To combat the darkness ever permeate in the atmosphere, I choose to unearth the joy of Jesus by following the happy faces. Facebook…Twitter-verse…Instagram…Pinterest…my news feeds looks like a Christian motivational speaker threw up all over them and then added glitter. Facebook can be a platform for the positive and encouraging, or it can be a festering blister of negativity that haunts my bright little screen.
“For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34
It’s not reality, and there’s only 1,440 minutes in my day. The excessive amount of ranting that opportunely may drench my day cannot always be shut off. But in the realms of social media I can unfollow negative sloth, never to be bothered by it again. I even have the power to block it forever, if I deem it too invasive to my joy. That’s brill. If only that sentiment could be applied to incoming text messages…
A little bleep landed in my new text alerts one midnight… a photo from my oldest daughter a midst the first Bucher Sister Sleepover. I had been excitedly talking with a friend…down the stairs…in the same house…and missed her first couple of messages. (Side note, I think she’s taken note not to ninja-stealth-scare me anymore by creeping down the stairs and sneaking up behind my chair…good for the old ticker…)
I hastened up the stairs to confiscate her phone and tuck her in, scrolling through her sent messages as I slowly creaked her door shut.
I’m no better than my daughter at waiting for a reply when it’s something I need to know straight away. And when I post a blog and no one comments, my heart does sink a pinch. But on the flip side, the concern of inconsequential “dings” and missed ring-tones bead up and trickle to the floor.
“Beep. Boop. Bop,” my daughter’s “phone” busted into the afternoon stillness.
“Beep. Boop. Bop.”
The buzzing robot alert stirred my eyes over to the loft desk. My daughter bypassed the “I just received a message and must answer right now” circuit board, and continued Barbie’s latest saga to save all of humanity by pairing up with Flynn Ryder… “Barbie’s” crush.
“Beep. Bop. Boop.”
My curiosity did not meander down the stairs alongside the cat.
“Brianne, aren’t you going to see who’s sending you messages?” I prodded… “Someone sent a picture…”
“No.” She quipped, aggravated to be interrupted mid- wedding in the dream house. Far cry from the urgent response she needed on sleepover night.
“What’s that like?” I seethed, as I searched the dusty corridors of my brain for a pre-technologically controlled remnant. I confess, I wait for the dings after a blog post like my cat waits for food when her bowl is only half full. The whiplash of feedback on social media flaunts my convictions and exposes my addiction to encouragement.
It’s a ridiculous plight to develop discipline over, I realize. When to put the “ding” down and look up and out at the world happening in my family room…lest I forfeit my witness of Barbie and Flynn’s vows. I mean, Barbie may never marry again, and I will plausibly regret forevermore not showing up in any of the wedding photos. Blast!
That December afternoon, I caught my five year old’s accused eye roll of amateur status… as I texted and checked one-handed whilst my play-doh cupcake turned into a hot mess. My family needed me to pay attention, not just be present. Inspired, I vowed not to let the fourteen days of Christmas break my daughters and I counted down for in angst unfold with me holed up in “busyness” at my desk, while the sounds of joy filtered up the stairs and underneath the crack of my closed door.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Introducing my daughter to texting and face-time is only the beginning …social media is right around the corner. I learn how to process faceless communication right alongside her, and have purposely built up a wall of “Jesus-joy” to guard my heart…and hers, until she’s old enough to take the wheel. I don’t walk the pier everyday with intentions of getting pooped on by a bird …but it’s possible. (Especially lately… What is it, bird-ageddon over here?!) I’m not focused on the birds, I’m focused on the view. I don’t hear their crazed cackling in my ears, because I have different song streaming through my headphones. I choose my focus.
I don’t know what hard-knock is about to sound at my door. Ailments are everywhere. But God doesn’t trip me up with obstacles to make me grumble through my day and life. He’s the God of humorous silver linings. The One who allows me to walk through an entire cloud of seagulls without getting pooped on; but then get blasted by the only one around in a ten mile radius.
He’s given us His only Son so that we can choose to unfollow the things that make us miserable. He did not give us life to make us suffer. He gave us life for joy! Fight the good fight and roll with the punches…knowing each blow does have an eternal purpose… and your life has a specific one.
Stay encouraged. Be happy. “Follow” the light…Christ.
“Be joyful always.” 1Thes5:16