before Christ. The farthest point could symbolize the time before an individual had ever heard about God and His love for us. As a person hears the gospel, grows in curiosity, seeks answers by the leading of the Holy Spirit, he is stepping closer to that moment of salvation.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

Of course, in our unbelief before Christ, we go back and forth in our desire to know more about God. Our willingness to seek Him and our attention to His call in our lives can be spotty at best. Some go through seasons where someone is constantly praying for and inviting the individual to learn about faith in Jesus. Other times are characterized by the lack of spiritual intervention by loved ones. Obviously, this is not a linear process. Remember, the timeline pictures is simply a tool, not a definition, to understand a Christian’s journey.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

For some of us, the moment of salvation came very soon after hearing about Jesus for the first time. Whether we were 7 or 27, that moment is still just as significant for each person. For many of us, we understand the full depth of salvation some time after we become Christians. That is just a part of the Holy Spirit walking with us to grow in our faith.

Christian timeline two

The points after the cross symbolize the sanctification process: becoming more like Jesus. At salvation, a person’s identity has changed:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

The Holy Spirit now helps the individual’s lifestyle, thoughts, actions, hopes and dreams to change. That is sanctification:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

This sanctification is the “growing us up” into maturity:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:11-14

As with any living organism, we reach maturity when we are able to “reproduce.” In other words, the ultimate goal of the Holy Spirit is not just to make us Christians, but to make us Disciple-makers, like Christ was.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Once a person is able to “feed himself” spiritually, and begin to feed others, he or she can continue running the race with perseverance till the day God calls us home:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. Philippians 3:10-15

This “timeline” will be a helpful tool as we explore the difference between evangelism and discipleship, the importance of prayer, and what it truly means to be a Christian. Engage 24 is right around the corner. Prepare yourself with greater understanding of the above Scriptures, to impact your sphere of influence for Christ.

Use #engage24bootcamp to share this post and connect with others who are gearing up for 10/15/15!

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In Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis: The Savior, the Spoiled, and the Sanctified

I sit in my quiet living room, overwhelmed by my wealth. My babies are napping peacefully (for now). I am safe. I am dry and warm, but not too hot thanks to air conditioning. I live in a 3 bedroom, 2-bath house, with a spacious living space, and a 2 car garage and countless amenities. Our neighborhood even has an HOA (Home Owners Association) to help maintain our standard of living.

At a recent HOA meeting, I realized how important peoples homes are to them. With stocks down and investments failing, our neighbors are desperate to maintain their property value. In many ways, they consider it their last hope.

I left the meeting feeling sorry for these individuals. They do not have hope for eternity like I do. I know my hope rests in Christ, and my final home is in heaven, not this sunny hill in northern Wyoming. Feeling quite abstemious, I sat down to unwind, thanking God for liberating me from such materialism. I know I am blessed, but I don’t cling to my blessings like others do…

As I scrolled through social media, a reoccurring theme captured my attention: Syria. Isis. Refugees. Lifeless children washed up on a beach. Pictures and news articles of the largest refugee crisis since WWII. A great call for people across the globe to open their homes and welcome the stranger.

refugee crisis

And it hit me. I don’t want to welcome a stranger. This is my safe place. This house is where our family can unwind together. This is where my kids can sleep in peace and I can find sanctuary. We host dinners and movies for broke college kids here, how could we do that ministry with another family taking up space?

Oh, how my heart broke at my own proclivity to selfishness. Moments earlier I touted such self-righteousness compared to my neighbors. Now, with the reality of thousands of homeless families, dying children, before my eyes, I am the one clinging to my home, rather than to Jesus.

I realize I am spoiled. Rotten.

And in my quest to refocus on Gods best, I understand I need to change my perspective of my wealth, my home. Unfortunately, my first inclination is to respond to a personal sense of self-righteousness, rather than the Holy spirit’s actual conviction.

In my pride, I assume I have to be the savior. A self-propelled guilt says I should give everything I own to save the world. I must sacrifice my comfort, my health, and those of my family, to go above and beyond to change this planet for the better. Glory to Me!, I mean, glory to God…

The Holy Spirit helps me realize this extreme view is also wrong. God does not overwhelm me with wealth, safety, beautiful children, a strong marriage, and an able body just so I can sit and enjoy it all. However, He also does not overwhelm me with such wealth so that I can personally save each soul and needy child on earth. My pride would love such drama and accolade, but that is not God’s idea of obedience.

God does not expect us to be the saviors, but he also does not call us to be the spoiled. As my husband always says, “you can be spoiled, but you cannot behave spoiled.” I think the sweet-spot between these two extremes is God’s calling for us to be sanctified.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

To be sanctified means to be set apart, to be different from the rest of the world, to be made holy. By accepting Jesus as Savior, my identity is now considered holy because of Christ in me. However, my actions, thoughts, and life-patterns still sometimes look more like my human self, rather than Jesus. Thus, the Holy Spirit engages me in the process of sanctification. It is slow, and takes time. But I can participate by working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). And I choose to do so now with regards to the refugee crisis.

I begin by praying for God’s perspective; how does He see this situation? I know God is big enough to comfort each broken heart and torn apart family. I prayerfully proclaim His sovereignty over the country of Syria. I petition God to convert “Sauls” of Isis into great evangelists of salvation through Jesus, as He did for Paul in the book of Acts. I pray for the hearts and homes of Christians in Greece and Turkey to be open to offer help and hospitality.

The Spirit leads me to read Isaiah 58 to further redefine my idea of what it means to cling to Jesus, not my home:

5  Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord?

6  Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke?

7  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?

8  Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard.

9  At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking,

10 and if you offer yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted one, then your light will shine in the darkness, and your night will be like noonday.

Shane and I have begun the process of making our hearts refugee-ready. We are brainstorming ideas to make our home, our budget, and our family refugee-ready as well. Adoption, financial donation, foster care, volunteering, selfless prayers, and being a safe place for a hurting college kid are all ways we can embody hospitality. It might not feel safe or comfy, but we want lead our children in obedience to God’s standards, not the comfort of American standards.crisis pin

We aren’t ready yet, but God is sanctifying us in that direction. Whether in the crisis of invasion or drought or simple brokenness of a sinful word, we want to be remembered by our open arms like Jesus was.

For more information on how you can become refugee ready, visit WeWelcomeRefugees.com

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Redesign the Schedule: Refocus Challenge Week 5

redesign the schedule

These past 5 weeks have given me much-needed perspective and focus. The season has turned, and we are fully launched into the fall semester/season of ministry and family life. With the truth of my identity in Christ fully remembered, and the purpose for my life in full focus (to know God more intimately in every moment), I am equipped to redesign the ever flexing schedule into something that works for our goals, rather than against them.

Instead of filling up my weekly calendar with tasks and appointments I’ve been doing all year, I gave myself a blank page to work from priorities up. I kept this process very simple:

Step 1: List the Important. After praying for God’s wisdom and processing with Shane, I compiled my list of needs, responsibilities, and joys:

  1. Spending time with God
  2. Loving my husband
  3. Raising my kids
  4. Optimizing our home as a sanctuary
  5. Mentoring my disciples
  6. Engaging in healthy community
  7. Flourishing (stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally)

redesign the schedule pin itStep 2: Brainstorm details. These are the “how” to spend time accomplishing the important:

  1. Spending time with God >> quiet time, prayer, church worship service
  2. Loving my husband >> Weekly date nights, stay home on weekend mornings
  3. Raising my kids >> pray, engage in their play, add activities/outings, be present!
  4. Optimizing our home as a sanctuary >> clean, cook, plan
  5. Mentoring my disciples >> lead girls Bible study, occasional discipleship coffee date
  6. Engaging in healthy community >> women’s Bible study, work out classes, friend dates
  7. Flourish >> work out, healthy meals, reinforce life-givers, sleep

Step 3: Calendar it. Starting with the priorities, I designed a daily routine and weekly schedule that will promote a lifestyle of focus on Christ.

I tried to leave plenty of margin for spontaneity, and will fight for flexibility when our schedule needs to bend to our needs. I really appreciate having some structure to guide (not dictate) how I spend my time. I am praying this design will optimize my relationship with God and others, increase my intentionality with the kids, and give me room to say YES to the things of God.

Thank you for joining me for the 5 Week Refocus Challenge. It’s time to start LIVING FOCUSED. Feel free to revisit any of the challenges as you walk confidently with God into this new season.

With joy,

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Renounce the Rush & Retake the Space: Refocus Challenge Week 5

 

renounce rush pin itRenounce the Rush

We often don’t hear the voice of God when we are serving the voice of busyness. In her book, The Best Yes, Lisa Terkeurst comments: “A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule with often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.” I plan to reconstruct my schedule to work FOR my best (God’s best), not against my desire to flourish. I’m making room in my schedule to be still with God, spend quality time with my family, and fuel my soul with life-givers. A family friend calls this our “sanctified no” space.

Reading Priscilla Shirer’s Breathe has propelled me to factor in margin, or “white-space” in my plans. In my dapples with graphic design, I have learned that white space is one of the most important elements of a presentation. White-space clears out distractions so the focus stays on the main idea of the poster or book cover.

In the same way, I believe white space in my schedule will help me focus on the main goals God has for me. White space is not the leftover hours that don’t get filled. I plan to schedule intentional “white space” in my calendar this season.

In the next few days, I plan to take inventory of each hour of the week. Is the way I spend these hours honoring God by drawing me closer to Him, and serving in the way He want’s me to serve? (More on this later in the week).

renounce the rush

Retake the Space:

This renouncing of clutter can apply to our physical spaces as well as our schedules. Inefficiency is oozing all over our home (and car!). This distracts me from intimacy with God. It provokes ungratefulness and over-accumulation. I’m not using what He’s already provided, and worse, I’m withholding generosity from our wealth of stuff and space. Does anyone else sense this need to unpack the unnecessary? It’s time to retake our space!

As with the schedule, taking inventory of each room and closet in our home will generate a grand refocus for our home’s true purpose.

  1. For each item and every space, I’d like to ask: is this serving it’s purpose? Some rooms are not arranged to their fullest potential. Some cupboards are not fulfilling the goal of organization. Much of our closet is dedicated to housing unfolded laundry and worn out shoes.
  2. I will upcycle, donate, or trash anything that is not a “yes” to the above question.
  3. For my clothes, I plan to wear EVERYTHING once over the next month (ok, not my wedding dress). This is the best weather for tanks+cardigans and sweaters with shorts, so I really can wear each item in my closet. If I can’t bring myself to wear a shirt or dress, I will muster the courage to move on by donating it.

I must not that retaking our space is different than week 2’s idea of resetting home base. I recommend reseting home base first (perhaps weekly?) before trying to take back the space for it’s best use and efficiency.

By initiating a grand take over of our time and space clutter, perhaps we can stimulate a much-needed de-cluttering of our minds as well.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.

Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (Amplified Version)

Lord,

I am humbled that you provide such wealth of time, space, and stuff in my life. I am ashamed by my misuse of and lack of gratefulness for it all. Please forgive my poor attitude and lackadaisy. Give me wisdom to embrace each blessing you provide—the time in my day, relationships in my life, and the stuff in my home—and honor you with it!

Thank you Jesus for making this possible

Amen

Week 5 Challenge:

  • Monday: Take inventory of the important things in your life. Put the list on your fridge/bathroom mirror and commit to prioritize these things. Post a picture of your list on instagram with #reprioritizingtheimportant and #5weekrefocuschallenge
  • Tuesday: Figure out what immediate things tend to steal your attention from the important (these might be similar to time-wasters). Set a strategy to ignore them.
  • Wednesday: Take a hard look at your schedule. Is there any breathing room? Any quiet time? Write down any distractions and pray about how to renounce the rush.
  • Thursday: Unpack the unnecessary in your home. Make a list of each room (each closet should have it’s own line item). And brainstorm ways to conquer the list a little at a time.
  • Friday: Check back here to Redesign your Schedule.

Check in:

How do you plan to de-clutter your schedule or your space?

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Reprioritize the Important: Refocus Challenge Week 5

reprioritizeDo you ever feel like the day just got away from you? Its the end of the day, but you have to make sense of the chaotic covers on the bed you never got a chance to make that morning. The to-do list is looming over your head, with hardly as many check marks as you’d hoped for. Your stomach is growling because, whoops, you forgot to eat dinner. Yet you know for a fact you did not spend your whole day twiddling your thumbs, right?

When I come to the end of my day, the time to clock out and let God be sovereign as I become unconscious, I like to have that feeling of accomplishment. That my day counted in a way that honors God, serves my family and community, and fulfills me, sanctifies me, and satisfies me. Unfortunately, that feeling is rare.

Proverbs gives an example of a woman who has such a confidence:

She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Proverbs 31:17-21

I believe this woman experienced confidence in her work and home life because she prioritized the important. So many of us can’t prioritize room or time for the important things in our life because we are busy attending to the immediate. You know what I’m talking about:

reprioritize list

The important isn’t always a “big” thing either. I think distraction of the immediate also leads to disobedience to God in the little things. too. “Miraculous power comes through mundane faithfulness,” is a quote that has deeply impacted my life this year. As I read the Bible, I realize that most stories focus on the epic moments in a person’s life, not the mundane faithfulness that led to those moments. If I am going to honor God with my everyday life, I must learn to live between the lines of epic.

It’s not just about going through the motions; its about knowing God through the motions. Reprioritizing the important provides that sense of accomplishment and fulfillment I crave. All I did today was crawl on the floor wrestling my babies. I sang and spoke and rhymed colors and shapes like a broken record as they completely ignored me (or so it seemed). I tucked them into bed, praying for God to grow them into a strong man of honor and a graceful woman of compassion.

reprioritize and pin itTHESE MOMENTS are my “important.” They are important because God says so, and because they are fleeting. I didn’t publish a book, write a non-profit grant, or design an anti-cancer drug. Those important things are for someone else or some other time.

I don’t want to ignore the power, the adventure of every day living. I don’t want to humdrum through each day waiting for the weekend. I don’t want to surrender significance in exchange for survival. I want to reprioritize the important.

Will you join me?

Week 5 Challenge:

  •  Monday: Take inventory of the important things in your life. Put the list on your fridge/bathroom mirror and commit to prioritize these things. Post a picture of your list on instagram with #reprioritizingtheimportant and #5weekrefocuschallenge
  •  Tuesday: Figure out what immediate things tend to steal your attention from the important (these might be similar to time-wasters). Set a strategy to ignore them.
  •  Wednesday: Check back for the next post.

Check in:

What is one important thing you want to reprioritize in your life?

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Rejuvenate with Purpose: Refocus Challenge Week 4

Rejuvenate with purposeThe last couple of years wreaked havoc on my body. In November 2013, just a few short months after I started getting a handle on my health, I got pregnant with twins. My body conceived, carried, gave birth to, and nourished through 12 months of breastfeeding my precious Titus and Evangeline. Dedicating my body to such a task has been a great joy, and also a great sacrifice.

The babies are now toddlers, and the responsibilities for my body have changed. Instead of rest, extra calories, and snuggle time, I now need to have greater strength, endurance, speed, and alertness. It’s time to restore my health and fitness. It’s time to rejuvenate with purpose!

Since I can’t seem to stick with my goals unless I give them them titles and nicknames, I have created Becky’s Better Body Plan. The plan is to have a body that feels better, looks better, and functions better for the season God has for me to live. I am not going on a diet, nor am I criticizing the body I have. I actually like it. In fact, my husband loves it, my kids lived in it, and I have a decent time getting around with it. This Better Body Plan is not a response to some kind of internal hatred towards myself. Rather, because I love and am grateful for the body and life God has given me, I feel privileged to pursue greater health, strength, and perseverance.

Below are the specifics for my plan to rejuvenate my body for God’s purposes.

Since every persons body, life-stage, and circumstances are different, I DO NOT RECOMMEND my proposal as a prescription. However, I DO encourage you to read through my strategy, be inspired, and formulate your own. There are a few things I think we all could improve on for our bodies’ sakes, like drinking more water, improving flexibility, and activating a healthy heart rate. Spark more ideas and community by sharing your plan of attack with the #rejuvinatewithpurpose and #5weekrefocuschallenge hashtags on your favorite social media site! Here are my specifics:

Becky’s Better Body Plan 2015

  • Stretch each morning
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal
  • No snacking after 9pm (savor some tea instead!)
  • Eat something fresh (fruit or veggie) at each meal.
  • When you eat rich or indulgent foods, ENJOY them!
  • No legalism, only freedom to have a healthy body
  • Get moving 2+ times a week
  • Remain in God’s Word on a regular basis so I can also…
  • Prioritize mental health: agreeing with what God says about my body (and identity) over anything the scale, dress size, or mirror says:


My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying…

rejuvenate with purpose pin itDon’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Proverbs 3:1-2, 7-8

For many of us, having a healthy body is as simple as having a healthy relationship with God. Prioritizing His Word provides perspective on food, work, laziness, excess, and general health. We are able to enjoy a satisfying life in Christ when we hide His commands in our heart.

Kickstart!

To get in the mood to rejuvenate, I am kickstarting this healthy season with a a little bit of “treat yo-self” luxuries including:

1. A new hair style

2. Shopping spree with my bestie (with breastfeeding behind me, this mama needs some new bras!)

3. An at home Spa day. While Shane watches the kids, I get to pamper myself with candles, face masque, hair conditioning masque, a warm bath, a paraffin wax treatment, and a mani/pedi. The added bonus of a husband who gives killer back massages reminds me luxury is not only found at a fancy hotel spa. (However, a fancy spa gift-certificate is always an appropriate gift for a new mom…)

4. I am also giving my body a system cleanse (similar to a juice cleanse), which will provide a good foundation for my digestive health, and hopefully resolve my dairy issues (a complicated relationship since last October).

Its important for us to remember that rejuvenation is not just to increase our energy, feel younger, or freshen up our appearance. Even though I am finished physically nourishing my children, my body is still not just about me. Rejuvenating with purpose means we are agreeing with God’s prerogatives for our lives, and championing healthy bodies to meet those purposes.

Lord,

Give us grace to use our bodies for your purposes. Keep us healthy to do so to the best of our abilities. If health is not possible, give us strength to serve you in through the struggle.

Amen.

Week 4 Challenge:

  •  Monday: Take inventory of your life givers. Schedule sometime this weekend to enjoy one hour of a specific life-giving activity.
  •  Tuesday: Make a list of your time-wasters. Pick one to address this week (mine is FACEBOOK!).
  •  Wednesday: Clean up your social media tools to optimize your use of them (networking, family keep up, etc.)
  • Thursday (through the weekend): Spend some time enjoy your favorite life-giver with a friend, your family, or just by yourself (is that a novel idea for you?).
  • Friday: Make a Better Body Plan with your name on it. Strategize how you can keep up this plan through the rest of this season/semester.
  • Saturday: Kick start your rejuvenation with something special for your body. Share your “treat” with #rejuvenatewithpurpose and #5weekrefocuschallenge on instagram!

Check in:

What do you need most in your season to rejuvenate for God’s purposes?

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How to Hide Pages from your Facebook Newsfeed

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 3.48.06 PM

Today’s post is a special application to the 5 Week Refocus Challenge. In the last post, we tackled the idea of taking inventory of our life-givers and time-wasters. One thing I found to be poorly serving me is Facebook. I often defend my devotion to Facebook, claiming its sufficiency as a tool for social connection. However, I’ve noticed it is now a big bulletin board for things people find interesting (I already have an app for that called Pinterest).

If I see another FB article using cheap attention-getting tactics like “This man opened a door, you’ll never guess what happened next!”, I think I will pack up my family and move to a remote cabin on a mountain somewhere, then I’ll make a blog post about it titled “She moved her family to the mountains, and you’ll never guess where”, and when you open the blog post, it will say, “never, ever. The End.”

Seriously, it’s getting obnoxious. I realize as a blogger, I want people to share my blog posts. But I am completely ok if friends and family want to just know about my life, not my interests. So, as a courtesy, I pledge to only post about personal life happenings on my personal profile. No more interests (see my pinterest profile for that). No more blog posts (follow my blog-page for that).

I realize that every human being is not interested in compartmentalizing Facebook as I am. There will always be another Buzzfeed article or Bestvine to clutter my connection with actual humans. Therefore, in order to use Facebook for its purpose (at least in my opinion) to build relationships, I found a way to hide everything else.

hide fb page

I make a habit to do this simple clean-up exercises every time I scroll through Facebook. It doesn’t take much time, and it is somewhat cathartic. If I am really interested in a page or article, I will find it on the internet or pinterest. Facebook actually has an algorithm that shapes my feed, often favoring pages, and ads over friends’ posts; its all based on my clicks, so I don’t even click on those any more! Since “hiding” them, I haven’t seen anything from buzzfeed or vines anymore, however there is always another page promoting something.

It takes diligence to clear up the feed, but it’s worth it. Now, I can scroll through and focus on relationships.

However, even focusing on relationships can fail to serve its purpose. My husband preached a message in our youth ministry a few months ago about God’s omniscience (that God knows all things, about everything, at all times). Shane said we often “play god” through social media (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Newspaper apps, etc.), pursuing the need to be omniscient about everyone. Convicted, I resolved to use social media apps as tools for connection, not a means of control and presumed-omniscience.

In order to ensure that social media serves it’s purpose, Shane and I decided to build boundaries on when we utilize screen time. The main parameter we set up was no screen time in bed. I do not use it to “wake up” in the morning, nor to “wind down” before sleep at night. (Who am I kidding anyway, it never works that way.)

By purging Facebook of distractions, and by limiting screen time, I believe I have recaptured the beauty of media as a tool for appropriate connection.

Week 4 Challenge:

  •  Monday: Take inventory of your life givers. Schedule sometime this weekend to enjoy one hour of a specific life-giving activity.
  •  Tuesday: Make a list of your time-wasters. Pick one to address this week (mine is FACEBOOK!).
  •  Wednesday: Clean up your social media tools to optimize your use of them (networking, family keep up, etc.)
  • Thursday-Saturday: Spend some time enjoy your favorite life-giver with a friend, your family, or just by yourself (is that a novel idea for you?).

Check in:

How has the 5 Week Refocus Challenge helped you reclaim your social media space?

Share your progress by adding this post to your personal Facebook or twitter feed: 

“I’m reinforcing life-givers by cleaning up my Facebook feed! #reinforcinglifegivers #5weekrefocuschallenge @campfiregrace.com”

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