Trust Yourself in God’s Hands

“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands” (Oswald Chambers).

This came up in my Timehop from something I posted a few years ago. I’d say it’s still just as true and relevant now as it was back then.

Take heart and know that waiting on God is always worth the wait, no matter how long it takes.


The Return of Mr. Irrelevant

Yes, the NFL draft was upon us yet again. I watched parts of it but not all, since I thought it might be better to actually have a life today and not live in front of the television for hours and hours.

I did see where Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly (nephew of former great Jim Kelly) was the last player drafted in the last round of the draft. At least I knew who he was and the school he was from.

Frankly, I’m not a fan of the term Mr. Irrelevant. It’s a bit of an insult to the player who gets taken last. At least he got drafted, unlike multitudes of others who would probably  love to be in his place.

It got me thinking again. Social media can be a tough place for those who feel the constant need to be approved and admired. It can be a lonely forum for those who base their identity by how many people like and comment on their posts, pictures, memes, updates, etc.

I know because I used to be there. It took some time away from Facebookland to get my head straight and my thinking right.

You might feel like Mr. Irrelevant when you post something witty or inspired and you can almost hear the crickets in the background from the lack of responses.

You might even feel like nobody appreciates you or even knows you exist as you go about your normal daily existence. You wonder if what you do (or even you yourself) matter to anyone.

God says you matter. The cross says you count. Jesus literally thought you were to die for.

I’ve found that God always puts people in your life who will see you. They will be witnesses to your life and testify to the fact that you have value. You probably won’t have very many of these people throughout your life, but those will be your true friends.

You are not irrelevant. You do matter.


It’s Good to Be Back (in Social Media Land)

Today was my first official day back on social media since February 28, which just so happened to be my birthday as well as Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. That’s the first day of Lent.

As usual, I gave up social media for Lent. It was fantastic. I enjoyed the absence of political rants and Facebook drama and passive aggressiveness which makes me seem absolutely normal in comparison. I almost didn’t come back.

But here I am again, posting about all the places I go during the week, sharing all the diverse music I’m listening to, and again trying not to judge people’s grammar (and rolling my eyes constantly in the process). I might even post a pic or two of food and/or beverages I’m consuming to make you infinitely jealous.

I do like keeping up with friends and what’s going on in their lives. I had felt completely out of the loop for a month and a half. I honestly have no idea about who’s gotten engaged or married or pregnant. I don’t know how I survived all those years without social media.

Oh wait, yes I do. I had a life. Or at least I had books.

Social media is good and well as long as you keep boundaries and don’t let it run your life or determine your self-worth. I believe that it’s best to keep it positive and uplifting. It’s so much easier to sit behind a keyboard and tear someone else down through a post or comment than it would be to ridicule them to their face.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people who claim Jesus as Lord will unleash political diatribes against those on the other side of the spectrum instead of heeding His words to love and pray for your enemies and to do good to those who mistreat you. Again, social media makes it easier to do that.

You may not always agree on everything, but it costs you nothing to be civil and show respect to everyone. And yes, Jesus meant what He said about loving your enemies.

I intend to do my best to keep things light and fun with lots of pictures of my geriatric feline, plus random and odd memes that strike me as funny.

That’s all. You can go back to your hilarious videos of cats in shark costumes riding on roombas.

Phone-Less in Nashville

For the first time in a long time (or possibly ever), I left my phone at work. At least I’m 98% sure that’s where I left it.

You never know how much of a hold something has over your life until you’re without it. Even in week two of my social media fast for Lent, it feels weird not to have my phone. I almost feel naked. Almost.

Maybe I need to institute a periodic phone fast where I go without my phone for 24 hours. I wonder if I could last that long– that’s just me keeping it real.

How many people can go 15 minutes without their phones, much less 24 hours? I get nervous twitches just thinking about it. I’m more than a little concerned about how addicted we are to smart technology and gadgets. If someone ever detonates one of those electronic pulse bombs that wipes out all electronic devices, we’re screwed. I almost think civilization would collapse.

The truth of the matter that I sometimes forget is that I spent the vast majority of my life without smart phones. I spent a good deal of my life without any phones at all.

I think I can survive without a phone until tomorrow morning.

PS I found my phone exactly where I left it. . . at work. I managed to not fall apart or spontaneously combust for 12 whole hours without my phone. Maybe there’s hope for us after all.


A Week Into Lent

It’s only been a week– well, six days if you want to be picky– since I started my social media fast for Lent. I already feel so far out of the loop when it comes to being informed about who’s getting hitched and popping out babies (or to put it in a more genteel way, who’s getting engaged, married, and pregnant).

I’ve also had six days without any posts about how Trump is the devil incarnate and the enemy to all that is true and good in the world. That’s been nice.

The purpose of Lent isn’t just to give up stuff. The point of fasting is to make time and room in your heart and in your life for God. It’s to heighten your senses so that you become more attuned to His voice.

Or in my case, I’ve made more room for Netflix and reading.

Lent is a season to prepare your heart for Easter. It’s when you move beyond Easter bunnies and Cadbury chocolate eggs to a Savior rising victoriously from the grave after three days in the tomb.

My goal is still to have time to be silent and still in the presence of God. I still want to savor the season leading up to Easter and use this as a time of refreshment and replenishing.

Right now, I’m listening to my geriatric cat snoring as I type these words. That will never ever get old, just like knowing I have a faithful legion of followers who read those words. I’ll keep on writing these blog posts as long as you keep reading them.

I’d still love to meet up with some of you for coffee and conversation. My treat.



The Last Thursday Before the Last Sunday Before Lent

O God, who before the passion of your only-begotten Son
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that
we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be
strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his
likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen” (The Book of Common Prayer).

Mardi Gras is in 5 days (as is my birthday– hint, hint). Ash Wednesday is in 6 days.

That means I’ll be taking my usual sabbatical from social media for the next few weeks until Easter Sunday.

I’m actually looking forward to it this year more than ever. Not so much because of all the negativity (although there has been plenty of that lately) but more so because of all the extra time I’ll have to have actual face-to-face conversations with friends, do some reading out of actual books, watch movies, or just sit and contemplate in silence.

I recommend taking a social media break from time to time. It helps clear your head. It’s like a periodic reboot of your PC that helps reset and reorient your thinking when it’s gotten off track.

I’ll still be doing my blog posts as usual and keeping you updated on all the latest shenanigans in my life (as well as the ongoing saga that is the life of one Lucy the Wonder Cat).

I have some books lined up to keep me occupied, including hopefully rereading some Tolkien in the very near future. I’m still taking requests for good new/old music/movies, and books to check out, so keep sending them my way.

Who knows? Maybe I can manage to meet one or more of you at a nearby coffee spot for one of those face-to-face conversations? You just never know.



Take Up Your Cross

“Jesus called the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake and the gospel’s will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God]” (Mark 9:34-35, Amplified Bible).

Don’t get me wrong. I do love me some social media. I love being able to connect with new people and reconnect with old friends that I haven’t seen in years.

I also have noticed lately that social media has a way of turning people more and more myopic and narcissistic. It becomes all about “me and my,” as in my life, my spouse, my family, my home, my career, etc.

I’ve also noticed that people can very easily become thin-skinned and defensive if there is even a perceived threat or criticism of how they behave or talk.

I confess I’m guilty of being way too inward focused. The old saying about humility remains true– it’s not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

Jesus’ call to take up the cross and follow remains as true as ever. That’s the only true way to find yourself and what you were meant for — namely, by losing yourself and your preconceived notions of how your life should go. By losing the notion that you are in control of your own destiny.

I hope that my life’s purpose will echo the call of John the Baptist– that I must decrease so that Jesus may increase and be glorified and magnified in my life more and more with every day that passes.


In Response to All the Nonsense on Social media

“O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand;
where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us
and heal our strife-torn world” (William Watkins Reid, Jr.)

If you’ve been paying attention to social media, you know there’s a lot of hate and fear dividing this nation. It seems to me that both the hate and fear are bipartisan as both seem to exhibit both, but in different ways.

Some days, it feels like there will always be a divide running through the land. It seems like people will never cross the political aisle to at least try to see things from a different perspective.

Lately, there is no middle ground of any kind. The mantra is that “my side is 100% right and holy and just and righteous, and your side is 100% wrong, therefore you must not only be wrong but stupid and evil as well.”

This is where believers step in. Jesus calls us to be one as He and the Father are one. He doesn’t give us any loopholes. This isn’t optional.

It means praying for your enemies instead of bashing them on Facebook. It means loving them instead of publicly wishing them harm. Again, that goes for both sides.

Above all, it means realizing that as a believer in Christ, your ultimate allegiance isn’t to a political party or a platform. It’s not to an ideology. It’s to a King and a Kingdom that will last beyond all the kingdoms and republics of the world, including the one we’re currently living in.

Maybe instead of casting blame, it’s time to look in the mirror and start repenting of hateful attitudes and critical spirits. Maybe it’s time to start being the change we want to see in the world.

And that change starts with love.


The Best Gift This Christmas

I’m still in shock over the absolute devastation that’s taken place in East Tennessee. So many people lost everything, including some that lost loved ones. I can’t even begin to fathom the grief they’re experiencing right now.

I’ve decided that the best gift you or I can give this Christmas isn’t so much presents but presence, as in you and I being fully present with our families and friends during this Advent season.

By fully present, I mean more than just sharing the same room. I mean making full eye contact and actively listening to what the other is saying. I mean you being glued to the other person and not to your smart phone.

I confess I’m guilty as much as anyone else of choosing technology over people. It’s easy to do when your phone is doing everything to get your attention, up to the point of saying, “Hey! Look at this comment to your status right this very minute!”

I have yet to meet anybody who regrets not checking their latest Facebook updates. I don’t know of anyone who will shed tears because they failed to reply promptly to a comment on one of their Instagram photos.

I do know that people’s biggest regrets are those moments when they wish they could go back in time to tell a friend or family member how much that person meant to them. I have a feeling some will look up from their phones and realize they missed so much. It’s better to take time away from social media to have that meaningful conversation with someone than to wait too late and have to talk to their headstone.

You have an incredible opportunity to speak into the lives of your spouse, your children, your parents, and your friends. You have the blessing of having them speak healing and life into you. Never take that privilege for granted. You never know when it will be taken away.


Get Away

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” (Henry David Thoreau, Walden).

Sometimes I think Thoreau had the right idea. Lately, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at me from every direction at literally every waking moment. I deliberately stay away from watching any kind of news programs, yet I still feel like I’m drowning in a flood of images and stories, mostly tragic and sad.

Every now and then, it’s good to get away from all things electronic and technological. Every once in a while, it’s good to lose yourself in the beauty of nature and drink in deeply the silence of the woods.

I love Radnor Lake State Park because it is as close to Eden as I can get these days. It’s as close as I can get to how we used to be before we became social media junkies, craving the next Instagram or Facebook fix. I saw a woman walking through Radnor with nature in full bloom all around her who would not look up from her phone. That’s a sad commentary on what we value and where our priorities lie.

Nature has a way of resetting the default on our brains to where they’re not always running like a computer with 50 tabs open at the same time. I still believe that nature is a place where we can better hear the voice of God, away from the distracting noise and clatter that constantly demands our attention.

I think I could live in a place like Walden Pond for a year or more. I could use a break from all the media madness. Maybe I’ll settle for reading the book.