Megan Lebo

"Just be. Its what the world denies you" – Brandon Heath

Category: To Be…

The Quest for Living: Simplifying Our Faith…

I am tired.

My soul and psyche drained of life by the life that surrounds me.  Parasitic entities designed for market and consumption control that which should never have been given over.  At 29 years of age one should not feel so confused and cynical.  I was always under the impression that a college degree came in the shiny wrappings of clarity and purpose, and that cynicism was simply the gift of age.

I can’t be the only one out there that feels lost in the midst of a society driven by money, success, and fame.  Everyone fighting for their place, purpose, and mark in this world.  “We are the catalyst of change!  Become a better you!  Change the world in three easy steps!”  We’ve been fed some kind of line since the moment we were born.  We are as royalty and should be treated as such.  Live out your dream.

Do great things for God.

What has happened?  Where did we go?  How do we change?  In our efforts to make our children and ourselves someone great have we in fact planted a seed of disappointment and hopelessness to those of us who may never see that greatness?  Are we fostering a generation of people who have lost the ability to just live?

I think we have.

I think this influence, this mindset, while fairly obvious in the secular, pop culture world of our day has, in subtlety, begun to seep into our churches and has ultimately impacted our personal and spiritual intimacy with God.

I candidly admit that I am one of the restless.

I like to write, therefore in my mind I have often set forth to become a prolific and successful writer.  I love to sing so of course nothing less than a professional, well paid singing career will do.  I also love stage acting therefore I must be destined to move to NYC and become the next Broadway star.  I love travelling, I love people, and I love sharing the gospel through words and service which means God must have great plans for me to be an overseas missionary.  I’m supposed to change the world.

Greatness.  Has this lovechild, born from the god of self, been clothed in priestly robes and given a seat upon a throne in our own sanctuaries?

The more I think about it the more I am convinced it has.  I fear that we have made our faith an object of glamor, and our service and personal walk with God an object of fame. All of this under the guise of living out loud and doing great things for God.

Whatever happened to just living for God?  Wait, let’s pull that back even further and ask the question “Whatever happened to just living?”.

Who would have ever imagined that the lives of Amish communities and fishermen, oil riggers and pageant moms, would ever be considered lives of glamor and fame.  Before the era of reality television who ever cared?  Yet here we are, in the year 2013, a culture of  “greatness”.  Its not enough now to just live quiet lives of normalcy.

I love listening to my mom tell stories from her youth.  A child of the 60’s and 70’s.  A product of a small, close knit town in Indiana she often recounts her memories of neighborhood block parties, summer romances, and youth camp in Colorado.  The town was a community and churches were family.  This was a time when people, families, and children just lived.  It wasn’t until the 80’s and 90’s, with the introduction of MTV and Nintendo that we began to really see a shift in corporate social behavior.  Our kids began spending more time indoors and the worship of fantasy and celebrity really began to settle in as norm among youth.

I think we have reached a time when the things that stream out of popular culture should no longer surprise us or take us off guard.  Yet more pressing and more concerning is the fact that the impact and influence of our culture has permeated the walls of some of our churches.  This intrusion has now secularized the holiness of worship and has complicated the simplicity of our faith and how we live it out on a daily basis.

Sometimes I feel as though I am drowning in a sea of ambition and service without a real sense of power and joy.  This leads me to ask the question, has our service and role in the Church lost its joy and authenticity?  Has it become simply an exercise in survival?  Are our over-spiritualized Facebook statuses and tweets merely a lifeline that we cling to in order to feel assured of what we fear we might be missing out on?

Or worse, what we fear we might be losing.

While I cannot speak for the spiritual walk of others I can say that I have found these questions to be answered in my own life with a resounding yes.  Still I do believe that God gives his people a measure of discernment when it comes to the Church.  I will say that I sense, not just in others but also in my own life, that something is off.   And like I said earlier, I fear that it has to do with the influence and impact that our culture has had on the life and pursuits inside the walls of the church.

In Jerusalem there is a church called The Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  This church is purportedly the site of the resurrection of Jesus.  I remember, during one of my trips to Israel, visiting this church simply for its historicity.  From the moment I walked in I remember every one of my senses being assaulted by the sounds, sights and smells that emanated from this relatively small sanctuary.  There were droves of people there, many of which were church officials performing ritualistic prayers and chants.  There were candles and incense and quite simply more stimulation going on than one person can mentally or emotionally handle.  I left about as quickly as I arrived and never even made it to the part of the church that housed the rock that supposedly experienced the resurrection of Jesus.

It grieves me to admit that this is often how I feel entering the doors of our own churches.  Overwhelmed by stimulation and confusion, I struggle to find a place and a source of unencumbered and uncomplicated joy and purpose.  In short, I feel that I have lost sight of God’s face and the purity of His essence in the midst of all that the modern Church calls worship.  Now let me be clear.  I am not saying that those who find a way to participate in what we consider “great impact” are in any way wrong or misguided.  On the contrary I find it exciting and God glorifying when He chooses to use us in ways that have maximum impact on our church and culture.  But at the same time, it is easy to forget that often things done in earnest and passion can also be made an object of idolatry in our lives.  When what we do and how we do it becomes the focus of our walk and ministry then I think we can safely say that our focus off.

In first Thessalonians 4 Paul instructs us in how we ought to walk and please God that we will “excel still more.” (v.1)  Paul uses this phrase “to excel still more” again in verse 10 leading up to verse 11 which says, “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend your own business and work with your hands just as we commanded you.”

Quiet lives.  Attending our own business.  Working with our hands.  This is what Paul refers to as excelling.  For me I find this incredibly encouraging!  For me this means that I may not be not be missing out on some great plan that God has for me simply by working a nine to five job with the occasional extra-curricular.

When was the last time you had coffee with your next door neighbor?  Maybe your child’s best friend has a troubled home and simply needs a place to come and unwind and escape for a few hours.  Or perhaps you’ve been noticing that a coworker has been keeping to themselves a lot lately.  Have you asked them to go to lunch with you?

I think this is the part of our Christian walk that we have set aside to make room for our personal aspirations of “greatness” in the Church.  Somehow we have convinced ourselves that there are greater works and there are lesser works.  I fear that part of the reason we continue to see a decline within the present generations in respect to Church is because we have forgotten how to simply be a community and have made our ambitions and our aspirations of greatness an object of worship.

Fellow believers, we must evaluate our hearts!   We must strip away the noise in order to truly see and experience God’s presence and power again.  We must get back to His Word and let it consume and transform us.  Our efforts and ministry must flow not from our desires to do great things for God but from his desires to do his work in and through us.  For some that may look like the foreign mission field.  But for others it’s the unseen acts of listening to, caring for, and having coffee with a co-worker.  Those acts we would simply call living while God sees them as living for him.  We need to let go of our ideas and pursuits of greatness and let God work in us the way he always has, in our life and relationships.  Only then will we ever see how great his Glory can truly be!

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Remembering George…

He was strong, tender, and he loved us all.

It’s funny the things you remember.  I strive, with much difficulty, to remember which roads I have to turn on in the city I have spent my entire life.

But I remember him.

I remember the sound of his voice.  I remember how he laughed.  He laughed a lot.  As a matter of fact the last memory I hold of him is his laughter.  It’s not the incessant drone of the beeping heart monitor.  It’s not the sterile, cold smell of the hospital room or the needles in his arm feeding his ailing body.

No.

It’s the picture of his smile and the sound of his laughter as we are all gathered around him joking and listening to Alex making fun of Aunt DD as he so often does.

For someone who possessed such a collection of sordid childhood memories, he was a man who chose to experience life with joy.

We have always been a close family and we have always been full of such life, with personalities that are strong as they are diverse.

And we loved him dearly.

I remember fondly the little things.  He loved spending time with all of us.

He used to take is teeth out in front of us out of the sheer joy and pleasure he received from seeing his grandkids squeal, giggle, and then ask him to do it again!

He built things with the boys.  He watched with excitement the fashion shows and the talents shows in which we used jokes that we actually got from him.  He came to hear me sing.  He came to see Alex’s soccer games.  He helped us paint the house and he helped us stain the woodwork.

And the year that he died he had hiked through the Rocky Mountains with us.

Even in the memories where he was not directly involved I still remember him there.  He was always there.

He always kept Werther’s Caramels in his pockets and on his dresser.  He always drank his coffee out of the same brown mug.  He made off color jokes and then would laugh and cover his mouth.

He loved his girls and he loved his grandkids.

And I miss him.

He lived this life to the fullest but life does not end on this earth and I anticipate the day when I will be in fellowship with him again.

And I look forward to the day when I hear his laugh again in the fullness of the joy of the Lord that can only be experienced on the other side of life.

Your move…

It’s a strange feeling knowing that you’re on the edge of something.  The anticipation of revelation or even the progression of it is an exciting event.  It is strange and somewhat liberating to be so self aware…and not just self aware but also aware, with heightened sensitivity, of others.

If you ask me, I like knowing.

It’s the uncertainty that drives me into fits of anxiety.  Once I am aware then I am at peace and can move forward and act with clarity and precision.

I’m learning how to play the game.

What game you ask?  Well, I’ll admit that I am attempting to be vague and mysterious on purpose.  It’s just more fun this way.

I really do not like being a novice.  It makes me feel insecure, vulnerable, and dependent.  While I had for so long desired (desperately I might add) such change in my life I admit that the idea of actual change terrified me.  I had not realized how incredibly comfortable I had become with how my life was running.  I had embraced my current standing and had owned it as an identity.  But I have ventured into a new arena and the game has changed.  And I have come to realize that I can actually be a player.

Ok, that’s not what I meant.  (You all have dirty minds.)  I was speaking metaphorically.

Like the game of chess I have begun to learn the strategies and techniques that make this fun, challenging, and exciting. I have also learned to relax.

To wait.

I do not know what the outcome will be.  The game may be over already and if that’s the case, well, that’s ok.  But how long does one wait on the field?  I really don’t know.

All I know is that  I’d really like to keep playing…its just not my move anymore.

Every girl is a little bit crazy…

I’m not that great at expressing myself with people.

I’m a writer.  I feel much more comfortable behind a pen or a keyboard.  In writing, the risk of saying things you will regret is much slimmer.  One can think and craft and filter words so that they say exactly what it is you want to express in the most elegant way possible.

Writing is sort of like acting in a way.  Except that you are not becoming the best possible version of someone else, but the best possible version of yourself.

My insecurities on a day to day basis plague me like gnats.  Sometimes I feel like the most insecure woman on the planet.  I worry that I’m not fun or whimsical enough.  I worry about boring people with the things I like to talk about like music, faith, art, and movies.

I worry about not being pretty enough.

I fret over letting someone get to know me better because I am so afraid that I won’t be what they expected.  I also stress that by caring so much about what someone thinks of me I’m not caring enough about that other person.

It a never ending game that oscillates between being needy and giving back.

I used to watch the show Scrubs.  There was an episode once where one of the main female characters, Elliot, started dating this guy named Paul.  She was terrified of letting all her “crazy” come out in front of him.  She would say to her friends, “I don’t know that I can hide the crazy from Paul much longer!”  So the whole episode she was putting on this façade of being in control.  She wanted him to think she had it all together and that she was calm, cool, collected and refined.  When he would leave she would turn to her friend and begin a shrill, high pitched, panicked rant about how she wasn’t good enough.  By the end of the episode she couldn’t hold it in any longer and all her “crazy” exploded in front of him in one emotional display.

I think every girl has a bit of crazy in her that she tries to hide and cover up out of the fear of scaring off the people she meets.

Its silly I know but its reality.

And maybe I’m really not as crazy as I feel sometimes.  I think the “crazy” that we all talk about is just our own insecurities that to everyone else is just the aspects of you that make you you!

I believe its important to reassure those around you.  Compliment them, draw attention to their strengths and laugh at the craziness.  Be honest with yourself and others.

It’s the honesty in life and relationships that create an environment of comfort and the craziness that makes life fun and excititng!

To act is to be…someone else

Have you ever just wanted to be someone else entirely for a day?

Being you can sometimes get old, right?  I mean, you’ve been you all your life.  Your quirks are the same day in and day out, your insecurities lingering beneath your core like residue.  Wouldn’t it be great just to take a break from yourself for a while and be somebody else?

I have recently stumbled upon a way to press pause, so to speak, on my own life and switch screens into another story, another life, that in my current skin I would never get the chance to be.

Its called acting.

I have over the years heard stories of actors who literally become the character that they are portraying but I never really understood what that meant.  I think of actors such as Christian Bale and Heath Ledger among others who are (or were) known for their extreme methods of preparing for their roles and staying in character.  These extremes often resulting in the inability to separate themselves between the part they are playing and the reality they are living.

I have myself recently experienced this phenomenon, if you will, albeit on a much (much) smaller scale than the aforementioned professional actors.  I have in essence been given the opportunity to be someone who is so unlike myself (and yet at the same time I think we can all find elements of a character that mirror our own in some way, shape or form).

I have had very little acting experience, almost none really, and was a bit nervous about being offered to play the part.   This part was such that, if portrayed improperly, it could very well throw off the mood of the whole play.  I quickly learned what it meant when people said that there are no small roles in a production.  Every character paints a portion of a portrait from the lead actors to the one-liners.  That one line you have could easily make or break a scene resulting in a disconnect from the audience involved.

I initially struggled a bit with feeling like I wasn’t quite “getting it”.  All of these thoughts kept running through my head like, “what if, what the directors saw in my audition was a fluke?”, “What if I cannot truly exhibit the emotion of the character”, etc.  Acting can truly be an emotional rollercoaster as the inner battle between your role and your reality rages inside.  I know that to some this all sounds incredibly sensational but to an actor who cares about their craft its all very real.

I remember the night when the whole thing clicked.

When the emotion of a scene takes shape it almost becomes its own entity.  A life form emerging on the stage.  When the actors are all in sync the colors of what is happening become shockingly visible.

It’s a strange and slightly unnerving sensation to be so immersed.

During the height of emotion, as I lay blame at the feet of those around me, the director yelled, “Stop!”.  At that moment I was the equivalent of a balloon that had just been stuck with a straight pin.  It was like being jolted awake from a dream and suddenly realizing “Wait, that was not really happening.”

Out of nine performances I was only able to get back to that point twice.

Its all part of what I’m learning and part of what I’m loving about being an actor.  (I use that term loosely because I really have only just begun to start acting.)  I am learning what it means to be someone else for a spell.  To experience life in another era, another state, or another part of the world.

Its somewhat liberating and slightly indulgent to let go of your inhibitions and be someone else and not have anyone think strangely of you.

I have attained a new respect and a new love for this art-form.  Everything from the set design to the dedication of the actors to the vision of the directors.  It’s a beautiful craft that teaches, informs, and inspires!  And not just for the audience but for the actors as well.

Being in this role, playing this part, has shaped me somehow and I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same.  It’s a form of enlightenment.  A type of freedom.

I pray that God continues to grant me this joy of experience and storytelling, and that I can impact others through this art as it has so powerfully impacted me.

Tiny Hands…

I dreamt last night I held you in my arms

So small and quiet

I kissed your head

And I loved you

I loved you more than myself

Your hair was black and soft

Tiny hands against my own

I closed my eyes and breathed you in

One day I will hold you in my arms

So small and quiet

I will kiss your head

And I will love you

I will love you more than myself

Calling all heroes…

I have lived my entire life believing in fairytales.

No, I don’t believe in fairy godmothers or magical spells that put you to sleep or even true love’s kiss.  I don’t believe in trolls or frogs that become princes.  I don’t even buy into the idea that we will all live happily ever after with not a care in the world to ever again trouble our now perfect lives.

I just came from seeing the movie Mirror Mirror.  A slightly new twist on the classic story of Snow White packed with all of the familiar characters and story lines.  The wicked step-mother, the seven dwarves, Snow White, and of course the dashing young Prince.  While the costuming was spectacular (I absolutely love good costuming) and the characters were fun, this retelling was everything that could be expected from a story that has been told and retold hundreds of times.

With the general story line being the same as what has always been there was a slight difference that I picked up on and have actually begun to pick up on in other retellings of other popular fairytales.  I don’t think that many people pick up on this subtle change that seems to be permeating these beloved stories because it is a change that has been gradually seeping not just into fiction but also into our everyday lives.

It is a change that makes me want to scream, “WAIT!  STOP!  Go back.  That’s not how it happens.”

That change is the role reversal of the valiant warrior prince and the beautiful damsel in distress.

In so many movies and so many retellings they have reconstructed the story to where the young maiden or the princess is actually the one who ends up saving the prince.  Each heroine is portrayed as strong, independent, and perfectly capable of taking care of herself.  As a matter of fact she’s capable of not only taking care of herself she is also able to deal the final blow to the great villain that the young prince just couldn’t get to in time.

Our brave knights have been stripped of their armor and upstaged by the very women they are trying to save.

Ladies, have you ever dreamed of saving a man’s life?  Have you ever wanted to fight to the death to person who would harm the man that you love?  I imagine that if your anything like me your fantasies are played out very differently.  I frequently fantasize about Prince Charming saving my life in some grand and spectacular scenario.  “Ma’am, that car almost hit you!  If I hadn’t swept you off of your feet and pulled you out of the road you would most certainly be dead!”  Yeah, that’s more how I picture things.  Not the other way around.

My absolute favorite display of affection, whether in movies or in reality, is the man kissing the woman on the forehead.  It is a powerful gesture that not only says, “I love you” but it says, “I care about you”, and “I will protect you”.

Women want men to make them feel safe and loved.  And men want to love and protect.  It is who we are and it is how we were created.  It is not an issue of weakness versus strength.  It is not a matter of man versus woman.  We are equal parts with very different roles.

We see very clearly in Genesis 2 that God created male and female in His image as equal partners but He did create the male to be the head and the female to be the helper.

The world has told us women that to let men fight for you, and to protect you is a sign of weakness and inequality.  In this we have looked straight at our valiant Knights and said, “your services are no longer required.”  As a result our men have taken off their armor, dropped their head and their swords, and have turned around in defeat and rejection.  We reject their chivalry and then blame them for being passive.

For me, I do not want to rob any man of their chance to brave and to be chivalrous.  I am not going to steal the fight or the victory from the man who chooses to fight for me.  The man desires to woo and the woman wants to be wooed.  And although a strong woman may very well pick up the sword to slay the dragon in her heart she really wants to see the brave warrior to step in front of her to deal that final blow.

Yes, I believe in fairytales.  And I anticipate the day when my brave warrior, my valiant knight, my charming Prince, finally discovers me in the tower and carries me off into the sunset.

I am a Lady in Waiting.  All heroes are welcomed to apply!

It was never supposed to take this long…

The Journey

I would have to say that I have recently journeyed down the most desolate road of my Christian walk to date. Our journey with God, much like Frodo’s journey through Middle Earth, (You’ll have to forgive my frequent LOTR references as I have recently returned from the great country of New Zealand.) or like Dorothy traveling through the land of OZ, is an ever-changing road that looks different with every fork and every turn.

In youth everything is illuminated.

The trees on that road are green and thin as the sun beams through the branches lighting your way.  You have travelling with a group of companions, all walking together heading toward that first fork in the road, college.

Things are good.

There is a bitter sweetness that comes over you with a hint of anxiety as the group splits at the fork.  While you still have the fellowship of some of your companions there is a change that comes over you as the crowd thins and the trees get thicker.  More companions begin separating from the group as they choose that path that leads to marriage and family.

As you walk the road you begin to find trinkets that others have left behind along their journey.  As you pick them up and stuff them in your bag you notice how dark it seems to be getting.  As you approach the next fork in the road the last of your companions splits from your company.  You turn your head to gaze down the road that has been laid out for you, and discover that you can only see a few feet ahead.  It has become dark and the load you carry, the one that holds the treasures of this world that others have left behind, has become very heavy.  That bag will be your only comfort for you now walk alone in the darkness.

Darkness, if not overcome, will corrupt the mind.

You know you should have left those things lying in the road.  They were left for a reason right?  There is something inside of you that knows you should have never picked them up and yet you have now become dependant upon their presence because you cannot find anything else to comfort in.  The voice that guided you through childhood and throughout your youth, that instructed you on which turn to take at each fork, has now been almost entirely absorbed by the canopy that hovers above your head.  Almost.  You know that the voice is still speaking instructions but those trinkets you have gained offer a pleasing distraction in the midst of the consuming darkness.  You can no longer hear the voice that offered guidance.  You have abandoned Him in the precise moment you needed Him most for the temporal idols that now offer you a false sense of security.

The Reality

This has indeed been my reality.

The Israelites, when brought out ofEgypt, abandoned God, who was showing them the way to the land He had promised to give them, for idolatry and disobedience.  As a result, what should have been an eleven day journey across the wilderness ended up lasting forty years.

Forty years.

My life has, in every way, reflected that of the Israelites.  These past four years, after graduating from college, have been some of the darkest years of my life.  In this darkness I have picked up so many things that, in my lack of discernment, I have placed upon the altar of my worship and called them god.  As a result I had forgotten what God’s voice really sounded like.  And in my desperation I began grasping at whatever was in my bag of idols to give me purpose and comfort.

This is the life lesson that I am now grappling with.  In my madness I was somehow able to catch a faint whisper of God’s voice that had been carried, for a brief moment, by a breeze that brushed past me.

It was enough to stop me in my tracks.

I had been so distracted by the idols that I was carrying that I completely lost sight of the light, although faint, that was still dimly lighting the path.

And so now begins the shedding of weight that has so slowed my journey.  The light has become slightly brighter and that voice has turned from a whisper into hum.  While the canopy above me is still thick I am now back on the path instead of wandering aimlessly through the forest.  I now possess hope, for I’m beginning to see the faint shimmer of sunlight peering through the brush ahead.

Its not that I chose the wrong turn…It was just never supposed to take this long.

Adjusting my eyes…

Ok, so I know that I said that I would not be blogging or anything for a while but to be honest, I have to write.  It is how I deal with the things around me that I cannot comprehend.  It is how I cope.  Now I still will not be accessing Facebook or Twitter but this blog is linked to both so as I write these entries they will continue to show up. 

 

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My life, it seems, is a never ending quagmire of uncertainties and blind spots.  Just when it looks as though the ground around me is leveling out and the path ahead seems clear I step into another soft spot and lose the traction that had given me stability and hope.  Yet I find that my resolve gets stronger in the face confusion, frustration, and (more often than not) anger.  I sometimes feel like Frodo trudging through each difficult pass knowing I’ve been charged with a great task but yet not fully comprehending its purpose or weight. 

 

And I, like Frodo, find myself in lament wishing this task had never fallen upon me.

 

I have no illusions of grandeur.  Or maybe I do.  Don’t we all wish to be used and purposed for something greater than ourselves? 

 

Everyone’s relationship and walk with God is very different.  It is so easy to look at someone else’s life and then indict God for what we consider withholding or judgment.  Why God, does this person get the job, or the husband, or the social life, etc.  The list could go on and on and quite frankly does in my case.  Every single door it seems gets slammed in face with no real answer as to why, when to me its seemed so perfect and so calculated. 

 

It is like I’m walking around in a room that’s pitch black, full of locked doors except for one.  That one door is the one that I simply cannot seem to find.  I have circled that room a thousand times knowing that I have tried to open what I feel is every door and yet I know there is an exit.  I know its there.  I just have to get there.

 

And maybe this is all just part of the journey.  Maybe this is all part of Him teaching me to listen closely.  To adjust my eyes to the dim lighting so that I can see clearly in the dark.  Its easy not to stumble over something when its clearly illuminated by the light.  And to be frank there are many who will still stumble even when things are illuminated.  But the only way to avoid stumbling in the darkness is to be immersed in it until your eyes adjust.  Until the blackness begins to take shape and become shadows, until the shadows morph into shape, and the shapes become clearly formed objects. 

 

Isn’t this what I asked God for so many years ago?  To be molded and shaped into a tool that he can use for His glory?  Why then do I envy world around me?  I have not been called to chase after my dreams.  And for some reason God has not allowed me the freedom to make my own choices as he has many other people.  Maybe that’s because he knows me better than I know myself. 

 

I have been called to obedience and that obedience will look different every day.  I am learning (and these life lessons have been very hard) to let go.  I’m learning to let go of everything.  I cannot assume that I know what God’s plan for my life is.  I cannot assume that I know what is best for myself.  He is calling me to lay down everything I had planned because my plans had become my idol. 

 

And God will not share worship and glory with anything or anyone.

Addressing my idols…

One of my greatest fears is being forgotten.

I have become the type of person who is so dependent upon the approval of others that there are times where I am almost crippled by the idea that people don’t really care about what is going on with me.  I know that’s a strong statement and I know that its not true but it is in fact a great fear of my life that I deal with every day.  As a result of that fear I have been sucked in to the current of the mighty river that is social media.  I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, and now Instagram.  All of these are ways in which this generation has chosen to stay connected with each other.  You can know everything about someone (even down to what they had for dinner last night) without ever having a conversation with them.  You can keep up with the growth of families, engagements, weddings, life stages, everything!

But the grave truth is that we have now bred a culture with absolutely no social skills, and no REAL friendships.  It is a false reality and is breeding a generation of depression and isolation.  This is the reality that I myself am now facing.  I feel increasingly hollow and I fear that I have lost the ability to really build relationships.

A few years ago I was a part of a co-ed small group that met once a week in someone’s home.  I remember looking around the room at the circle that we had formed one evening and almost every single person, about 20 or so people, was looking down at their phones.  Not one person was having a face to face conversation with anyone.

The relationships that are present in my life I have recently discovered have very little weight.

And this makes me very sad.

But this entry is not really even about the problems with social media.  Its more personal than that.  As I stated at the beginning, I have become so dependent upon these outlets that I now panic over them.  I keep up with how many people visit my blog.  I’m constantly checking to see if new people are following me on Twitter and then get upset when I realize that certain people still haven’t started following me.

Its madness!  Its idolatry.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I have been reading through the Bible chronologically this year.  In reading about the children ofIsraeland their relationship with God I have come to realize how much my life reflects that of the Israelites.  God commanded them again and again to purge the idols out of their midst.  Through reading about the idolatry of the Israelites in the Old Testament I have become acutely aware of the idols in my own life.

In response to these truths I feel it necessary to address this idolatry.  I need to spend my time not dwelling on the lives and cares and opinions of others out of fear of being forgotten and looked over.  No, my time needs to be spent discovering what God thinks of me, and what God is up to, and what God cares about.

I am suspending, for a time, all of my social media accounts.  I am fasting from what seems to matter most in my life in order to gain what should matter most in my life.  I will however still be available by phone, email, texting, and of course face to face.

I challenge everyone to try and recapture the act of building TRUE relationships.  Meet up with someone for lunch, coffee, or even dinner.  Make an effort to reconnect with people.  Ask about their lives.  Be involved.  We are not intended to go through live alone.

We were created for fellowship.