Posted in Bible Study

The Power of Words

 

Last night, some friends and I were having a conversation about Facebook interactions. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I have mixed feelings about Facebook and you know that I’ve taken several breaks from the social media platform. This specific conversation was about how some people scroll and rarely make any indication that they’ve even seen posts. To me, that’s the creepy part of Facebook; I try to always keep in mind all of the friends I am speaking to when I post something because it is easy to forget the large audience of Facebook. Then the conversation shifted to the new emoji reactions that Facebook recently released. My input to this conversation is that comments are more valuable to me. I don’t get much satisfaction from seeing a notification that someone “liked” or “reacted to”. A comment is more cherished in my heart because of my strong connection with words.

As a book-lover, I wholeheartedly agree that words are powerful. Rudyard Kipling said that “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” Or as James put it, “the tongue is a flame of fire….It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:6. Lately, God has been revealing to me about how to make everything about him, and specifically God has shown me that the words I choose to speak and write are powerful. It’s always been a problem of mine to speak and write what comes to mind and what I think others want to hear. Through painful discipline, I’m learning (over and over) to really apply James 1:19 by pondering my words very carefully.

In fact, God has quite a bit to say about words and how we use them. In Psalm 12, the psalmist makes the bold request that God cut off all flattering lips and the tongue that makes great boasts. Instead, the tongue should be used to spread wisdom, healing, and encouragement (Proverbs 12:18; Ephesians 4:29).

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable in your sight,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

If you also struggle with words, I don’t have any specific advice other than to prayfully submit to God. I’ve had to ask for forgiveness from God and people quite a bit, and I expect that I will more in the future. It’s been a lesson in patience as I’ve wanted to say something but realize that it’s not appropriate or uplifting. Ultimately, though, it will be worth the discipline and patience because I trust that God is changing me and using the words he gives me to say to encourage and challenge others. I only have to learn to listen to his guidance rather than spouting off whatever comes to my head.

In closing, I leave you with words from Roald Dahl:

“Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”
Roald Dahl, The BFG

 

 

 

 

Posted in poetry, Writing

A connection

What are we doing?
Scrolling through our newsfeeds-
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace-
Feeling connected,
Filling a void.
It’s no wonder that depression rises,
More people seek counseling,
And children take more pills than ever before.
Oh it’s not the sole cause but it contributes.
People need connection
And social media just isn’t enough.
This is not a hate letter against technology.
Believe me I’ve done enough of that to realize it’s silly.
Technology serves its purpose
As long as it’s a supplement to real connection.
People need people,
Not walls or posts or tweets,
People need real breathing people.
I don’t have a solution
Except to log off and plug in to what’s real.
Thankfully what’s real doesn’t need a power cord.

Posted in Life

Communicating with Technology

I really have a problem with technology lately. It is killing the way people communicate these days. It drives me up the wall when I’m hanging out with friends and they’re on the phone texting or playing a game or surfing the net. It also frustrates me when I find myself texting while someone is talking to me. There are some people that I communicate more with via text than I do face to face. There’s a problem with that. Some days I just want to get rid of my phone and delete my facebook and not check my e-mail. I want to only talk to people when I see them.

I can see the positive uses of technology. I’m not even saying that communicating via technology is bad, because sometimes it’s all that’s possible. When it diminishes the value or takes the place of face-to-face communication, it becomes harmful.

“Technology provides many outlets for individuals to search for and seek acceptance.” Collegiate magazine. True. Personally, I find myself looking to Facebook to help me feel connected to people when I’m alone. That’s not healthy because Facebook cannot give me an accurate connection to people.

Technology communication can also harm the sharing of the gospel message. “Our call as Christians is to live out the gospel message in an incartional way….The message of grace…must be demonstrated and spoken….Let technology by your supplemental tool.” Collegiate magazine. Yes, I tend to post verses or encouraging songs via Facebook and I send verses and songs via text to friends but it’s still not the same as if I talked to people directly about what I’m reading in the Bible. In order to share Christ’s love with people, I need to form real connections with people.

Technology Communication…

1. Distracts me from homework and time with God.

2. Gives me resources to learn more

3. Is a platform for speaking love.

4. Is a crutch to avoid people.

5. Uplifts me.

6. Connects me.

7. Provides a false connection.

8. Keeps me up to date.

9. Doesn’t show me people’s hearts.

10. Provides an overly simple way to speak.

11. Confuses conversations.

12. Veils my heart and emotions.

13. Causes me to steal other’s words and attach them to myself.

14. Gives me good quotes.

15. Is fast and convenient.

16. Makes me feel content about my “witness.”

The answer isn’t to cut off communication via technology. I’ve tried that. Instead I should make a conscious effort to communicate via face-to-face conversation and avoid multi-tasking when talking to people. I should live in the moment when I’m with people, rather than having a long distance “conversation.” I also can’t expect others to do this. I must be patient when others don’t feel the need to put their phones and devices away.

It’s a battle in my mind. Ultimately, I think it comes down to motive and the heart. When using technology to communicate, ask yourself “could this wait until I see this person face-to-face? Would this be more fun to share when we’re together? Am I focusing on what is happening around me or am I neglecting connections with people who are here right now?”

 

Check out this article: http://blog.lifeway.com/biblestudiesforlife/fighting-over-connection/

Posted in Book Review, Life

Showing You Care

I just finished reading a book about social media.  While it hasn’t made me want to quit Facebook again, it has made me want to reconsider my use of Facebook and my blog and my e-mail and texting.  In the book, he includes a chart showing how people would prefer to receive communication were they sick in the hospital.  He ranks it:

 

1. In person visit

2. Phone Call

3. Handwritten card

4. E-mail

5. Social Media

6. Text

 

He then takes it farther from the context of someone sick in the hospital to pose the question of how the reader cares for people in his/her life (regardless of if they’re sick or not).

 

I wonder what your opinion is about this ranking and how you would rank these forms of communication, so I’m offering this informal survey.   Don’t misunderstand, I’m talking about deeper topics of conversation than “I’m on my way” or “did you get the notes in class today?”

Posted in Life

Facebook

Today I made a monumental step in my progress towards I don’t know what.

I deactivated my Facebook account.

It may not be permanent, but at least for now I am not connected to the internet in that way.  There were several reasons for doing this, one of them being that Facebook was distracting me from accomplishing things I do want to do, such as reading my Bible, reading books for pleasure, and doing my homework.  I was finding that instead of doing these things I was spending hours on a daily basis hitting refresh on my Facebook page.

I also deleted my page in an attempt to connect to people better.   I know that sounds crazy, but I felt that Facebook, while it helps me keep in contact to a certain extent, it didn’t really give me a chance to connect to people on an individual basis.  Yeah, I read their statuses and occasionally “liked” or commented on something they posted, but it’s not the same as having a real conversation with a person.  I hope to now use my Skype, e-mails, this blog, my phone, and my personal voice in order to connect to people.

In my last post I talked about being real, and part of what’s been bugging me about Facebook is that it’s so easy to be not real on there.  It’s very easy to hide my true feelings and to present a person that I am not.  Of course, it’s just as easy to do that via blog or e-mail as well, but Facebook was much more accessible.  It also started to irk me that things I posted in all seriousness would probably just be skimmed over in the mass amount of information on a news feed.  I know this happens, because I myself skimmed through many people’s thoughts.  What’s the point of that?  Why am I putting my thoughts out there if they are just going to be skimmed?  I think my thinks are more valuable than that and should be given more consideration and so should other peoples’ thinks.

Facebook is also so impersonal.  It is so easy to find things out about people through that page and the person never even knows.  I started looking through the 200 or so friends I had and thinking about the things I posted.  Did I really mean for every one of those people to read that?  Did they even care?  Most of the time, I had a few people in mind that I wanted to share the thoughts with and everyone else just got it anyway.  I had forgotten how many people were on the friends list.

Overall, I just wanted to simplify my life a little.  There was so much stuff on Facebook and I just felt that I had so much stuff.  So I tried to downsize the number of things I had on there, but I found myself wanting to keep things up there just in case someone wanted to see that.  The problem was I wanted people to see things about me, and that kind of bothers me.  Someone can’t really get to know who I am by looking at my Facebook and yet I kept it up there as a crutch.  Now hopefully, people will get to know me based on what I tell them and the questions they ask rather than anonymously scrolling through my Facebook.

Now I’m not saying I will feel this way forever, but for now, Facebook is gone.  I’ll update later to let you know if I’m having withdrawals. 🙂

Posted in Life

Thankfulness.

Many of my Facebook friends have taken the initiative to post something they are thankful each day.  I missed this trend and I don’t really want to feel confined to that kind of schedule, but I am truly thankful for my life that God gave me.  Here’s a few things that come to mind tonight.

1. God.  I know this sounds cliche but I am truly thankful for the ways that God reveals himself to me.  I walk across campus and see the leaves changing colors and falling and I see the beauty that GOD planned.

2. Laughter.  This makes number two on my list, because I love it so much.  It doesn’t really matter who it’s coming from, but I like the sound of laughter.  Life always seems a little better when there’s laughter in the air.

3. Tears.  In the past, I thought tears were something to hide,  but I’m starting to appreciate tears.  It’s a way to let go of emotions rather than trying to be strong.  When I cry it’s a physical reminder that I am not strong, but I know that God is strong enough for both of us.

4. Family.  I don’t get to see them near enough, but a day rarely goes by that I don’t tell a story about one of the members of my small family.  I may be able to count on two hands the number of family members that I actually know, but there’s plenty of love there.

5. Friends.  Since I don’t get to see my family often, these people in my life pull me through.  Each of them serve a different purpose in my life.  I can’t begin to list them, but they each know who they are.

6. Church.  This is similar to God, and it should probably be higher on the list.  After laughter though I started going by train of thought.  There are some weeks that if I know I can get to Wednesday or Sunday all will be good.  I do study my Bible almost every day and talk to my roommate about what I or she is reading, but there’s just something special about being in church.

7. Music.  Oh my.  What would I do without this?  It lifts me up and makes me think.  I listen mostly to Christian, because why not listen to something positive if I’m going to put it in my head.  I can’t really pick a favorite song, because it depends on my situation at the current moment.

 

Posted in Class

Writing a Paper

This is the week before mid-terms, so as an English major that means I have to write lots of papers.  I actually have 3 papers due between midnight next Tuesday and midnight next Wednesday.  Joy!

As I’m working on a paper about power in three revenge tragedies, I am noting some things about my writing style.  I just thought I’d share them as I write.

1. I don’t like to get rid of anything.  As I’m working on a paper, I typically have the document where I’m writing and the document with my outline open.  As I re-read and edit each section, I drop any sentences or paragraphs that I delete into the outline document in case I need it again.  I guess you could say I’m a word hoarder.

2. I tend to write an outline, write the paper, and then re-write the outline.  I’m not sure why I bother in the first place because I typically don’t follow the first one.

3. Write a sentence.  Check Facebook.  It makes for slow essay writing, but it keeps me motivated.

4. I think better surrounded by books in the library.

5. I have to start papers early or they will not be good quality.

6. Plot summary is my way of thinking.  Too bad professors don’t like that.

7. I try to think about grammar at the same time because I’m really bad at proofreading for grammar.

I should probably not try to write a blog at the same time as I write a paper.  The paper is not getting written.

 

After making a draft of one paper:

8. I can’t write the conclusion to a paper until it has time to marinate in my mind.  Similarly I cannot re-read a paper fresh after writing it.