It was the day I decided to fast from Facebook for a week. My youngest son showed up later in the afternoon and proved to be a wonderful distraction from the withdrawal symptoms I experienced. He mentioned something that really stuck with me…how people go on trips and spend their whole time taking pictures and posting to Facebook instead of just experiencing the beauty and actually being “in” the moment.
That really got me to thinking about how much I miss in my relationships when I am busy taking pictures and posting them with some witty comment. I also had to ask myself how much I really appreciate the moment I am in, the person I am with, the conversation I am having, whether in person or on the phone…or am I thinking in the back of my mind, Ooooohhhh, that would be great to post!
This is so good for me to ponder…especially today. It’s been exactly nine months since I walked away from the most abusive and degrading “church” experience of my life. It takes nine months to grow and birth a baby, so I asked the Lord this morning what it is that has been growing inside me for these last nine months, and is now ready to be “born” in my life.
I felt Him impress upon my heart the word “relationship.”
Before the cult I struggled with being a workaholic, and valuing things over people. After my successful stint (by the world’s standards) in network marketing, I realized all along I had it all backwards. Instead of loving people and using things, I’d been using people and loving things.
Then during my 12 years in the cult I found myself keeping most everyone at arm’s length. Of course, as it turned out, this was a serious defense mechanism to attempt to keep from getting hurt, although they did a pretty good job of destroying me emotionally and spiritually over those years.
So here I am today, learning how to be a real friend to some pretty amazing people. Learning how to be a Mom to my boys and a Yiayia (Greek for Grandma) to my grandkids. Learning how to value the moment I am in with the person in front of me. Loving people instead of judging them or using them. Letting them in rather than pushing them away.
Thinking back on a sermon from a few weeks ago when Pastor Roger preached on No Risk, No Reward, I realized there’s a risk here, because I’ve been so trashed in the past, I could get hurt again, and probably will, since people aren’t perfect. I had to think that through and ask myself some hard questions. Do I want to open myself up to the chance of more pain, more devastation, and more emotional upheaval? Well, no, not really. Who would answer yes to that? But the more I pondered and asked God to work in my heart, the easier it was for me to take a step forward. I have determined that the reward is worth the risk. The reward of having true friendships, authentic relationships…without walking on eggshells or always wondering what the other person is really thinking but being too afraid to ask.
I wondered how all of this translated over to my relationship with the Lord, since I’ve been making a point to spend extra time with Him during my Facebook fast. As I watched the last nine months in movie form before my eyes, I saw how much I risked in being willing to trust Him after all that I’d endured. But with that risk came reward…the restoration and renewal that He has worked so far, and is continuing to work, is an amazing work of a loving Father.
So yes, what is being birthed in my life is a new desire to be “in the moment” with people…to be present, not distracted by social media or other enticements. To risk allowing people into my heart so that, through these rich life experiences, He can teach me to go deep with Him.
It’s an amazing parallel there, what He works in our relationships He also works in our relationship to Him.
Wow. What a good God.