Tag Archives: relationships

What Are We To Do?

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What Are We To Do?

The world is messy right now and I’m struggling to find my voice.

By  nature, I’m a pleaser and always struggle with the notion that I might say the wrong thing, so often I remain silent. I think the biggest struggle I’ve had is with the radical differences of opinion between people I know, people who are in loving relationships with one another. And yet, there is tension.

I am craving a safe place. I want some rest. I know, there is hard work to be done and God’s people need to be about the business of reconciliation. As with most social issues, the answer is found in loving people the way that God loves. Unconditionally.

So this  morning, as I drink my coffee from a real cup, sitting in  my favorite spot…the smell of bacon cooking in the oven and the sight of my dear husband reading across the room, I remember that God has been speaking a word over me this year.

Rest. I don’t have to solve this problem today.

I began searching the Bible for verses about rest. On a day that I have much to do, I wanted to find a reason to linger in this sweet spot.

“And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace,
for his God had given him rest on every side.” – 2 Chronicles 20:30

Lovely verse, but I wanted to know more about this peace. I backed up and read the rest of the story.

Their current reality was the threat of a vast army. In fact, they had no hope of defense. Jehoshaphat led the people in prayer, one of the most simple, beautiful prayers I’ve ever read:

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

The words settle on my heart and I read on.

God answered; the people followed his instruction. They sang a simple chorus as they went about the business he called them to:

Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.

As they walked in obedience toward the battlefield, eyes on God, they made a startling discovery. Their enemy lay slaughtered in the valley below. The battle was over.

The human heart wants what it wants. It is a place of great deceit. I don’t trust mine. I’ll go with Jehoshaphat instead.  I find rest in this:

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army.
For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Whatever battle or struggle you are facing friends, it is his to fight. Walk forward in what he has called you to do, praising him for who he is and what he has already done.

He’s got this.

Resting by his grace alone,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship Status Update

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girl-925284_1280I was having coffee with a friend. We were sitting outside, enjoying a beautiful fall evening and one another’s company. In the course of conversation, I mentioned a picture and grabbed my phone to share it. I was immediately distracted by notifications and actually lost my train of thought (what WAS I looking for?). I wish I could say that was an isolated incident. Not even close.

Riding in the car with my hubby, the radio is always loud. His philosophy is that if the music is too loud, you are too old. While he is always willing to turn the volume down and listen to my chatter, I have recently taken to pulling out my phone when we are riding together. Before I know it, I’ve been perusing status updates, checking email and twitter and browsing Pinterest far too long and I have no idea where we are or have been. Next to reaching our destination, my favorite part of any trip is the journey. Lately I’ve been missing too much of the journey.

Sunday mornings are the best; coffee at home from a real cup and leisurely breakfast with my hubby before church. Recently we slept in. The extra rest was much needed but we were a bit rushed. After a quick breakfast I hurried to get ready. In record time we were on our way. Settling into a chair in our small group, I reached for my phone to turn the volume off. It wasn’t in my purse. My chest tightened—I was anxious. I learned later that I was suffering from nomophobia – the fear of being out of mobile phone contact (really, it’s an actual thing now). If you think I’m exaggerating, try separating from your phone, even for a short time.

Hubby quickly offered to run home to retrieve it, but I declined. Honestly, it is rare for me to get a call or text on Sunday morning. And my children know that the parents are together, so they would reach out to dad if mom didn’t answer. But what if there was a need to research a term during class or locate lyrics from a worship song (I actually do this)? What if something in the service was awesome and I wanted to share a picture on Facebook or Instagram? I felt the anxiety of losing connection – to my people (although a lot of them were in the room with me) and to information. The truth is, absent that instant connection to the WORLD, I was actually present in MY world—100% engaged, fully focused on the people and happenings aound me that morning. It was refreshing.

AdultBinkyAll of this led me to an article in the Huffington Post referencing a study from Iowa State University. You can read it here but the key for me is the scientific test attached to the article. I took it. I am embarrassed to share my score, but I will admit that I have a problem that implies serious FOMO. I am a smartphone junkie and as a result, I am distracted in almost everything I do. Reading a book? Phone within reach. Having dinner/coffee/walk with friends or family? Phone is a third wheel. Even at work, my phone is in my sight, although I don’t take it into meetings (don’t get me started on the madness of people in a meeting checking their phones). Watching TV with the hubs? Phone right next to me.

Worse than my constant connection is the tether (implied and perhaps more me than them) that gives everyone I know instant access to me, with an expectation of immediate response.

I was a child in the 60’s. We had one phone in our little home and it hung on the wall in the living room. Most of my married life was the same. When we were away from home, we were out of touch. When we took a vacation we made sure the people who NEEDED to know had emergency contact information and we truly “checked out” for a period of time.

Today we have information at our fingertips and instant access to people. We follow “friends” on Facebook (I have almost 600 and I bet you have lots more), most of whom we would never take the time to sit with over coffee. Why? Because we don’t have that much time! And yet, I scroll through status updates and see the highlight reel of their lives, and often get the feeling that I’m missing something. All the while, I’m likely sitting with or near a real, live person with whom I desperately need to connect. I recently took one of those Facebook tests, this one to analyze how many hours I spent on Facebook in the last year. I have no idea the accuracy, but I was mortified when it returned 907 HOURS. That’s an average of two and a half hours a day. Lord help.

I am struggling with this, friends. There are so many things I love about social media. But I am feeling and hearing this more and more from others: I have hundreds of connections but few I can count on. Sobering, but for many that is reality.

I have been thinking a lot about Jesus and his friendships. He had a few close friends…three to be exact. Those were the men he poured his life into – they hung out a lot and they worked together. I imagine that on any given day, they knew one another’s whereabouts. They knew about the struggles and the triumphs of one another’s lives. They were in the trenches together and had each other’s backs. They were tight.

Then there were the twelve, and even among those he had a doubter, a denier and a double-crosser. Jesus’ life and ministry touched the masses at times, but he spent his time with a few. He poured his life into even fewer.

I’m beginning to think these last ten years of my life, as I’ve added to my friends list and spread myself thin among relationships, that I’ve been totally off course. While I hope that I can occasionally touch the masses, I’m looking at his example for friendship. I want a few friends who will show up; friends who come in my back door and know the sodas and water bottles are in the garage fridge. I want to be the friend that will change from PJ’s to clothes to meet you because you really, really need to talk. I want to be the friend who takes the time to sit with you in the ER, and cries with you when tragedy touches your life.

And the thing is, we have limited capacity: physically, emotionally and spiritually. I know this because I’ve been disappointed and I’ve disappointed others. I’ve grieved lost jobs and lost kids alone. I’ve known there was a need in a friend’s life but I just didn’t have anything left in me to join them.

Perhaps this has resonated with you. Did you sense a little anxiety as you read? I wish I could tell you I’ve got this, but I am working on it. I’ve begun intentionally spending less time with my virtual connections and intend to return my focus to the people who are part of my inner circle. I’m putting some distance between myself and my smartphone, especially when there are “real” people in my vicinity. I’ve already left home without my phone again, and I’m happy to report the anxiety was much lower!

If you made it this far, here’s a treat for you!  Isn’t this just gorgeous? It was last fall, on my cousins pontoon boat. The only thing we did with cell phones that evening was take some pictures.  Precious time spent with people I love.

StJoe

I would love to hear your perspective and insight. Talk to me by leaving a comment below.