Why I Have Given Up The World
Why I Have Given Up the World
1) The world and all of the things in the world are worthless.
- Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
- I have found that all of the things of the world; its glitter and baubles of enticement are worthless. The TV shows only bring empty and fleeting entertainment and hours of wasted time. The lusts of the world don’t satisfy, and only end in pain and disappointment. The mountains of books promising happiness by such-and-such new method only give a short-lived surge of excitement…until you realize that happiness is much harder to grasp than the book made it sound. The blasting music only drowns out the sweet songs of the birds and separates us from our friends and family. The careers we so highly esteem can be good and can be used for good, or (and most of the time this is the case:) will sap all energy and time from you as the money you make evaporates and your kids grow up and you’re still in the same rut, just living to pay the bills. The gadgets all do the same thing: help you waste more time with things that don’t matter – only, the latest ones look cooler, and of course you must spend more money to always have the hottest new gear. The car gets dented or breaks down, and you end up being enslaved to it – sinking more money into it than it’s worth for repairs, insurance, gas, upgrades, etc.
- All the things of this world, when pursued themselves just for the sake of having them or doing them sap all life, joy, and fruitfulness from our lives. They are unfruitful and deadening. It’s the never-ending cycle of so many lives, and I have tasted of these things and lived my life in the pursuit of them and found them sorely lacking – as have many others.
- So why then do so few people turn from them? Why do so many continue to waste their lives always wishing and hoping to do something different and worthwhile, but they remain enslaved to all of the utterly unfruitful works of darkness?
- Because of fear. Most of these people do not trust God’s goodness and ability to sustain them enough to actually take a step like quitting the job or giving up the TV. They are afraid they’ll be left destitute or homeless, or that they’ll just be bored etc. The devil tells us all these things because he knows that the moment we start actually seeking the Lord and desiring to serve Him, there will be good fruit…and he wants none of that to happen.
- Also, many people just love the thrill that movies or a new car or a new boyfriend give them, and they don’t actually want to give up those things. They assume that spending time with the Lord are boring, or too hard, or that it’s just not as “exciting” or “fun” or “rewarding” as reading the latest romance novel or being able to buy the things they want as soon as they want them etc.
2) The world and all of the things in the world are death for our souls.
- Romans 8:5-8 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
- 1 Peter 2:11 says, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
- I didn’t realize it at the time that I was participating in many worldly things (and, for the most part, enjoying it), but my soul was shriveling up inside of me. Spending time with God was pretty low on my priority list (though I wouldn’t have said it), and there were many days when I never got around to it because I was too busy doing other things, or there were days when I just skimmed over a chapter of the Bible or spent a few minutes in prayer because I felt like it was my “duty”. Deep inside, I wanted to be a “good Christian”, but was so frustrated that I never seemed to be really “connecting” with God or gaining insight into the Bible. I couldn’t seem to understand it. But now, looking back, I can see that it was because I was so distracted by so many other things – things that seemed “fun” or “important”…movies, books, music, personal goals, dreams, ideas, projects, friends, etc. I couldn’t connect with God because I was connected to so many other things. I couldn’t live for God rightly because I was living for everything else, and putting everything else first, just like the world said I should. My spirit was dying, and it got to the point where I didn’t even try to fight against the passions of my flesh anymore because they had become such a part of me that to kill them seemed like it would have been killing me, myself. And it would have been, because I had become those things and began finding my identity in them instead of in Christ.
3) The Lord Himself asks us to give up the world in order to serve Him; he knows its perils and dangers. And the world goes directly against everything God is and everything He stands for; we cannot be both friends with God and the world.
- 1 John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
- Luke 14:33 says, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”
- Luke 18:29-30 says, “And he said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
- James 4:4,8 says, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wished to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God….Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
- I know Jesus’ heart, and that it is completely good. He knows that I can’t fully serve Him if I’m distracted by worldly things, and He knows that if worldly things get a grip on me, they will slowly pull me down the way of destruction. I’ve seen that process happening in my own life already (and the lives of many people I’ve met), and I do not want to become “lukewarm” or indifferent to the things of God. And, personally, I don’t want to have anything to do with anything that is opposed to God or which hurts Him. I’d much rather be His friend than a friend of the world, who people of the world highly esteem…and if I have to choose, I’m choosing my Savior and King. I don’t want to base my life and efforts around things that will just pass away – I want to invest in eternal things. I want to be Jesus’ disciple, and if that means renouncing all of my worldly comforts, then that is what I must do, and nothing less. For the sake of Christ and to be near Him, nothing is too great to surrender. And if He asks it of me, I know if must be for my good, even if I don’t fully understand it yet.
4) What you sow, you will reap.
- Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
- If I am daily imbibing the dregs of worldly media; if I am filling my mind with songs that speak of sinful lusts and passions as being good and acceptable and attractive, if I am watching violent movies with anger and hatred and revenge emanating from them , or if I am watching movies where mocking God or mocking morals or praising immorality or making a joke out of vulgarity is accepted…then what will be the result? This is the result (and I am not speaking hypothetically): My mind will be filled with all of these things all day long, even if/when I go to spend time with the Lord, these things will make themselves comfortable and quite at home in my thoughts. And not only will these things take root in my heart, but they will begin to cloud my sense of God’s standards, and I will begin to do, say, and accept things that I wouldn’t have before. Things become fuzzy, and sin begins to become acceptable in small (or sometimes not-so-small) doses. If you put garbage into your heart, garbage comes out.
- But I desire to be wholly God’s, to have a pure heart, and to act in a way that is a delight to His heart. I want thoughts and songs and quotes about Him and His beauty and holiness and goodness to fill my heart and mind. So then, what must I do, if what I sow, I will also reap? I must turn from all that is contrary to God and a distraction from Him, and instead, begin filling my mind with what is pure and beautiful and worthy of praise in God’s eyes. If I want to reap eternal fruit, I must sow to the things that are eternal…and if I don’t, I shouldn’t be expecting to reap any eternal fruit – it’s as simple as that.
5) Nothing in the world compares to knowing and serving Christ, and seeing the glories of His kingdom!
- Paul says in Philippians 3:7-9a, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him…”
- Matthew 13:44 says, “‘The kingdom of heaven in like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’”
- When you begin to look at everything apart from Christ as rubbish, and gladly give up all that you have and that you had previously treasured in order to gain Christ and the surpassing worth of knowing Him and the beauties and delights of His kingdom, it just all makes sense. It makes sense when you have tasted of the fullness of Christ. It makes sense when you have gotten a glimpse of the treasures of His kingdom and the Celestial City. When you have drunk of the pure, clear, cool, refreshing springs of Living Water, how can you go back to the slimy, polluted cesspool of the world and drink from it?? And why would you want to? I have come to see and know for a certain that the glories of Christ far surpass any shallow, man-made adventure film or mystery novel or popular band or pile of paper money. None of it comes even close to the beauty and life and joy found in my Lord – and even on my worst day, His companionship is sweet beyond words, and I gladly leave all of it behind if I might gain more of Him, and even if that were the only reason, it would be enough.
6) I have been preceded by amazing men and women of God who have given all – even their very lives – for the Lord. Who am I to think I can obtain this treasure of greatest worth by clinging to all my fleshly desires and just “sliding in” to heaven? Let it not be so!
- Hebrews 12:1-4 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
- How can it be that so many great men and women have gone before me – both in Biblical times (many who are listed in Hebrew 11) and throughout more recent years (thing of the martyrs of the early church, the martyrs in China, Adoniram Judson, Mary Slessor, Gladys Aylward, the Goforths, Brother Yun, etc etc) who have given up everything for the sake of the Lord, for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of their eternal treasure….and yet we think we can have to Lord and all of our idols and personal comforts too; that we can have an earthly mound of treasure and fulfilled desires and still expect to find an eternal inheritance waiting for us, that we really cared nothing about until our dying day? These men and women have given up homes, families, comfort, personal dreams, worldly esteem, health, time, and even their lives for the Lord, and in order to not forsake His name, and in order to make His name known to others…and yet, we expect to be able to slide into heaven still holding onto our flatscreen TV and our perfect careers, where we have made a name for ourselves in the world.
- What does God think when he sees us whimpering over not being able to give up our Twilight books, or our favorite pop band to serve Him and/or spend more time with Him, when He sees all the martyrs and those who, at this very moment are being tortured because they love Him so much that they would give up anything and everything before they would every even think of renouncing Him? And yet, we renounce Him for far lesser things every day. And what about the great cloud of witnesses who had the faith to trust God and do His will no matter what the personal cost was – what do they think when they watch us clinging to every last straw of the world that we can? Their hearts must be torn in pieces, because they have loved the Lord with such a deep love, that to see our pettiness must cause them great pain.
- For this reason, I count nothing too much to give for the sake of following the Lord.
- “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)
- There may be many who argue against me and who say these things aren’t really important or necessary to follow Christ…or those who simply love the world too much to even consider what I’m saying as true. But as for me, this is the only way. The Lord is my life, and serving Him is all that matters to me in this life. He alone I have chosen to serve, and I, by His grace and strength, will not go back or turn aside to the world. How can I when I have beheld His beauty? I will not look back.
Through the Fire
Sometimes it happens that God will test us; He’ll send us through the fire of adversity to refine us, and He’ll give us a choice, and see what we do. Well…God brought me face-to-face with a choice 2 days ago, and it was actually one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, though outwardly it probably seemed like everything was fine, inwardly there was a battle going on of epic proportions. I will share it with you, as I refer to my journal, though it’s hard…but I’m sharing it because I believe that this might be able to give some of you a perspective that you’ve never considered before on certain things…because I know I surely hadn’t.
I will preface this tale by telling you that on Thursday I was struggling a lot with my own desires – especially the desire to have a relationship, to be married, and to have a family. It was a pretty much a constant struggle throughout the day, as I tried to take my thoughts and desires captive and give them to God – I was getting exhausted just trying to keep up with them!
Then the Petrofskys led a Bible study at the house of some acquaintances Thursday night. It was a really nice time, and the message was about the time in 1 Samuel, when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple of Dagon, and when the people woke up the next morning, the idol, Dagon, was on his face before the ark…and how our idols have to fall before the presence of the Lord in our lives. It was a really good study, and Mr. Petrofsky brought up some of the big things that become idols for most Americans, like success and entertainment. But I have heard these things multiple times throughout the last few months, and wasn’t particularly feeling like I personally was learning much of anything new. God has actually made it relatively easy (not a piece of cake, but not as much of a struggle as it is for some people) for me to give up worldly movies and music and worldly success, because none of those things has held a particularly strong hold on me, compared to the joys of the Lord.
However, toward the end of the Bible study, one of the guys asked Joel to share what they had been talking about earlier about what he foresaw as far as the direction of his own life…and Joel began sharing about how his whole life – all his plans, desires, and dreams are surrendered to the Lord completely……and in that moment, God was there beside me. He just suddenly opened my eyes and brought me face-to-face with the reality of what actually surrendering everything to Him could mean…and it was hard – really hard. He didn’t confront me about any of those things which I gave up without even much of a second thought when He asked me. He confronted me with the desires I have said I was surrendering to the Lord, but at the same time, holding onto the hope that my own desires were what God wanted for me, and not fully surrendering, or even really understanding what that truly meant. And, He confronted me with the very thing I had been struggling with so much that very day…which actually made what He was showing me even more intense.
I suddenly realized that if I actually completely surrender my desire for a relationship to the Lord, I am giving up having a lifelong closeness and intimate friendship with a guy, I am giving up ever having a first kiss or holding hands, I am giving up the security of having a husband to lead me and teach me and council me, I am giving up being able to serve God side-by-side with a husband, I am giving up having my own family………and all that is hard – incredibly hard, because my flesh wants it so badly. And it is doubly hard because I know that, despite all the joys of heaven, once I die, I will never again have the opportunity to be married, because things don’t work quite like that in heaven – so if I give it up on earth, I give it up for good. But I give it up for God.
And yet, I know that this realization does not mean that God will never let me be married. He may yet bless me with that. But God brought me to this place of realizing all of these things, so that the full weight of the reality of what He requires of me would fill me, and then He gave me a choice, so that I would not be surrendering in words only, but in truth. I had to choose. I had to choose if I would look back; if those things were more important to me than serving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, or if I truly love God more than life, more than my own dreams and my strongest desires. I believe God made this so clear to me and showed me the full picture so that I could make a fully informed choice.
I sat there for what seemed like hours, though it couldn’t have been…but I was wrestling with my own desires, with what God was showing me, and with all the pleasures the devil was laying before me. It felt like a tidal wave was pounding over me…and yet, as the roaring filled my ears, and the immense power nearly swept me off of my feet, God filled my mouth with the words, and my heart with the determination, and I said, “Yes. Yes, Lord, I will follow you no matter what it means. I will give up my life for you. All I am is yours. It’s impossible for me to go back, or to live only mostly surrendered to you. Take my life, Lord, and use it in any way you can – any way you choose. It’s all yours.”
So, it was a very sobering night for me…and the past couple of days I have been in a rather serious state of mind. But at the same time, I am rejoicing that the Lord caused my heart to be able to say “yes” to Him in the midst of the strongest of desires and dreams and doubts pulling at my heart.
I don’t know where the Lord will use me, or how…but I know that He is my Beloved, and there is nothing and no one else in this world that could ever be more worthy of my love and my life. There can be no turning back. And even if God does ever bring me into a marriage relationship, it must all be for His glory, and not for myself…and it can never be more important to me than Him.
O Lord, I pray that you would take this insignificant life of mine, and these petty desires that mean so much to my flesh, and use it - use me – to bring glory to your name.
But you know what the most special thing is? Jesus himself has called us – each of us – to follow him by name. That is amazingly special; that He himself has called us and set us apart for himself. May we live in a manner that is pleasing to Him. And may we serve Him with a joy that is befitting the amazing grace He has shown us, and the privilege He has given us of serving Him, and being used by Him.
And if you have any questions, feel free to ask away. )
“Take all I am, Lord
And all that I cling to
You are my Savior
I owe everything to
Take all the treasures
That lie in my storehouse
They cannot follow
When I enter Your house….
And I surrender all to You;
I surrender all.”
Love Like Death
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11 ESV)
* * *
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” (John 12:24-26a. ESV)
These are two scriptures that I read while in Canada…and they both hit me with a similar force on the topic of love…and, after meditating on them awhile, God gave me some clarity into the questions that arose in my mind: What is real love? And what does really loving someone mean?
The verses in 1 John, say that the definition of love is giving up your life for someone else…even if they don’t return your sacrifice, or appreciate it.
The verses in John 12 solidify the fact that, in order for our lives to bear much fruit, we actually have to die; to ourselves, our own desires, our own agendas, our own ideas of what comforts we want or “deserve” in this world…even dying to the false ideas that the world has given to us about what love looks like and what a “good” life on earth looks like! And then we have to give away what remains of our existences on earth to serve Christ…because we love Him…because we want others to love Him…and because anything else we do with our lives while on earth is meaningless in light of eternity. Whew! It’s no wonder that selfishness, in it’s various forms, has become widely accepted as the new “love”; the real thing is hard!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been praying that God would help me to love people like He loves them; giving up my life for them – whatever that may mean for me (whether in “small”, daily sacrifices, or even actually giving up my life). And that He would reveal more of the truth of what love really is to me, and teach me how to display that love to others. I’m still a work-in-progress. haha! And, like I said, really loving people (more than myself) is a hard thing. Something which I, in my human-ness am simply un-capable of on my own. BUT…fortunately, I have the BEST teacher in matters of love that EVER existed… (John 15:13)
I also found it interesting in verse 26, how it says, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” …because, at the point Jesus said this, he hadn’t yet gone to the cross. I realize that, in the latter half of the sentence, it’s possible that He is referring to heaven…however, when you look at this verse from the point of view that Jesus is speaking to some of His disciples, and He has yet to go through the torture and the humiliation, and the death which He knows is coming, it has a whole new gravity about it. Jesus is saying that if we truly love Him, we must follow Him wherever He leads…and that whatever He goes through, we must be willing to go through also. “…where I am, there will my servant be also…”- through the false accusations, the mockery, the torture, the shame, through all the suffering, and even through the crucifixion and death. BUT also through the resurrection, and the glory, and in the coming kingdom of heaven; wherever Christ has gone before us, there we will be.
So, ponder that for a while!
Which leads me to my next blog post…
But for now, “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”
This is a poem I wrote for an essay contest recently. It had to tell the “true story” behind the picture below. I opted to do a poem instead of the usual “essay” style. So we’ll see what happens. But I wanted to share it with you anyway.
Info: This poem is patterned after “The Lady of Shalott”, which I love to read aloud. I wanted to attempt this, because I thought it would be a unique and fitting way to present a story of medieval adventures; an idyll of sorts.
Cracked, leather binding, trimmed with gold,
Houses pages, worn and old;
Inside the cover, strong and bold,
Was lovely writing to behold:
“Do right and do not delay.”
Penned by a mother’s loving hand.
She prayed the readings she had planned
Would help her child to understand
The “dragons” that would come his way.
The little boy with sandy hair
Drew closer to his mother’s chair,
Imagining castles in the air;
The sturdy thread that held them there:
“Do right and do not delay.”
As he listened to the fable,
His daydreams took him to a stable
Which had been burnt and turned to rubble
By a dragon that very day.
A woman weeping in the ashes,
With tears upon her pretty lashes,
Cried, “All we own, the dragon crushes!
If you’re here to save us from his rashness,
Do right, and do not delay!”
“What can I do,” the child said,
“But seek to spoil the dragon’s head
Who leaves these people next to dead?
This beast has a debt to pay.”
“It will not be a simple thing
To find and kill a dragon king!
But heroes do, not just what makes them sing,
But when sorrow and pain cut and sting,
They do right and will not delay.”
So he set out upon his quest,
Determined he would do his best
To see the havoc was repressed
And to rescue the dragon’s prey.
‘Round a castle lay moat; rather wide.
There, picking flowers, a girl he espied,
When, suddenly, the dragon was at her side!
In its menacing glare, shaking, she cried,
“If my voice can be heard, do not delay!”
His heart leapt up into his throat,
As he threw aside his heavy coat,
But he jumped quickly into the moat;
He’d not expected to meet the dragon this way.
The beast glared with an angry eye
But the boy advanced – his sword held high.
The dragon growling at the sky
As the girl shuddered, a tear in her eye,
Whispering, “Do right…do not delay.”
And, quick as a wink, the job was done
Just when the dragon thought he’d won;
A moment’s distraction – it only took one –
‘Twas all he needed, this dragon to slay.
The girl’s father rushed to her side;
He was the king – the boy’s eyes grew wide!
He’d heard the commotion and had tried
To get there before an innocent died.
“Always do right, and do not delay,”
The king said; As the boy took a deep breath, or two,
The girl retold the tale of her rescue.
The king nodded, “Boy, for your virtue,
You will be knighted this day!”
“Son, are you sleeping?” a soft voice said.
The boy smiled at his mother, and shook his head,
“I was just daydreaming instead.”
“What did you learn from the story I read?”
“I must be a man, without delay;
And when evil arises, as it surely will,
I should not be afraid, but go in for the kill.
And in ordinary duties, though they mayn’t hold a thrill,
True heroes are too scarce – I will be one today.”
My Facebook Affair
It was great to talk to you the other day, about that stuff that was confusing me. I wish you were that clear all the time…and I didn’t have to just sit around and wait for you to say something for so long. I mean, there are so many other things I could be doing…I just can’t waste that much time. I’ve got to work on my book…and check facebook…and eat…and check facebook…
Oh, speaking of facebook, did you know that I’m going to marry Ashton Kutcher? Yeah, I was surprised at first, but I’m glad you made it so clear through the medium of facebook. Now I can google him and figure out who he actually is, and what he looks like without shades on…and find out how tall he is and where he likes to eat, so when I meet him, he’ll be floored.
And of course, you noticed how I share Biblical truths through my statuses? Well, I mean, at least once a week or so. I’m guessing lots of people think I read the Bible like *all* day to find things that profound. I don’t of course, but as long as people respect me, and think highly of me, that’s all that really matters. But bringing you up between worrying about haircuts and taking trips to Wal-Mart totally makes it worth-while to keep facebooking. I mean, my status with that verse from the Bible that I chose…it could change someone’s life. Seriously.
And, of course, I want to be able to share with the whole “world” of people that I know when I at last enter into a courtship with someone!! I’ll want to show him off, and listen to all the admiring comments. It will make me feel happy, and it will satisfy that craving inside of me to please all those people….
…which is why I commented on those photos yesterday, with little to say but “lol” or “cuuuuutteee!”. It might not seem important to you, but at least I’m taking the effort to let all those people know that I’m here, if they ever need me.
I enjoy checking facebook every half-hour to see if anyone “likes” my newest status, or commented on those a-m-a-z-i-n-g pictures I posted! It’s so encouraging – it really boosts my self-esteem. And that video what’s-their-face just posted was HILARIOUS! Oh my goodness…I’m going to be so much happier today because of it!
And just…in general…facebook is SO amazing!!! It lets me take random quizzes, or write notes about what color socks I’m wearing just for FUN, when I have absolutely nothing else to do. And of course I only do those quizzes when I can’t think of a single other thing to do. That’s super, because otherwise I’d be like, totally bored out of my mind, which would just be terrible.
Oh…by the way, I’m really sorry that I forgot to pray for my one friend who was devastated about that situation, even though I told her I would. I just had too many other things on my mind, I guess.
And, could you help me to find the time to work on that stack of books I want to read? I can’t figure out why I don’t read as much as I used to. I used to read like a book a week, and now it’s closer to a chapter a week.
Also, I can’t seem to keep my concentration while I’m writing. I write a few sentences and then drift off. It’s been taking me forever to finish my last few chapters of my book. Can you help me to write better?
Well…I guess that’s all for now. I think someone just wrote on my wall – and I should probably reply so they don’t think I hate them.
What’s that? Oh. Yeah, I thought about giving up facebook once or twice…but I don’t want to let all those people I know down. Their very well-being depends on my facebook presence. Besides, if I leave, and then they want to get in contact with me, how will they do it? And if they write on my wall or send me a message, but I never reply, they’ll probably hold a grudge against me forever. I’d never be able to forgive myself. And I need to check up on all my friends, and what’s going on in their lives, because otherwise I’d be…like…on the outside, and I’d never know what they were doing, and I probably would actually have to ASK them, which would take up so much time un-necessarily!
Nope. I can’t see myself giving up facebook any time soon. But yeah, maybe I’ll talk to you more sometime later, if I have the time.
I just can’t understand why you feel so distant…
That was a rather dramatized, partly fictional, but also mostly real “conversation” above.
I’m leaving facebook. At least for a while. I’ve been telling myself that I was going to “not check it as often”. But that only lasts as long as I want it to. This time I’m de-activating my account. I saw that option existed a week or two ago when I almost did it, but then decided not to, for many of the reasons above. However, my will-power alone isn’t going to keep my from wasting my time. I need a more drastic change.
I will be gone at least until I have finished the rough draft of my book. I don’t know if I’ll be able to re-activate my account at that point if I want to, but right now I don’t really care.
Those of you who are my friends know how to get in touch with me in other ways than on facebook…so you’ll be fine. And those of you who don’t – I’m sorry, but I have come to realize that, when I’m spreading myself thin trying to be everyone’s friend, I’m really not being anyone’s friend.
The statement that finally convicted me the most is the one by John Piper, below.
Maybe by doing the hardest thing for me and completely stepping back from facebook – not just a little, but all the way…maybe if you’ve been having an affair with facebook, and placing God in a lower place, you’ll be convicted too. But it’s not just being convicted that matters. It’s doing something. Doing the hard thing.
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” ~ John Piper
P.S. I will still be “twittering” some. That takes a lot less of my time than facebook. So you can “follow” me at: http://www.twitter.com/taisophia if you so desire.
Big Sister Blessing – Part 2
Are You Trustworthy?
Also, be trustworthy…and make an effort to really know your brother/sister. (Who would tell someone their secret dreams if they knew it would be used against them somehow?) When a young man seeks to win a woman’s heart, he studies her – he becomes her “student” in a way (and vice versa). So why are we content to simply go through our lives with our siblings, and not really know them? This is something I’ve been seeking to grow in. Getting to know what my brother thinks about things, how he feels about things, his dreams, his fears, what he likes, what he doesn’t like etc. I think this can grow more difficult as you grow older and it seems like your lives are all going in separate directions. But prioritize this relationship and you will reap life-long benefits.
My only brother started cross country last year, and then ran track, then cross country again…and then he decided that he would join a swim team to keep in shape this winter. Between his schooling, sports, and other activities, it seemed like I never saw him! For months, I felt like I was an only child. Annoyed by this “neglect”, I even started putting up “walls” and ignoring him even when there was a chance share with him. But then I realized that maybe I needed to be more intentional. Instead of just hearing about sports meets and the people on his team, I would watch the races and meet the runners. Instead of dropping him off at swimming practice, I decided that I would stay and watch him swim, and on the drive home we could discuss what he learned, what he could work on to get better etc. And sometimes I have to just drop by his room (or wherever he happens to be), interrupt whatever he’s doing and just talk. J.R. Miller affirms:
“Why should not a brother make a confidante of his own sister rather than of any other? Why should not a sister look to her own brother for counsel, for protection, for advice, rather than to any other? Why should not brothers be proud to have their own sisters lean upon their arms? And why should not sisters be proud to look up into the faces of their brothers, and feel secure in the shelter of their manly love?….Brothers and sisters are each other’s natural keepers. If they fulfilled their duties in this regard, the one to the other, life would show fewer wrecks. They should shield each other. They should be an inspiration to each other in the direction of all noble thought and better life.”
Older Sister, Undercover CIA Agent
We should shield our siblings from the things that could cause them to stumble, corrupt them, or even destroy their faith. When I was about 5 years old, (my brother Ben around 3), our parents had a church meeting, and all of the kids were piled into a room to be entertained during the wait. It was someone’s brilliant idea to have us watch The Little Mermaid – a movie I knew in my little heart that we were not allowed to watch. Of course, my brother wanted to stay for it, he could barely have even been aware of any reasoning behind our parents not wanting us to watch it then…but as soon as it started, I grabbed him by the arm and marched right out of the room with him in tow. A small issue? Life is made up of mostly little things which shape us into the men and women we will become. By the grace of God, I have been able to shield him from other harmful things since– some bigger, and some even “smaller”. This requires quite a bit of alertness on our part – things can pop up from “nowhere”, even from within our own words and actions.
Be an inspiration to each other. Praise your siblings for what they’re good at, how you see God working in their life, and inspire them about their future. Brag about them, especially in front of their friends.
I also almost want to say to you young single ladies out there, that learning to love and cherish your brother is one of the best preparations for marriage (along with your daddy)…but I don’t know if that would quite do it justice, for it’s far more than just preparation for a future relationship. It’s the fusing of two kindred hearts forever. But there is much I think you will learn along the way that will indeed help you when a future suitor comes along.
Being a blessing as a sister requires prayer, patience, self-control, trustworthiness, and being intentional – among other things. Though it is work at times, it is a path that will certainly be blessed by God.
If you want to be further convicted (ha-ha), read the book “Homemaking” by J.R. Miller. (see quotes above) Don’t be deceived by the title – it’s more than just a book for girls who want to stay home, it contains a wealth of information on a variety of poignant issues.
And I just want to take this opportunity to say that it really has been a blessing being a big sister to Ben, my brother for almost 18 years. I am so thankful for him and for our friendship…and especially for the patience he has had for me all this time as I’ve messed up and made mistakes again and again. I love you Ben!!