Numb

When I go hiking in the snow or the cold, it never fails that two of my toes will go numb. My shoes are good, the socks are thick, and my feet are dry, but it doesn’t matter, those two toes will go numb. Numb is a good word that describes the world today.  

A news story will show on my Facebook newsfeed, like the one about the woman who was mauled by a Grizzily at a campground. Instead of reading it, however, I immediately click on the comments. Reading human behavior is more interesting than reading a sensationalized news story created for clicks. The comments show a lack of awareness and compassion. When a friend of the victim shared a comment, trying to bring humanity to the conversation, to jar people awake from their numbness, it was met with more coldness. From one-upmanship to “being right”, the chat section of a journalism news page is crawling with people who are okay with being unkind because they are anonymous. None of them will likely meet up in the same aisle of the grocery store.  

I normally see comments from people who only read the headlines. I also see opinions from people who may or may not have read more than the headlines. It’s like trudging through the snow next to a frozen lake. I won’t find comfort here, neither will that friend of the woman who died.  

Did you also know that, if someone leaves a comment on a Facebook public post, like a news story, their friends will see it, too? Even more tragic, if that person was a Christian and, on one hand, posting an unkind comment, but showing on his profile a whole bunch of Jesus-loving memes and quotes. We don’t often view our social media platforms from all angles to see what kind of picture it paints of us to others.  

It’s time to warm up those numb toes and build a fire!  

Using social media for good means exercising a lot of self-control. This is a biblical thing.  

Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” A broken city brings to mind the recently viewed photos of a bombing in Asia or the blackened remains of a once beautiful forest after a fire. We can do better.  

Using social media for good means deciding if what you will say will be helpful in building bridges, making good decisions about your tone in the text, and listening to others, even if you disagree with them. Building relationships online takes just as much time as in-person. A click of a button doesn’t give you the right to speak truth into a person’s life. Time might if you persist and pray. Until then, build a fire against the cold. Let the light contrast the dark and push away the shadows of night. Invite someone to share your light. It took a long time for a person to become numb; it will take an equally long time to thaw them into a human again.  

Be kind and thoughtful. The struggle is worth it.  

3 Ways to Make Room for God

“Since I cannot govern my own tongue, tho’ within my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongues of others?” – Benjamin Franklin

Taking a stand doesn’t mean being the loudest person in the room, especially on social media. Follow God in making a positive impact in your community and stick close to Him during this time. Trust Him.

I know it’s hard with everything going on to feel like you have no control over what is happening in the world, and that speaking out gives you a feeling of control. But, like this flower, you can bloom. We’ve been so blessed as a country to live in a prosperous nation, and maybe now we see the reason why we are here? It’s been so easy to live here versus other parts of the world (from what I read). I wonder sometimes, as we chafe against what is happening, why we still want our old habits?

Let God use this time to change you into a new creation and set aside the old. On this 4th of July may we look at ourselves and see what God wants us to do going forward (and not the God we have invented for ourselves, but the God as represented in the Bible). Maybe it’s time to start a new Bible reading and prayer habit?

Here are 3 suggestions to help you form new habits:

  • Get up earlier than your normal hour if your day is full. A story from missionary history reminded me that spending time with God means rising early for some people. When my work schedule changed after I started a new job, I continued rising at the same hour each morning to make sure my relationship with the Lord wasn’t neglected. Maybe you are an evening person? Stay up late. Perhaps your lunch hour works best for you? Bring your Bible to work.
  • Use Your social media to stay accountable to your walk with God. The first sentence in this blog was, “Taking a stand doesn’t mean being the loudest person in the room.” This followed a quote from Benjamin Franklin. What you write on social media is what you are and reflects your heart. The posts online can either make you bitter or you can start controlling your dietary intake of what you read. Keeping your heart healthy means learning how to use social media in a way that benefits both you and your readers, followers, and friends. Perhaps share what you are learning on Sunday, in Bible Study, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the Bible online. Be discerning in whose answers you accept by comparing the answers to what you are reading. Commentaries can be helpful in this.
  • Bible apps are wonderful. You can fit them on your phone and your phone can fit in your pocket. Grab a bottle of water and take a walk with God. Find a quiet place to sit and read a chapter. Ponder that chapter. Focus on it for the rest of the day. What did you read? What did you just learn about Bible history? How can you apply it now? What did it mean then?

Take care of your heart during this time and make God a priority. Talk to Him. As Benjamin Franklin said, you can’t control what others post (or how their posts make you feel), but you can control what you post.

*Picture taken on a trail in Arizona.

Finding Out What Really Matters

A book review of, We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson attracted me because of its cover of a VW van and a star-covered night sky. The advertisement of 32 maps was a bonus. I had never heard of the author, but an outdoor-themed devotional was attractive to this backpacker.

The book is a memoir of collected memories separated into quick chapters with a hand-drawn map of the areas the book describes in that particular chapter. It is a book that expresses worship in God, adventures in dating, marriage and fatherhood with humor, deep conviction, and a beautiful narrative. Threaded throughout the book are references of his grandfather and their motorcycle adventures. The book is a meditation of relaxation in the middle of a busy day, to get lost in the book’s narrative and dream of adventures yet to come.

Loss is especially poignant in the book. My eyes suspiciously watered a few times in which I blinked and tried to push down the knot in my throat. Some chapters hit too close to home like the loss of their dog and when the author said goodbye to his grandfather. The only drawback to the book was the lack of Scripture references. If there were any, I didn’t catch them. The maps are wonderful for decoration, travel tips, and reminiscing; or perhaps pieces of art that one could blow up into a print and frame.

My husband read the book first. He sped through the pages like a child eating his first cake. “Easy reading,” He mentioned to me. When I reached parts of the book that made me laugh, he would turn to look at me and ask me what part I was reading. The book was memorable to him. While not marketed to men (that I saw anyway), the book is ideal for men’s groups or young men. The wisdom in its pages are timeless. Whole families are difficult to find and young men need good mentors. Any young man might enjoy this book purely for the inspiration to get up from the couch and go somewhere.

*book given by the publisher to review.