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.


Anonymous said...

Amen! Having been going through a very difficult season the last 6 months I haven't paid much attention to the media, but when I would "check in" once in a while- my goodness!!! I don't recognize my fellow countrymen anymore! It grieves me deeply but does send me to my knees in prayer which is the best place to be. Love, Dee

Anonymous said...

Good points Brenda...we have never seen a good reason to change our choice to NOT have Facebook etc. It would only bring more pain to our lives, via our own kids even, if we did...we prefer to live in ignorance of a lot of things...things we cannot change anyway. I am sure our old bodies require us to keep peace...however that comes. This past year saw us in some exceeding stress from a group we were attending...finally it got so bad even my husband saw the wisdom of stepping away. But not before I had some uncomfortable days with chest pain. My chest pain did not influence his decision...finally it got nasty enough he felt assaulted. True story. Life!!

Sandi said...

I know what you mean!

Anonymous said...

This morning I got angry because of 2 people who were in my newsfeed on fb. I don't want to see what's trending but I always do and it bugs me. I don't want to know how Ashley Judd is blasting our new President today-and then read about the church she attends in Hollywood. The only way to get away from the newsfeed is by deleting my fb, and it keeps me connected to my kids and other friends who are far away. So that's the price I pay. Other than that sometimes I yell at the t.v. when Fox is on, depending on who they have on for which segment. But I'm like you, Brenda-I am craving peace more and more these days.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Brenda, this is very powerful! Thank you for sharing what the Holy Spirit opened your eyes to. It really is so right that we can and should guard what comes into our homes.

There are some people whom I love, who are family, who I haven't unfriended, but who I have their stuff hidden from my wall, so that I don't see their posts. Its better that way. And I haven't unfriended them, I just now have to go to their pages to see what they might be saying.

Thanks, friend!

Anonymous said...

"I took back my peace." I love that and will adopt that attitude too. Social media can definitely cause me stress that I don't need. I have unfollowed many people on Facebook but next time I'm on there will be more weeding out. Have a blessed week. Darcy

Rebecca said...

Yes! You are EXACtlY where I am this afternoon--including your observation about Lot! Our sermon this morning (part of a series and very interesting timing, if I must say) was from 2 Peter 2. I particularly noted 2:9 - Lot was tormented in his soul by what he saw and heard. I was particularly tormented yesterday by what I was seeing and finally shut it off (but not before shedding some serious tears).

You are right about making choices about who we allow into our head space. Thanks for writing a very articulate post about this subject!

Ann said...

Oh, I so agree with you. I'm on Facebook only with my son and his lovely lady and their new baby. I just ignore other "friend" requests; sometimes I'm tempted because I would like to know what's going on with others I know but I also know that I'd get too involved in their "messes" and I don't want to do that at this point in my life.

I was shocked when a few of the blogs that I read took a turn for the ugly and so had to delete them from my reading list as well. I left them on for a while and kept checking back to see if their rhetoric would calm down but it was just getting worse so I opted not to visit them anymore.

I'm old enough now to value peace and know that I very much want it in my life. Blessings to you and yours this week.

The Journey said...

All excellent posts. I was just reminded with some attacks yesterday.

Heartshome said...

Truly wise words. I had the same feeling today when my neighbor posted a political rant that left me angry and itching to reply. Sigh.
I held my tongue and moved on. I enjoy FB, but it continues breaking apart my sense of peace I'll have to let it go.

Robin said...

I am feeling the same way. Just this evening I read a tweet from an author and illustrator I love, supporting the women's march. Also, I homeschooled all three of my girls for 21 years. And to now see some of their friends supporting gay marriage and the women's march, Bernie Sanders, etc. I KNOW these kids. They have been to my house. How have they turned? Even my own kids embracing more of the world than I would like. How has it come to this? How much can we turn off? Everything is SO political and I feel so tired of it all. I just want His peace. I know how the story turns out. Just wonder what we will all go through before. Praying for your health, Brenda. I don't know what I would do without your encouragement. Blessings, dear "friend"!!

Terri said...

Absolutely many blogs etc. that I really felt would be most tolerant are definitely not what I had believed them to be. After almost making me feel sick to read them, I too, have just had to delete them. I can not understand all the ugly and hate, and how people feel that they are making anything better by continuing with the mean words. I believe that so much of this is because they can't accept that they lost an election that they felt that they had won. Grownups learn to handle not getting their way. It is time to move on.
God bless.

Terra said...

I am happy for you that you regained some peace in the world of social media. I find a lot of hateful words there, mostly on one side. I just skim and move on.

Morning's Minion said...

I think many of us during the election year came to the conclusion that we couldn't absorb the shared tirades of FB and remain healthy. I don't watch and try to read a variety of news stories posted on my google homepage. Even that can be distressing. So much that is published is biased and inflammatory. As you've noted, responding, even to friends or family who are on a wild rant, is ineffective and leaves us feeling drained and sad,
By beholding we are changed, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Dear Brenda, I sincerely hope I have not disturbed your peace, but I fear I have. Please forgive me. I've left Facebook several times, but seem to return. Still, it does all too often disturb my spirit. I should really limit this. I laugh at the all true quote that "my desire to be well informed is in conflict with my desire to remain sane."
A bit too true. Blessings on you!

Annabel said...

I know just how you feel. I have been horrified with some of what I have seen, people who say they are representing me as a woman... no! they are not represnting me! I have been deeply affected and I am in Australia!
I think in some ways it has bolstered my determination to stay close to scripture and the Truth and to try and have good company in person amd online. Which includes being here with you , thank you. xxx

Kathy said...

Wow, isn't it amazing how He works! I have been getting so upset, by some of the things that my friends? have posted on facebook. Both political sides have gotten so horrible that it was stealing my peace. I told my husband yesterday that I had had enough, and sent private messages to some close friends. We have been wondering if these really are the end times since people seem so out of control. My last post yesterday on facebook, was Phil 4:8, and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
Thank you for your post today; it encourages me.

copperswife said...

Such wise words, my friend. Thank you.

Amy said...

Long time follower...first time commenter....Thank you...Brenda... for this. I have found personally my Instagram feed was causing me grief. Like you...I had followed so many because the beauty/tranquility of their photos. But that is where apparently it ended...for their words and photos this past weekend have been like lashes to my spirit. I felt guilty deleting them because I felt I wasn't being open to their opinions. Danger...Danger. I even read one this morning before deleting her...lamenting the hoards who have jumped ship from her feed because of her liberal posts and then she proceeded to shame them for not being open to diversity of opinion. Thank you for letting me know in a sane sensitive manner that it is OK to banish such ugly from my life. It is disturbing to me that I need even question myself. said...

Agree. I'm even careful who I "follow" on Instagram because I don't know everything about them and the #hashtags that they post onto are usually maligned by others with disturbing photos.

On a completely different note, I noticed that your daughter has a new Blog post up about their new house. What a story she'll have to share soon! Bet you can't wait to see their new house.

Tarin said...

I stumbled through your blog from the Strangers and Pilgrims linkup. I have had these same feelings throughout the last couple of years, but couldn't really put into words why I felt the way I did. You explained it so well ... we have to control what we're letting in in order to achieve peace in our lives. I still need some work, but I am getting better!
You post initially sucked me in when you opened by talking about your health condition. My son was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis 3 years ago. That's when I realized I just don't have time to get caught up in the ugliness of life! It's up to me to create a positive environment and a happy home for him ... as much as in my control!
Thank you for the reminder and so eloquently putting into words what the Lord has been placing on my heart.

Susan Humeston said...

I know what you mean! A couple of years ago, I friended a number of my fellow students from high school. They are nice people, but their Facebook feed was overwhelmingly liberal. A few days before the election, when tension was very high, I unfriended most of them. I truly never had much in common with them in high school and was not really "friends" with them then. I put the past behind me, which, if you know me, is often very difficult. I no longer have the discomfort that comes from being constantly reminded of our great differences. What a relief it was, even after reading some funny commentary on those who unfriended others because of the election. I can't imagine their dismay when Trump actually won - and now I won't be subjected to thoughts and memories that bring to mind thoughts that don't help my Christian walk.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughts, Brenda. The best thing I did this week was to remove facebook from my phone. If I really want to catch up, let it be intentional....and, I think I will have to consider deleting those "friends" that can't seem to move on from the election results. Yes, the peace and rest of Jesus is returning to my soul. Cathy B.

Sue said...

I just happened across your blog; it's lovely and wise. This post hit home. I, too, have stopped looking at FB and will most likely delete it. I found it to be very toxic, especially over the past month or so. It's been stealing my peace. Glad to know I am not alone and it's really ok to just leave.

Sue said...

I just happened by your blog and love it! Thank you for this wonderful post. I, too, have found FB to be toxic, especially lately. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. I've been off for several days and peace is returning. I think it's time for me to take the plunge and just delete my account. I'm glad to know I'm not alone.