Sunday, January 22, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Peace on Purpose
It arrives in the mailbox every month. A reminder. A letter from my insurance plan that tells me my health has been deemed... fragile. The term reminds me that some things in life cannot be changed. I have a life threatening autoimmune disease, Juvenile Diabetes. There. Is. No. Cure. Yet!
I take five shots a day, check my blood sugar, and trust that I won't leave this world until the very day and hour and minute and second He is ready to take me home. I don't really think about it until I'm away from home and my head starts spinning because it has been too long since I last ate. So I have to grab the granola bar or Gummie Bears out of my purse and nibble away until my heart stops pounding and the room settles.
I can't change being a diabetic but God has been reminding me of the Truth that sometimes... not always but sometimes... my lack of peace is caused by something I can change.
For instance, I learned something from this recent political environment. There was a time I could be in the midst of the political arena and banish the sword among the best of them. But those days are gone as is the grace to live that life. Now I need... peace. Perhaps as one's body becomes more fragile, the soul needs to be treated with care.
When I would lose my peace and get tense and feel like my world was spinning out of control, God would gently remind me that it was my choice to bring this image or that article into my home. For that is what we do when we look at any media... whether it is in the form of books or movies or TV shows or... Instagram and Facebook.
We may have no problem with God's warnings against watching immorality. For instance, we purposely do not have any paid movie channels and while it is difficult to keep images away even on Prime Time these days (have you seen a Victoria's Secret commercial?), about the most immoral scene in my home is Tom Selleck running around Hawaii in his short shorts. Wait a minute... just give me a moment... Magnum, sigh... okay, I'm ready to move on.
But I wasn't so selective about social media. I followed and friended all kinds of artists and authors and chefs and cookbook authors and people who lived on homesteads and crafters who knew how to use washi tape and some people I admire. I loved their pretty pictures and their ideas. Mostly, that is all they talked about... those things we have in common.
Then came this last election and all of that changed. Which is also when social media began to give me serious headaches and kept me up at night. I think it was during one of those nights when it was far past midnight and my head was throbbing that the Holy Spirit... my Comforter, Teacher, and Friend... reminded me that I had let them into my house. I opened the door. It was my idea that they could rob my peace.
But you don't understand? I'm nice to people who are different than me! As a conservative Christian woman, I'm used to being in the minority on campus and in the coffee shop and when volunteering at the library and... even in some churches.
But am I used to being assaulted with words in my Living Room? My Study? When I've lit a candle and brewed a pot of tea and stretched out on the sofa for the evening? Over and over and over. I invited them into my world. Ouch.
So I began purging Instagram and Facebook of people who were bringing on headaches. Oh, not the bloggers and authors I care about who believe differently than I do. I'm convinced God has us in each others lives to form that bridge where we can agree and honestly, they are all women who are full of grace and never hateful. Which is why I like them.
No, first I unfollowed those who were downright ugly, especially those that started using profanity. But as the weeks and months went on, I ended up unfollowing probably a third of those I originally invited into my world. I took back my peace. I didn't cringe when I went to view Instagram or Facebook as much as I once did. I still follow enough networks and people who write about the news that I definitely know what is going on in the world.
Isn't it strange how guilty I felt at first, unfollowing people who do not know I exist? Thinking it is me who is wrong in not being able to take their insults? But then as my social media accounts began to bring peace, I no longer felt like it was me doing something wrong in not inviting just anyone into my world.
Social media is one of the only things in my life I can control.
My new standard is... if they would vex my spirit in person, why am I bringing them into my "home" via the Internet? Into my life? Into my mind? The Bible tells us that Lot was "vexed" in Sodom. Which, if you stop to think of it, meant it was really bad because he came from Ur of the Chaldees and it wasn't Mayberry!
I have always wondered why Lot didn't just leave Sodom if he was vexed all the time. I think most likely because his wife and daughters liked it there. But Lot knew better and while he should never have moved there in the first plate, for Sodom's reputation was well known, he still had within him the teachings of the One True God that could not go away. So he was vexed. Each and every day. I expect he went to bed with a pounding head more than once.
It took awhile but at least I finally listened to God and took control of what I could. Everything else is within His Grace.