The kids are raised. Have been for some time. I put it all in. Every last ounce of me. I held nothing back. Having children with disabilities, anxiety, addiction and more, there wasn't much time left for friends through the years. When there was, mostly everyone around us wanted to drink and be merry. So drink and be merry we did. I realized I had overindulged after some time had went by. Without intention, the world had slowly crept in and I had lost my first love. Oh, I still loved him; yet, was I really living for him when he had died for me. On the day I realized this, Jesus became my ride or die. To this very day he still is. Not simply my savior, but also my LORD. He died for me. I will live for him.
I looked around in the struggle and began thinking what am I doing? Why? I realized I had lost my way. Yes, I was pouring into my family, Yes, I was pouring into my calling as a pastoral counselor; yet, in my free time, I wasn't pouring in. The enemy had crept in. It was subtle. I had compromised with the world. I knew you wanted all of me. I knew you cared about how I spent my time. So, I did it. I cut off all the activities not pleasing to you. I had become lukewarm. Half in the Lord and half in the world. The bible has something to say about that, you know. What is says is pretty strong. Goes something like this. "So, because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth" Revelation 3:16. Think of the last thing you spit out of your mouth and how you felt. Disgusted, upset? Ouch, my actions were causing my LORD to feel this way. Wince. Repent. It looked like this. I blasted it on social media, my love for you Lord. That would be the final nail, I thought. People who don't want to know you more or live for you will pull out. And pull out they did.
But now, years later, in the early morning hours, I find myself feeling unimportant. It is a weird feeling, unfamiliar. I haven't felt this insignificance thing pop up, yet lately, during social isolation, it has. I know the enemy is in my ear. He still can be convincing. It's work to cast him aside. "Your not important", he whispers as I awake, "No-one cares", he taunts as I go about my day, "No-one calls", he lies as I ready for bed. Meanwhile the truth is people are calling and do call, are caring and do care. My father's words echoing in my ear, "If you find one friend in a lifetime, you found a treasure." I admit, it is hard to find true friends!
My husband Dave is the truest of friends to me. Oh, the gift I've been given in him. To be able to say, through better and worse, richer and poorer, sickness and health, we have found ourselves rich in one another's love and abiding friendship. It wasn't always this way. We fought for this kind of love and sometimes still do. We now rest in this safe love and are seeing the fruit of our choices play out in our day to day lives with each other and our family. Speaking of family, my daughters have become ride or dies too. These little people I spent decades raising have become our favorite people to be around and they still wanna be around us. Another blessing. Another treasure.
I still wake up hearing how unloved I am. The enemy crouching at my bed. His sole desire to discourage or distract. He's pushing my core button of knowing someone cares, my need to be loved and accepted. The enemy continues. "Your daughter doesn't care. She doesn't call" he taunts as I receive a beautiful picture from her of myself with her son, our Noley. "You don't have any friends" he hisses as again another text appears from a friend in our community group telling us she is praying for our trip and hopes we have peace. "No-one cares about you" he insists as an old friend reaches out asking to get together when the COVID-19 quarantine ends.
So I start counting, not my losses and the casualties they created along the way, but my blessings. All the loved ones GOD has given us for the journey who have come and gone and who are in our lives now. Oh, and the blessings! They are so many. My phone dings. I look. It is another social media invite. Social media says you have to have a lot of likes. If a lot of people like you on social media, your popular and your important; yet, I have found social media fickle and flat and a distant place. The enemy persists. "What about your social media. Why post anything? Your all but forgotten anyway." he says as another notification comes through.
I don't like social media. It does not interest me. I scroll through things thinking why am I doing this. It's bad enough we are forced to practice "social distancing". The last thing I want to do is connect through an app when I could be doing something else. I could be having a meaningful conversation with someone I love or enjoying my family. I can't keep up with all of these posts. I know a LOT of people. The world is a busy place. There are always opportunities to be significant and important. It is a temptation. To spend time doing other than what we, as born again Christians, are designed by GOD and called to do, loving him and one another. I don't find much of that on social media.
The voice continues, "You should scroll through and check on everyone. That would be loving." Really? Since when do I need to scroll through a phone app to check on my loved ones. The question burns within me. What is social media really about? Is it about friendship? Is it about GOD? Is it about connection? Or is it about feeling good about ourselves, feeling important, feeding our ego or insecurities with attention, likes, whatever. Is it about keeping tabs on one another, filling our downtime with something, building our businesses and churches and advertising and more. What is social media?
Oh, I know, I know. Some people keep in touch long distance with social media. Some people use it for connection and good. But why? When we can be with each other, see each other, call each other. What is that about, I wonder? Seems like less connecting to me using social media. Feels more like "social distancing" from one another I think to myself. Is this what the world is coming to. Posting to connect, six feet apart, hibernating at home.
We must choose, right? I have chosen to make social media about family photo albums, special moments, vacations, Jesus or other cool things I have found or experienced. I try to share things someone may find helpful, funny or cute and to give GOD all the glory he deserves. Notifications abound like emails. So much so, I gave up on that a long time ago. Otherwise, with all the media out there, I'd miss out on my real life. I have chosen NOT to make social media about having friendships, but exchanging information. I decided long ago to do my friendships face to face or on a phone. Except now there is Corona. So face to face is through a computer. But still. To me there is nothing like the sound of someones voice, seeing their eyes and watching them laugh and smile. To see their face light up and share life with one another. This is my hope of what becomes of social media during Corona. It becomes something to do when we can't connect directly. I hope we put our phones down and spend time together as soon as we're able. That's my hope for social media.
The voice whispers. He's at it again. Trying to plant doubt, create more distance, isolate us from one another. I call it "phone facing". Phone facing is when people are together staring at their phones. The voice continues. "How will you be important giving up social media, your high pressured six figure job, and lots of merry time". Then the louder voices echoes, "She already is important. So important to me. So much so, my son died for her." Take that devil! I am already important. I don't have to exhaust myself to keep up with the Jones's or stay caught up on things I can't possibly do or truly don't enjoy. After all, who's behind these temptations anyway. You are!
Despite giving up all of those things, my life's still pretty busy. Full-time pastoral counseling and juggling finding time to write, being wifey to my hubby, and spending weekly time with my children and the grands. Oh, then add in our weekly community group of more ride or dies and weekly church activities plus some much needed face to face time with friends. That's right. We all make choices. I look at the ones I've chosen by GOD'S grace and, while the world may not understand and the enemy keeps taunting, GOD does understand and I hear him saying, Well Done Michelle, Well Done! To me, that's true significance. Eternal importance. After all, what can possibly be more important than pleasing GOD by doing what he commands: loving him and loving others? Go away devil. You temptations are meaningless to me.