Get Your Life Back
Updated: Jan 11, 2022
I'm in my hammock right now... Barefoot. Breezy day with a beautiful sky and green everywhere. I can hear all my mom's windchimes. My soul is far from quiet tho. And I try to imagine what if I did not have this device in my hand. What if I knew nothing of world news, had no idea my town was out of toilet paper, or wasn't dreading all day my brothers getting home from work and reading news out loud, or dreading opening any texts from people who are coming to my wedding for fear they're canceling? Or dreading a message from anyone in Haiti for that matter because maybe it's the news that the airport is closed...
If you are a woman, I really recommend the book Captivating, by John and Stasi Eldredge. I loved it so much I'm listening to another of his... Get Your Life Back. He has raised some questions in my heart, and I'm going to pass these questions on. Maybe someone will have answers for me!
Question one: Have cell phones robbed us of our privacy and personal space? There are the obvious ways this can happen... Texting someone for business after work hours... Where you ending up answering questions from a customer while in the bathtub... We all know that isn't right. But we've all gotten frustrated at the person that's "So hard to get ahold of. Why can't they look at their phone?" Has that person gone 24 hours without looking at their phone? Probably not, much less a week! We think our friends and family should be instantly assessible, when in fact they are not created for our convenience. Before telephones, to connect with someone you had to drive to their house for a face to face talk. There were hours you respected, and if the person was sick or something you just wouldn't go. There were set boundaries that our phones have completely removed.
It goes farther than that... How many more "situations" do we know about than our grandparents did? With this Coronavirus scare, how many weddings cancelled, school situations, elderly dying in nursing homes without their families... How many stories like that have you heard and discussed with your family and friends because of what you've seen on the internet or statuses or passed on messages. Most of you have probably discussed my wedding situation and have an opinion on what I should do. You wouldn't know anything about that if I hadn't broadcasted it to everyone on my phone. And maybe in a way it's good... It's very encouraging to hear people say they are praying for you. But sometimes I pass things on just because it's an interesting story, not because I have any real interest to enter into what the person is actually facing, nor do I know enough facts to form any opinion about it. We know so much about each other!!!! And we as Mennonites are trying to run SCHOOLS of all things and nursing homes and so many businesses this way... Without true privacy. Take Raising Hope Ranch. Most people support that place and admire what they are trying to do. What is harder to remember is that to heal, a broken child needs to feel safe, which equals privacy. It's good they have lots of support from people, but asking even innocent questions about people and who they're related to and how long they might stay there is not true support. My mind goes wild when I try to imagine what I would and would not know about people if I didn't have whattsapp. And it's good to think about what you share and what you ask others to share. We should keep the right to tell others the details of our life that we want them to know, not allow ourselves to be pressured into answering questions or posting statuses all the time just to "stay connected." Staying connected is about going on a walk together, drinking coffee, sharing face to face, not posting highlights of your life on your status and hiding the dark stuff.
Question 2: Can we actually handle all the information we are barraged with everyday? This author says the amount of media the average person consumes in a day would completely lock up a laptop after one week. He believes our minds are not strong enough to handle knowing all that we know. I remember last fall during the protests in Haiti feeling a strong conviction to not read news. I felt the same guilt when I gave in and typed "Haiti news" into my search bar that I would have felt reading a raunchy book or listening to bad music. And I do think that was God trying to protect me from letting that into my mind. Here's the thing... Where is the delete forever button in your brain? I can maybe send things to spam folder or trash, but I have never found a place to delete things I know, along with all the feelings that came with them, forever. And shouldn't we think about that before "dumping" on others? How often have you carried information about someone that you didn't want to know? If someone is texting you gossip, there really isn't a very good way to get out of the situation. You read the message, your brain sends off a red alert, "I did not want to know that!" but it's too late. You will think of that little piece of gossip at the worst times... You can't "unknow it." Personally I am really sensitive to sad news, especially if it involves children. I read or hear something, and my mind carries it. So I work with it and try to lay it down, but most of the time I probably would be happier just not knowing. Now I fully believe that we are called to help bear the burden of our friends and family, but not the world. This book says that we have to accept the natural circles of intimacy, and that most of us are trying to make our intimate circles too big. I think I could be alot more careful with my words... Somehow find the balance between being ready to share life with others and burdening the world with too much information about yourself.
Question three: This is a statement actually. Depression, anxiety, and envy rises in proportion to the amount of social media consumed. Supposedly a proven fact... We all know in our heads that what people post online is not real. We know that. But we see 40 statuses about people on vacation and feel discontent. We see new recipes and projects to do while you're homeschooling your child because of coronavirus and feel like we don't measure up. We see bad news and feel depressed. We see the extreme highs and lows of people's lives (who posts statuses about their normal days?) and use that to guage how our lives should be going every day. Or what normal is.
So is this a final goodbye before I throw my phone in the pond? No! Just like I said in the beginning... Questions this book has raised, and probably made bigger by my situation. So either read this and say a prayer for me, or you could post a status that says... Please pray for Quiara she's going crazy because she thinks her wedding is going to be ruined... 😂😂😂 (BTW another pet peeve of mine.... Passing on gossip in disguise of asking for prayers) cuz wouldn't I just loooovvveee to answer questions about my emotional stability right now? Lol! Get off your phone and enjoy the sunshine!